Tortola, a British Virgin Island, is a delightful little port stop offering quaint shops, sightseeing, beaches and other activities. Cruise ships heading to much busier ports in St. Maarten and St. Thomas often squeeze in a stop at Tortola, too.
But construction at the port, the Cruise Pier Expansion Project, has stalled tourist activity in 2015.
We stopped by in mid-January, and saw the construction fully under way. Our ship had to tender to port while the pier is being worked on. Shops owners told me it has been awful for business while construction takes place. Carnival Cruise Line, the world's largest, dropped Tortola from itineraries for the 2014-15 season.
Let's hope the short-term pain results in a long-tern gain for the delightful island and its wonderful residents. We would love for all of you to get there at least once to enjoy snorkeling, diving, biking and other super activities available there.
The nearly $60 million project aims to boost cruise tourism. The pier will be longer and wider to allow for the mega-ships. A five-acre landside area, Tortola Pier Park, will include a new terminal building, retail space, restaurants, swimming pool, entertainment and green space.
The project is scheduled for two phases. The first, the pier expansion, is estimated to be finished by summer 2015, which will allow ships drop off passengers without using a tender, allowing more time in port to visit with those friendly shop owners.
Thanks for reading, and always travel happy.