Cruise ships and their passengers: Asset or liability to Barbados?

Barbados Cruise

Cruise Ship family spends a total of $25 for a day in Barbados!

submitted by a reader who wishes to remain anonymous…

This article on the Royal Caribbean blog says it all when it comes down to the poor contribution of the cruise industry to the Barbados economy.

This family spent $25 for mum and dad each, kids free, and got an island tour, free water, beer and rum punch. They also enjoyed free wi-fi, free recharging of electronic devices, seating facilities in an air-conditioned office and probably bathroom facilities at the cruise port terminal.

They had breakfast on the ship before they went on the tour, went back to the ship for lunch, and stayed all afternoon on the ship, before having dinner in the evening, on the ship.

Barbados Cruise Ship

About the cruise terminal they had this to say:

“After getting back to the ship we walked through the shopping plaza at the pier.  Of course, it’s tourist trap stuff and given its lack of air conditioning, I can’t say it’s worth more than a walk through.  However, there is free WiFi provided there so I guess I can’t slam it too much.  If you happen to be there, go to the Barbados Tourism Office because it’s air conditioned, has the best WiFi signal and has chairs for you to sit down (and electricity to charge your devices).”

Where is the profit for the ordinary Bajan in this? We are happy to have visitors from all over the world come to Barbados, but the cruise ship passengers barely covered their costs for a day of pleasure, touring and entertainment in Barbados.

Where is the benefit to our economy? A few taxi fares to pay for a cruise ship terminal? Good Lord!

Jewel of the Seas Live Blog – Day 6 – Barbados

Today is our last port day and it’s always a bittersweet day for me (well, not as much as tomorrow will be) and we are in Barbados.

As per usual, up at 7am, in the Windjammer at 8am and off the ship at 9am.  The crowd at Windjammer at 8am versus 9am is incredibly different and 8am is much better.  I think I’ve said this in past cruise reports but I’d like to see more variety in breakfast.  Unlike lunch and dinner, the breakfast spread has been exactly the same every day.

We got off the ship a little before 9am for our tour we had booked with Tyronne Griffith tours, which was coordinated by people on Cruise Critic.  Because we all booked as a group on Cruise Critic, we were able to get the per person rate down to $25 per adult (kids free) and free water, beer and rum punch.

continue reading this blog: Jewel of the Seas Live Blog



Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy

10 responses to “Cruise ships and their passengers: Asset or liability to Barbados?

  1. Anonymous

    Each time as ship docks in barbados it brings rervenue . food etc has to be replenished so the island is making money

  2. BFP

    Hello Anonymous!
    What about the information that much of the provisions are containerized from Tampa and by special agreement with the Government are not subject to duty or taxes? How does that assist?

    Most of the provisioning is done in Miami, and these ships are basically self-contained for a week.

    Can anyone with first hand knowledge enlighten this discussion?

  3. Richard Johnston

    Does it occur to you that any of these freeloaders might come back for a regular visit some time or they might tell their friends what a fine place Barbados is? World of mouth is the most powerful advertising. What do you propose: exclude cruise ships?

  4. yatinkiteasy

    Pisses me off when I can’t get Bajan Rum on board Carnival, when they take on provisions here every week!
    As to Cruise Ship passenger spending..I hunted for some Barbados “tourist things” to carry for a friend in New York recently, and apart from Jill Walker stuff or the Mahogany Medford guy, there is precious little to buy!
    I finally found a nice T shirt with Bajan Lingo on it…thing was made in Jamaica!
    Look at it through the eyes of the Cruise Visitor…there is really nothing to buy here, especially if the cruise goes on to St Maarten or St Thomas.

  5. BFP

    Richard Johnston said “Does it occur to you that any of these freeloaders might come back for a regular visit some time or they might tell their friends what a fine place Barbados is?”

    Yes, Richard, we thought of that. But the reality is that we are subsidising these cruise ship passengers to the tune of hundreds of dollars per arrival. The cruise ship tourist is a different market. They are in to cruises.

    Can anyone produce the stats for turning cruise ship passengers into long-stay visitors on Bim?

    Didn’t think anyone would!!!

