ORANJESTAD, Aruba -- The cruise business here is booming, following
a slight drop last fall after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.
Remigio Wever, director of the Aruba Cruise Tourism Authority,
reported the destination welcomed 298 cruise ships carrying 487,296
passengers last year. This represents a dip of 0.5% in the
passenger count from 2000.
Ship calls this year will total 308, bringing in at least
538,000 passengers, based on a projected load factor of 90% of
available berths. This represents a 10% passenger increase over
2001, according to Wever.
Wever said the projection might be conservative because
megaships, such as Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas and
Adventure of the Seas, have exceeded the 90% load factor. If that
trend continues, Aruba's cruise passenger arrivals could reach
nearly 550,000 this year.
Appearances count, especially at cruise terminals. At Aruba's
facility in Oranjestad, one of the three terminals has a new roof;
its interior will be refurbished this spring.
Although Aruba's previous administration had studied a master
plan to move the containership operation from Oranjestad to
Barcadera, where the fishing fleet is based, the new government "is
in no hurry" to proceed, according to Wever.
The master plan is "at a standstill because of the high costs
involved in moving the existing operation and the time required for
new construction," he added.
Moving the containership operation would open up more space for
cruise ships calling at Oranjestad, according to Wever.
Although one or more cruise ships has docked at the
containership site in the past, he said the facility has no
For additional information regarding cruises to Aruba, travel
agents can visit the Web at www.cruisearuba.com.