Fewer cruise ships arrive carrying more passengers
The Volendam cruise ship docked at the main port in Fagatogo last Thursday, boosting the local population by an additional 1,000 people for a matter of hours. Traffic in the town area was congested with numerous aiga buses and taxis standing by to snatch up tourists and drive them around for scenic tours of the island.
The Volendam - the only cruise ship scheduled to arrive in the territory this month - brought over 1,100 passengers and crew members and departed Thursday evening after heavy rains dampened the mood of sightseers who were able to snap photos and enjoy the sunshine earlier in the day.
Vendors were set up at the wharf bright and early to display their wares that included sarongs, handicrafts and other souvenir items.
Two cruise ships stopped by the territory last month and another four are scheduled to arrive in November. There are no cruise ships scheduled to stop by in December.
While the number of cruise ships visiting the territory has decreased (18 total) as compared to previous years, the ships that came or are scheduled to arrive later this year, are bigger and carry more passengers and crew members.
American Samoa Visitors Bureau Executive Director David Vaeafe said earlier this year that the territory is well prepared to meet the increasing number of cruise liners moving the South Pacific region, and in actuality, American Samoa can—based on its current infrastructure —accommodate up to ten cruise ships per month.
“This is sustainable for us," Vaeafe said. For next year, 16 ships have been confirmed up to September 2014 and these are bigger ships like the Queen Elizabeth II and Queen Victoria.
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