The British Virgin Islands smiled as the Disney Fantasy was seen just beyond the horizon on Tuesday, 28th August, 2018, bringing great excitement to residents and business owners alike, who gleefully welcomed the ship back to the BVI for the first time since the 2017 hurricanes.
Disney passengers were greeted with the melodic sounds of steel pans and the smiling faces of customer service representatives as they disembarked the ship and meandered onto the cruise and shopping facility. As a part of their welcome, Disney Fantasy guests were provided welcome drinks, were entertained with a small parade that showcased BVI culture and enjoyed interacting with store owners as they showcased their products. Throughout the day, Tortola Pier Park buzzed with passengers as some queued to go on their tours, while others happily shopped in the cruise facility as well as ventured into the city.
“We were so happy to see Disney Fantasy berthed at our pier once again and their over 3,600 passengers and 1,531 crew members on ground enjoying our cruise and shopping facility and the destination. Our partner cruise lines and Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) has worked tirelessly with us over the past months ensuring the quick recovery of our islands and Disney Fantasy being back here is yet another showing of their commitment to the BVI and our cruise product,” said Vance Lewis, Interim CEO of Tortola Pier Park.
“We welcome Disney back with open arms and look forward to the full return of all the cruise lines to our beautiful shores,” added Mr. Lewis.
Upon experiencing the destination, many cruise passengers provided great positive feedback and expressed their delight in being in the Territory and their love for the BVI’s unspoiled assets which showcases crystal blue seas and picturesque scenery.
Fifty four (54) stores stood open at Tortola Pier Park for Disney’s return offering a large selection of shopping options to their guests. These stores included Diamonds International, Little Switzerland and Del Sol/Cariloha as well as a variety of other stores providing unique offerings in clothing and accessories, electronics, food and beverage, health and wellness, banking, liquor, hair and makeup, jewelry and watches and car rentals. With 75% of the stores now open, the Management and tenants of Tortola Pier Park continues to work together to attain a 100% operational status by the end of the year.
After receiving a direct hit from one of the strongest and most catastrophic hurricanes to ever formed in the Atlantic basin, the Government and the people of the British Virgin Islands began to pick up the pieces and rebuild their homes and businesses. In just under a year post the hurricanes, major progress has been seen in the restoration of the BVI, as the community continues to rebuild with positive spirits, determination and a great deal of hard work.