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Rhapsody of the Seas brings visitors to Pago

The Rhapsody of the Seas arrived in the territory yesterday, causing traffic delays in the town area and an increase in transactions for local businesses. The cruise ship carried over 1,100 passengers and crew members who arrived in the territory at 9 a.m. and departed at 6 p.m.


Yesterday's cruise ship is the first of two scheduled to dock at the main port this month.


The second cruise ship, the Sea Princess, is scheduled to arrive at port on September 29, the anniversary of the deadly earthquake/tsunami that claimed the lives of several local residents in 2009.


Another five cruise ships are scheduled to arrive in the next two months — one in October and four in November. There are no cruise ships set to arrive in December.


American Samoa Visitors Bureau Executive Director David Vaeafe told the Samoa News in an initial interview that the territory is well prepared to meet the increasing number of cruise liners moving to the South Pacific, and the territory can — based on its current infrastructure — actually accommodate up to ten cruise ships a month.


This year, a total of 18 ships are confirmed for arrival in American Samoa. The number has declined a bit, compared to the previous year, but the incoming ships are bigger, carrying more passengers and crew members.


“We can take more,” Vaeafe said, reiterating that the territory can take up to 10 ships a month “and this is sustainable for us."  For next year, Vaeafe said 16 ships have been confirmed up to September 2014 and these are bigger ships like the Queen Elizabeth II and Queen Victoria, which can carry a high number of passengers.


Pictured is the Rhapsody of the Seas as it sailed into the main port yesterday morning. In the background is Matafao Mountain.