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News Report: Hundreds show up to learn of Royal Caribbean home port opportunities

Written by Chester Robards, Tribune News Business - April 27th, 2021

More than 300 people participated in a webinar yesterday designed to give businesses in The Bahamas information on how they can take advantage of Royal Caribbean International’s home porting initiative beginning in June, Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation (BCCEC) Chairperson Khrystle Rutherford-Ferguson said yesterday.

According to Rutherford-Ferguson, the webinar, which was held by the BCCEC, Royal Caribbean and the Access Accelerator, was open to all business owners and provided them with essential information on how they could participate in providing goods and services to Royal Caribbean, which will be provisioning its ship Adventure of the Seas in The Bahamas.

Royal Caribbean’s Associate Vice President of Gaming and Onboard Revenue Elisa Shen provided information on how Bahamians could provide shore excursions for the cruise line’s guests. RCI Associate Vice President of Global Hotel Food and Beverage Procurement Vina Jumpp relayed information on how goods can be provided for the ship.

Both women and their colleagues laid out the specifics of what businesses need to do to provide the ship with things like liquor, fish, leafy greens and excursions.

All of Royal Caribbean’s presenters provided their email addresses to the webinar participants so that they could begin the process of being verified by the cruise line to provide goods and services.

“It’s refreshing to see that you could have business persons reach out directly to the person who is responsible for either procurement, supplies or the like,” said Rutherford-Ferguson.

Vice President of Government Relations for Royal Caribbean Group Russell Benford said during the webinar that many opportunities will present themselves for partnerships. He added that the return of cruising to The Bahamas, with the cruise line using Nassau as a home port, will present myriad opportunities for hotels, taxis and excursion providers.

“We are especially pleased that home porting will bring international cruise visitors back to The Bahamas after more than a year of restricted travel and create new opportunities for linkages,” Benford said.

“Our return to The Bahamas and home porting out of Nassau provides an opportunity for us to partner together and think creatively.”

Rutherford-Ferguson said the BCCEC is always looking for opportunities like home porting for its members and the wider business community, and explained that there will be more webinars on opportunities with cruise lines and outside of cruising.

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