Royal Caribbean International is to mount a winter fly-cruise challenge by basing a ship in Barbados for the first time from December.

Grandeur of the Seas will run two week-long sailings and a 14-night itinerary from the island – a traditional winter base for rivals such as P&O Cruises.

The new cruises with Sunday departures opened for booking on Wednesday.

New ports of call to be served by the 1,950-passenger ship include Tobago, Trinidad and St Vincent.

Late-night stays are planned for Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao.

The longer sailing includes an overnight stay in Aruba coupled with visits to Cartagena in Colombia; Colon, Panama; and Puerto Limon, Costa Rica.

Royal Caribbean International president and chief executive Michael Bayley said: “We are excited to grow our longstanding partnership with Barbados and introduce Bridgetown as Royal Caribbean’s newest home port.

“Sailing from the heart of the Windward Islands unlocks new memorable vacations to share with family and friends in breath-taking places, such as Grenada, St Lucia, and now St Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago.

“The pink-sand beaches and unexpected adventures across Barbados also make it an ideal destination for our guests to experience even more of the Caribbean charm and culture before or after their cruise.”

Barbados tourism and international transport minister Lisa Cummins said: “After the year the industry and region have had, this is a shining light to look forward to this coming winter season.

“We have wanted to see for some time more home porting operations from Barbados, the incorporation of pre- and post-stay vacations which expose cruisers to the best Barbados has to offer and at a regional level, the development of new itineraries that elevates the cruise experience throughout the Caribbean.

“So, we are extremely pleased to extend the welcome mat for Grandeur of the Seas to Barbados.

“We are looking forward to displaying our Bajan hospitality, wide range of accommodations, rich culture, diversity of experiences, world class cuisine, unique attractions, and especially want to share the warmth of the Barbadian people. These are the things that keep visitors coming back for more.”

The 2021-22 winter cruises from Bridgetown are:

  • 7-night Southern Caribbean Island Hop visiting Tobago, Trinidad, Grenada, St Vincent, Dominica and St Lucia.
  • 7-night Southern Caribbean Adventure visiting Grenada, Bonaire, Aruba, Curacao andTrinidad.
  • 14-night Ultimate Caribbean visiting Grenada, St Vincent, Bonaire, Aruba (overnight), Curacao, Trinidad, Cartagena, Colon and Puerto Limon.