St. John’s Antigua – L’Express des Iles (under the company name Jeans for Freedom), a ferry service between Guadeloupe and Antigua is scheduled to make three return calls to Antigua in the summer of 2023.
Colin James, CEO, Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority said the boat is scheduled to return again in April, May and August of 2023.
The ferry made its debut return trip to Antigua on Saturday 10, November, about three years after the Covid-19 resulted in travel restrictions that made it next to impossible to return.
“We’re so happy to welcome our regional neighbours back,” remarked Charmaine Spencer, Marketing Consultant, Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority.
“We’ve been working at this for months, trying to get the resumption of service and we had the different covid protocols and restrictions. It has been very difficult but we now see that it’s a reality,” she said.
Meanwhile, Mr. James hoped that the ferry’s arrival would revitalize efforts to make Antigua and Barbuda a regional marine hub.
“I notice a lot of the passengers coming off had large bags like they were ready for shopping and that’s going to be good news for all our vendors, all our transportation ambassadors.”
“Everybody’s going to have a great day today,” he declared.
Murmurs of French Creole merged with local pidgins as hundreds of passengers exited the Nevis Pier Dock in St John’s on Saturday morning.
The distinct sound came from 415 passengers who had traveled 58.6 miles over two hours from Guadeloupe aboard L’Express des Iles. The small vessel berthed alongside two large cruise ships, signalling a renewed start after the three-year hiatus.
Also present at the event was Elroy Skerrit, Director of Operations, Global Ports who invited the captains to enjoy the duty-free shops at Heritage Quay as well as the hospitality of residents on Antigua.
The ferry ride which marked the end of Tourism Week was captained by Oliver Fedor and chief engineer Vainqueur Loἵc.
Captain Fedor said he was excited to be back in Antigua after such a long time and looked forward to future visits.