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Banana Coast heads into second season with first cruise call, high ratings

Garifuna performers greet passengers at the cruise terminal
After a successful first season, Banana Coast hosted its first call of the 2016 winter cruise season at the deep-water Bay of Trujillo, Honduras. P&O Cruises' 30,200gt Adonia arrived Wednesday.

Counting P&O's Adonia, four lines have scheduled a total of 11 calls by four ships in 2016 including Oceania Cruises' 1,250-passenger Riviera, Holland America Line's 1,350-passenger Veendam, and Thomson Cruises' 1,506-passenger Dream. This will be Thomson's inaugural season calling at Trujillo.

'Adonia arrived with 688 passengers aboard, and 395—more than 57%—of them opted to take an organized shore tour,' said Randy Jorgensen, general manager of Grande Trujillo Autoridad, which developed the port. 'The town showed well, the weather cooperated and all tours ran on schedule,' he aded, noting the majority of comments received 'revolved around the destination delivering the authentic experience passengers were looking for.'

In 2015, Banana Coast handled 54,440 passengers, who gave the new destination high marks. Passenger satisfaction ratings for Banana Coast tours averaged 89%, guides and staff received a 94% rating, tour sites were rated 94%, and 92% of passengers said they would recommend Banana Coast to friends and family.

To prepare for the second season, the port has been training tour guides, who are licensed by the municipality of Trujillo. All guides are trained in first responder and CPR skills, speak fluent English and have completed a certification course. Training consists of a 40-hour Tour Guide Program that focuses on customer service, storytelling, problem-solving and emergency situations.

In 2016, Banana Coast Tours and premier visitor attraction Campo del Mar will offer 22 shore excursions to cruise passengers that include snorkeling, kayaking, waterfall explorations, horseback riding, beach breaks, nature expeditions, mangrove boat rides, jungle ATV adventures, zip line tours and a variety of other cultural, historical and gastronomic excursions.

As passengers alight from tenders at the cruise terminal, they are greeted by Garifuna musicians, dancers and performers. Establishments at the visitor center include Jade Museum and Jewelry, CocoLoco’s organic frozen coconuts, a duty-free liquor and gift shop, and a variety of kiosks offering refreshments and souvenirs.