Carnival Cruise Line has removed the port of St. John's in Antigua from its upcoming cruise itineraries for the winter season. The pullout affects calls by the Carnival Breeze, Carnival Legend, Carnival Magic and Carnival Pride.
"Based on the steps that government officials in Antigua have taken, for the time being, we are focusing our itineraries on destinations that are favorable to cruise lines and our guests," Carnival said in a statement.
The decision by Carnival came on the heels of a new contract signed in February between Antigua and Global Ports Holding, a cruise port management company.
Carnival claimed that the cruise industry was concerned about cost increases in the new concession agreement and said that the government of Antigua and Barbuda was ignoring the economic impact that cruise ships bring to the island, according to CruiseCritic.com.
In a statement issued to local media on March 12, Minister of Tourism and Investment Charles Fernandez said that Carnival normally makes only three to four calls to Antigua annually.
The one exception to that pattern was the 2017-2018 cruise season when hurricanes had decimated other ports of call and Carnival substituted Antigua instead. During that season, more than 792,000 passengers visited Antigua on Carnival and other cruise lines.
"The total number of passengers that could be affected by these Carnival cancellations in the next cruise season is approximately 12,200," Fernandez said.
"While we regret any loss of business, however small in percentage terms, we do not anticipate any significant adverse impact on the stakeholders in our economy," Fernandez said.