NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) — The recent appearance of two cruise ships in New London has raised hopes that Connecticut could benefit from the return of an industry decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The two ships, which were part of American Queen Voyages, were touring the East Coast and Canada and were the first cruise ships to stop in New London in four years. Both are to stop in New London on the way back south in the fall.
The ships each carried around 90 passengers and 75 crew and received gift bags, discounts at local restaurants and a guided city tour.
Connecticut also has deep-water ports in New Haven and Bridgeport that can accommodate large ships, but the state is often not considered a cruise destination.
“It’s encouraging that with the industry really trying to make a comeback, they chose New London,” Mayor Michael Passero told the New Haven Register.
New London and other Connecticut ports could benefit from Canada reopening its own ports to cruises after two years, as well as industry trends toward more domestic routes and smaller ships that cater to an older clientele, said Chris Gray Faust, editor of the consumer magazine. Cruise Critic website.
“There has been a pivot towards more domestic cruises,” Gray Faust told the newspaper. “Some of these ports are ones that you don’t necessarily consider cruise ports.”
A Connecticut Port Authority spokesperson told the Register that the agency was working with the state to investigate whether a pier at Fort Trumbull in New London, which is closer to the mouth of the Thames and the strait of Long Island, could be renovated to accommodate cruise ships.
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