Montserrat was delighted to welcome the return of the Jeans for Freedom Ferry from Deshaies, Guadeloupe. This has been the ferry's first visit to the island since 2019 before all tourism visits were halted by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. The Sales and Marketing manager, Emmanuel Dufee of Express des Iles, the partner company of Jeans for Freedom, revealed that the vessel was fully booked by mid-March. Upon arrival into Montserrat on March 25th, 431 passengers disembarked the ferry at port Little Bay.
Tourism personnel alongside Nia St. Claire, Miss Montserrat, were on hand to meet and greet the passengers. The Volpanics Steel Orchestra as well as musicians from the Montserrat Secondary School provided Musical entertainment to welcome the visitors. Bureau de Change service was organized by the Bank of Montserrat to assist the guests who needed to make currency exchanges. Victor’s Supermarket also allowed passengers to use credit card facilities to access their funds.
Many persons had pre-booked tours to include tours of Plymouth - the ‘Buried City’, Montserrat Volcano Observatory, Electric bike tours with Chez Mango and tours to Jack Boy Hill. A number of taxi operators and tour guides benefited from the visit with most vehicles filled to capacity. Unfortunately, some freelance passengers who did not pre-book tours faced short delays in locating available taxis. However, bus service operators arrived at the port and resolved the shortage.
Several arts and craft and souvenir vendors were available at the port which afforded the guests the opportunity to purchase mementos to take back for their loved ones. During the afternoon, entertainment was provided by, Lloyd ‘Bimsha’ Francis, the Emerald Shamiole masquerades and hi-fi music.
Some positive feedback shared from the visitors on the Jeans for Freedom Facebook page stated that “Really nice day, I recommend” (Amelie Colin), “It was great, we love it! For sure we will be back,” (Mag Luce), “Loved visiting Montserrat” (Denise Jean). The next Montserrat Day of Discovery is scheduled for 2 December 2023.
Director of the Tourism Division, Mrs. Rosetta West Gerald commends the return of the Jeans for Freedom ferry, she commented that: “It is great to build inter-island relationships. Guadeloupe has had a long-standing relationship with Montserrat and is seen as a viable and unique stop-over spanning many years.” “There is genuine interest in Montserrat and our buried city and the Tourism Division will continue to work with Jeans for Freedom and other vessels to promote and encourage more day trips to the island throughout the year,” she added.