American Glory cruise ship docks in Punta Gorda

Writer: Camila Pereira
Published: Updated:

American Cruise Lines’ newest ship, which travels from St. Petersburg and Tampa to Key West and back within eight days, has made its second stop in Punta Gorda.

“It’s very inspiring,” said Shelly Hartfield, the Director of Product Development for American Cruise Lines. “And it lets you know that this is a fantastic itinerary; it’s a sold-out voyage, so it lets you know that the decision was right to bring guests here. The response has been overwhelming.”

With 104 guests on board, groups of passengers arrived on shore via a launch boat, and members of the city and Englewood Beach were eager to greet them.

“We’ve been excited about this happening, just like we were excited about Sunseeker Resort opening,” Sean Doherty said, Director of Tourism for Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor & Convention Bureau. “You know it’s going to be a great opportunity to have all these passengers coming on shore to get a little taste of the Punta Gorda area.”

Passengers got goody bags, walked the red carpet to steel drum music and enjoyed mimosas along the way.

American Cruise Lines. CREDIT: WINK News

It was a greeting that made them want to come back.

“I’m in Punta Gorda, my first time here, absolutely lovely,” said Nancy Sullivan, a passenger from Pennsylvania. “Love the greeting committee, fresh Florida orange juice, wonderful time.”

“Terrific, the best we’ve had at the ports really,” August Courville said, a passenger from Louisiana.

All before they headed off to explore what Punta Gorda had to offer.

“I want to go well on the loop, but I also want to go the military museum and the botanical garden,” said Mary Lea Kruse, a passenger from Iowa.

“I’m going to the new resort today to the spa,” Gwen Courville said, a passenger from Louisiana.

And kicked off the new year with a trip to remember.

“Absolutely,” Sullivan said. “It’s a great way, 2024 the year of more!”

Hartfield, the Director of Product Development for the cruise line, said next year, they plan to have another ship stop in Punta Gorda: the American Eagle.

The city welcomes this opportunity, as they hope to make Punta Gorda a destination spot.

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