  6. Fatchett does not represent me.

    As someone who has visited Barbados on a cruise ship (P & O) I think my experience was typical. Taxi to Sandy Bay, hired two sun loungers for the day, bought 8 beers, took the “swim with the turtles” trip off the beach. Total spent, about $80US. Now I know that many others from the ship took pre booked tours which would have been far more expensive and perhaps others spent less. But most important was the great experience we had, the friendly people. Now our ship had 3500 passengers and if 90% had the feel good factor that Barbados gave to us then thats a positive for the island. I dont believe that you can put a price on that.

  7. John Randall

    Being both a cruise ship visitor and a long term vacationer in Barbados, we now stay two weeks every year, I think it is wrong to dismiss the cruisers as freeloaders. Yes a lot of them take prearranged tours not spending any money, but the tour operator earns something contributing to the economy. A lot of others, like ourselves, shun organized tours and head out to see some part of the island. Find a nice beach, maybe tour the city, stop for lunch, (not all passengers head back to the ship), maybe buy a souvenir, stop some place for a drink and get to know a little bit about the place. How short sighted it is to label them freeloaders.

  8. robbar

    I get the impression the RCL person was trying to show how little they spend and pride themselves on it. Yes, a lot of cruise passengers for the day might not spend a lot of monies that one see directly and it is true that a lot of the ships have bulk of food sent by containers. I can remember Sea Princess having food sent in from LA , least that was what we were told as we complained about lack of good Caribbean food on board.
    As to the tour booked, it is Barbadian so the company must have used buses and drivers , paid VAT and stopped at local shops and for sure a Rum Punch served in an 6 – 8 oz plastic cup is big profit for the person who supplied it.
    A lot of the duty free shoppes make monies and employ staff in Bridgetown and Village , if they did not make money and a profit then they would not be around period.. Articles brought are taxed. All ships are charged a port charge per passenger , berthing fee and a lot reload water and fuel at ports especially the Air/Sea arrivals. All passengers in the ticket price would have been charged Arrival/Departure especially the Airport. Air/Sea are transported by Barbadian coaches to the port and normally overnight or stay late.
    I know many people from UK and Europe who might have spend the day as described above but come back and stay a few weeks or elect to stay a few days prior or after a cruise.
    One chap always rents a car and drives around the Island and stops at East Coast to eat and drink.
    As for ourselves, we stay and live with family , renting a car, buying groceries, rum , banks beer, local art , have our friends fly in and join us. One year we took a cruise around the Island from Barbados.
    The crew will always spend some monies for personal supplies and they return.
    One has to look at the bigger picture as to exchange coming in to Barbados on a regular basis that might have started because of a days cruise and the hospitality shown by Barbadians.
    Course I would like to see more monies spent, you have to work with the cruise companies and see what we can supply faithfully and on time to buy local. We have the same challenges here on the West Coast in Canada when we compete to keep the Alaska cruise ships stopping at our port.

  9. LOOK

    Top Ten of City (11/05/2013) names ten of the best hospitals in the world, several of them are in the United States Caroline Howard of Forbes (09/10/2013) says the United States dominates the world top colleges and Journalist, Brian Spegele says “the rise of North American oil and gas industry has put the US on track to pass Russia this year as the world’s largest producer of oil and gas, if it hasn’t done so already. China made the statement to the effect that the USA is given too much importance, but the US has oil, lots of it. Facebook the #1 social networking site did you know was founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckenberg “an American” and his college friends at Harvard Univeristy, an American University in the United States. Microsoft, home based in Redmond, Washington (United States) you know dominates the entire entire globe. It’s founder, Bill Gates “an American” is the richest in all the world.

    Some things you just must accept, like it or not. The United States has its problems: Edward Snowden, NSA, etc. The United States, however is surviving and will survive, Barbados probably not. Like it or not, the BLP ship wrecked Barbados NOT the DLP. The BLP started the Contractor Al Barack fire, that Violet Beckles, a deficit, etc. Like it or not, the BLP were crooks cooking the books.

  10. Andy

    First cruise, first trip to Barbados, stayed 24hrs and spent US $2036.
    Another freeloading Brit (Scot). 😉