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Dominica's port greets first major cruise ship since Hurricane Maria

Dominica's port greets first major cruise ship since Hurricane Maria
The cruise ship Mein Schiff 3 docked in Domenica on Jan. 28, the first ship to visit since the island was devastated by Hurricane Maria last fall. (TUI Cruises)

Things are taking a turn for the better in Dominica, a mountainous Caribbean island nation between Guadeloupe and Martinique. Last week, more than four months after Hurricane Maria damaged or destroyed 90% of the island's structures, the cruise ship port at Roseau welcomed its first major passenger ship.

Four more ships are scheduled to arrive in March.

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Mein Schiff 3 docked Jan. 28, unloading more than 2,000 passengers to explore the island. Visitors reportedly took tours to see some of Dominica's highlights — the Emerald Pool, Trafalgar Twin Falls, Titou Gorge — and went whale watching.

The ship is operated by TUI Cruises, a joint venture between German tourism company TUI and Royal Caribbean International.

Dominica is sometimes confused with the Dominican Republic, and lacks direct long-haul flights. Consequently, the destination has predominantly remained under the radar.

But with 365 rivers, volcanoes, waterfalls and two-thirds of the island covered in rain forest, it has garnered the nickname "nature island."

The first ship to visit Dominica since Maria hit Sept. 18 was the Sea Cloud, which arrived in late December but did not dock at Roseau because the port had not yet reopened.

Upcoming cruise lines visiting Dominica are MSC Cruises on March 15, Windstar Cruises on March 21, TUI Cruises on March 25 and Pullmantur on March 26.

Dominica Electric Co. hopes to be able to deliver power to the entire island by April. At this point, 85% of customers are still without electricity.

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