Prime Minister David Thompson??

Barbados is considered central to Carnival’s developing cruise business, with three ships, Ventura, Oceana and Artemis, expected to home port in Bridgetown this winter season. This number should increase to four from winter 2010, when the new luxury ship Azura is launched.??

Chief Executive of Carnival UK, David Dingle, made this known during a meeting with Prime Minister David Thompson in Great Britain earlier this week.

Describing the meeting as "very productive", Mr. Thompson said it was clear that Carnival UK saw Barbados as a key partner in the development of its cruise business within the Caribbean.

Carnival operates a number of major cruises lines, including P&O Cruises, which home port in Barbados.

"As new ships are launched and brought into service, I am confident Barbados will continue to benefit from the ongoing growth of the cruise market," the Prime Minister noted.

He added: "We also discussed ways in which Barbados can play a greater role within their business, such as having Barbadian products on P&O cruise ships and partnerships with our hotel school, so that Barbadian students can carry out some of their training on board. I am encouraged that Barbados will play a central part in the development of the cruise industry within the whole Caribbean region."

The three P&O cruise ships home porting in Barbados throughout the winter will have 14-day itineraries around the Caribbean and, at the meeting, Mr. Thompson also discussed ways in which the passengers of these ships could have increased opportunities to see more of Barbados.

During his visit to Carnival UK, Prime Minister Thompson was given a tour of the recently opened Ocean Terminal facilities in Southampton. The Ocean Terminal is considered among the most modern in the world and can handle 4,000 passengers simultaneously.

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