Lawmaker requests urgent plan to avoid cruise stop cancellations

House Tourism Committee spokesman says Tourism Co. should offer alternatives to cruise companies

SAN JUAN – The representative for Carolina, Puerto Rico, and spokesman for the island’s House Tourism Committee, Ángel Matos García, asked the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. Friday to present the communication and negotiation plan with the cruise ship companies due to the possible cancellation of cruise ships amid the government crisis underway.

“Starting Sunday and during the next week, we will have in San Juan 9 cruise ships visiting at different times, what is the government’s plan to guarantee operations and their arrival,” the lawmaker questioned in a statement.

At least two Royal Caribbean International ships, the Empress of the Seas and the Harmony of the Seas, canceled their stops on the island this week. The impact on the economy of these two trips was estimated at around $657,154.

On Thursday the Tourism Co. announced that the Allure of the Seas docked without problems.

“This week, the Tourism Company failed to offer alternate docks such as Ponce or the Pan American dock in San Juan, so two cruise ships were canceled, which caused millions of dollars in losses,” Matos said.

“We have kept in constant communication with the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), as well as with the executives of the cruise lines, to keep them informed of what has been happening and to reiterate that we are ready to offer alternatives that facilitate the arrival of cruises to the Port of San Juan,” Campos said Thursday however.

The lawmaker also stressed that the Ports Authority needs to negotiate the use of the Port of Ponce.

For its part, the destination marketing organization, Discover Puerto Rico, maintains its plan in force to reaffirm that Puerto Rico is a safe destination and its commitment to ensuring international visitors have a world-class experience.

“The demonstrations have been concentrated in Old San Juan, but currently the main attractions are operating; the hotels are open and tours continue with their regular itineraries,” Campos added.

She said that both Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Line have kept the stops of Carnival Fascination and Freedom of the Seas on their schedules. Both homeport in Puerto Rico to begin and end their trips.