The Voyager of the Seas
on Sunday became the biggest mega vessel to ever dock directly in Port Vila, and it's a return on investment which has been a while in the making for the Royal Caribbean Line
. Over the past months, they have invested more than $20 million into helping Vanuatu with the ability to welcome mega ships, and the benefits are starting to roll in. Not only has the line upgraded the dock facilities in Port Vila, the capital city, but they have also been instrumental in the construction of a new tender pier at Mystery Island, a beloved South Pacific cruise destination
The sizeable ship was welcomed to Port Vila
by the Vanuatu Military Band. There was also a ceremony onboard to mark the occasion of the first visit, attended by the Tourism Minister of Vanuatu.
The money benefits not only the line, which has better infrastructure to work with during its frequent visits to Vanuatu, but the future of the cruise industry as the modern mega ships begin to make their way Down Under and can offer cruises to Port Vila. It also brings good things to the economy of the cyclone-stricken South Pacific nation, with an increase of cruise passenger numbers and a boost to the tourism sector, one of Vanuatu's main industries.
"For many decades, ports in Vanuatu have only been able to accommodate mid-sized vessels, so this is a very significant milestone in the history of South Pacific island cruising" commented the Commercial Director for Royal Caribbean, Adam Armstrong. "In total we have invested over US$20 million to allow 'Voyager Class' cruising in Vanuatu for the very first time, which enables the region to capitalise on its tourism attractions as the local cruise industry grows."
Previous to last weekend, the biggest vessel to dock alongside at Port Vila was the Radiance of the Seas
, which at 90,000 tonnes is significantly smaller than the Voyager
. The upgrades to allow the mega ship to dock in Port Vila will see an extra 20,000 passengers travelling to the country over the upcoming summer season, and an extra 50,000 during the 2016/2017 season - increases which are estimated to inject $3.5 million and $7.7 million into the economy respectively.
Find a cruise
to Vanuatu or a range of other South Pacific destinations - you could check out the upgrades for yourself!