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Cruise Ships To Get Entertainment & Provisions At Port

'Young at Heart’ to liven up cruise passengers’ experience in Old San Juan; Caribbean Produce and Judith’s Fine Foods to provide fresh produce to Adventure of the Seas


August 29, 2002
Copyright © 2002 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

Starting Sept. 3, thousands of cruise ship passengers will be exposed to Puerto Rico’s culture through salsa and plena songs and dances, thanks to the new Young at Heart program.

The Puerto Rico Tourism Co. and the Office of Youth Affairs developed the $141,000 program to make Old San Juan ports livelier and more attractive to cruise ship passengers (CB Aug. 8), addressing one of the slew of complaints by the cruise lines.

There will be five shows a month from July through October and 20 shows a month during the high season, November through April, to warmly receive up to 10 cruise lines that together make 680 annual trips to Old San Juan piers.

The initiative was sparked by a 2000 PricewaterhouseCoopers passenger expenditure study that found that Caribbean cruise ship passengers spend the least money in the port of San Juan. Young at Heart is one of several Tourism Co. strategies to improve cruise passengers’ experience in Old San Juan.

Yet another benefit that has arisen from discussions between the government and cruise lines is an incentive to promote local provisioning to the cruise industry.

Royal Caribbean Cruises signed a six-month contract with local distributors Caribbean Produce and Judith’s Fine Foods International Inc. to provide $1 million worth of fresh fruits and vegetables to the cruise line’s 3,200-passenger Adventure of the Seas. Local produce such as bananas, plantains, mangoes, and papayas will be supplied to Royal Caribbean, as will other fresh produce that must be shipped in. Deliveries should begin in September.

"We are splitting our business between both companies," said Michael McNamara, director of food & beverage purchasing for Royal Caribbean. "There is an opportunity to extend business."

The discussions for Royal Caribbean to acquire some of its provisions locally began in 2001, when the Ports Authority and the cruise line were negotiating its Pan American dock deal.

It was taken a step further when Promoexport presented a cost-saving alternative to Royal Caribbean and other Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) members at an April meeting at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables (CB April 18).

The presentation highlighted that Puerto Rico’s food distribution industry has remained one of the strongest and most vital industries in the local economy. Of the estimated $36.6 billion in personal consumption expenditures in 2000, $5.5 billion, or 15%, was spent on food, compared with $3.9 billion in 1992.

Promoexport also noted that five of the 10 largest locally owned businesses in Puerto Rico are in the food & beverage distribution industry. And the market for wholesale food distribution on the island is estimated at $2 billion, with an estimated $300 million in refrigerated and frozen food products.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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