Belize prepares for the resumption of cruise operations

Anthony Mahler

The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) has announced a new set of health and safety protocols that will guide the restart of cruise operations  in the country, outlining the necessary adjustments and adaptations to be made at each step of the cruise cycle, from the port of origin to the destination and back.

These measures are the result of an effort by the Belize Cruises Task Force, in collaboration with the Americas Cruises Task Force and the Central America Cruises Subcommittee, to develop special health and safety protocols in line with the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC). They also incorporate recommendations from the Healthy Sailing Panel, the Belize Ministry of Health and Welfare, and local stakeholders.

“There seems to be light at the end of the tunnel for the reopening of the cruise industry. The outlook seems much more positive than last year,” said Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations.

“It is vital that we are adequately prepared for the return of our guests, and the key to our success lies in developing a strategic framework to ensure a safe experience for passengers, crew and the destination,” he added.

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) will resume with the first sailing test on August 4. This will be followed by the first official guests to visit Harvest Caye on August 9, signaling the reopening of the tourism sector of cruises in Belize.

It has been more than a year since the cruise industry in the region was suspended.

For four consecutive years, Belize received more than one million cruise passengers annually on its shores. In 2019, before the pandemic, Belize received almost 1.2 million passengers, with 68 per cent of travelers arriving at Fort Street Tourism Village in Belize City and 32 per cent arriving at Harvest Caye..