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Nov 13, 2001

Carnival Spirit launches Bz. cruise season

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The paint had barely dried on the Belize City Tourism Village, but bright and early that facility opened to what should be the country’s best season yet for cruise ship tourism. While the visitors headed out to see the sights, News 5′s Ann-Marie Williams joined a group of Belizeans who went aboard for a glimpse of the good life at sea.

Ann-Marie Williams, Reporting

Carnival Spirit, one of fourteen ships from the Carnival Cruise Lines made her maiden voyage to Belize this morning. The new vessel, only nine months old, will call in Belize regularly as part of its western Caribbean route. Leila Kathusing, an international representative for two and a half years with Carnival, says they’ve earned a reputation as the most popular cruise line in the world.

Leila Kathusing, Int’l Representative, Carnival Spirit

“You like karaoke, we have karaoke. You like to just have fun and keep all your worries away, you can do that. You want to play dice, you can do that. You want to just lie in the swimming pool, you can do that. You come for great food, you can do that. You come to lie in the sun, you can do that.”

With two thousand, two hundred and eighty passengers on board and nine hundred and forty crew members, there has to be a lot to do. For example, you can workout in the gym or relax in the jacuzzi.

Ann-Marie Williams

“When you take a Carnival Cruise, all your night-time and daytime entertainment is included. Imagine dining in the Nuva Supple club under the Belizean stars.”

Leila Kathusing

“Take your man with you, or your man invites you over. You can dine under the stars, dine under Belize’s beautiful stars. Sit there without being bothered, listen to background music. It is unique from this point of view because you have the option, you are the guest.”

And if you’d like to get married, don’t lose heart! You can join the thousands of couples who have said I do on board.

Leila Kathusing

“It’s not only for weddings. If people would like to go regardless of their religion, to do a prayer, that’s what unites people on the ship, because we deal with people from all nations after all.”

Outside the chapel, you can find the Chippendale Library and Cyber Cafe, so named because of the furniture. There’s the Shanghai Bar, Fountain Bar, take a stroll on Fashion Boulevard and then dine in the one thousand seater dining room named the Empire.

Anchored in the harbour, she leaves this evening for a sixteen-day turn around. Mike Williams is managing director of Eurocaribe, port agents for the ship. He says a nine-year dream has been realised to have Carnival in Belize.

Mike Williams, Managing Dir., Eurocaribe

“She comes from Miami, goes down to Limon, Costa Rica and on to Panama and Columbia and then go back to Miami. That takes sixteen days. The next ship is the Carnival Pride. She starts at the beginning of January and she’ll be on an eight-day turn around, so she’ll come more often, and she’ll come throughout the whole year. she won’t just come for the season like a lot of the other ships do. Carnival Pride is just being built now, so she’ll be very, very new when she comes.”

Mike’s business partner, Martha, says she was told that the ships were too big to dock in our waters, however…

Martha Williams, Director, Eurocaribe

“When I knew that they were building more ships, and eventually they’ll have to find somewhere to put those ships, and it has come to fruition now that they’ve decided to come to Belize. Belize is a very attractive place for them because the tours are very attractive, they have some over thirty tours as compared to other Caribbean islands that probably only snorkel and dive and that’s about it. So I think we’ll be seeing a lot of the passengers from Europe and the Mediterranean who don’t want to…a lot of the ships from that area will be deployed over to the Caribbean.”

And Belizeans will soon be able to go on a Carnival cruise from home. A plan is in the pipeline.

Martha Williams

“What would be ideal would be if you could take the cruise starting from Belize and then come back to Belize. And you save all that with the flying.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“So you think we’ll be able to do that soon?”

Martha Williams

“That’s what I’m working on, and I’d give it a year and we’ll have that in place.”

Ann-Marie Williams for News 5.

The nine hundred and fifty-eight foot long Carnival Spirit this evening sailed for Costa Rica, its next port of call.

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