Dominica cruise port reopens

The Sea Cloud II in Dominica.
The Sea Cloud II in Dominica. Photo Credit: Discover Dominica Authority

Dominica, one of the hardest hit islands of the 2017 hurricane season, welcomed back its first cruise ship since Hurricane Maria struck the island on Sept. 18.

The Sea Cloud II made a call on Dec. 28, sending passengers ashore to tour Fort Shirley and go horseback riding at Purple Turtle Beach, said Discover Dominica Authority.

Discover Dominica CEO Colin Piper said Dominica met with cruise officials in Miami in December, and some lines are coming back, including TUI Cruises, which has seven calls scheduled starting Jan 28. Piper said Carnival Cruise Line plans nine calls during the summer. "We're still in the process of confirming calls from smaller vessels," Piper said.

In a normal year, cruise ships account for 10% to 25% of the visitors to Dominica, and tourism generates about 20% of GDP, Piper said.

Hurricane Maria hit Dominica as a Category 5 storm with 160 mph winds before going on to strike Puerto Rico two days later.

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