Disney Backs Off Pristine Bahamas Island Cruise Port

By ,   July 24, 2016 ,   Cruise Industry

Facing serious opposition from nearby residents, Disney Cruise Line canceled its plans to build a cruise port on the unspoiled Bahamian Egg island.

Line's officials said they backed off plans after the environmental study found that works would damage coral reefs around Egg Island, uninhabited isle off the north coast of Eleuthera, and ringed by a pristine reef.

Disney spokeswoman said in a statement:

“We recently completed a careful and thorough review of a project at Egg Island and determined that the environmental impact of our intended development would be too significant.” 

News of the project outraged Spanish Wells residents who organized a petition and collected over 3,000 signatures and prompted the local district council to demand answers from Bahamas' Prime Minister.

Rumors about the cruise port project began swirling in the village after drilling equipment turned up on the dock in Spanish Wells in June. Then, due to customs dispute, the machinery sat on the dock for a month drawing attention. Opposition quickly mounted and spread.

Turning Bahamian islands into private cruise destinations has grown in popularity since Norwegian first leased Great Stirrup Cay in the 1970s. Including Disney’s Castaway Cay, five islands in the Bahamas now provide exclusive island vacations with private beaches, fake shipwrecks and water slides. At the opposite end of Eleuthera, Princess Cruise Lines operates Princess Cays on 40 acres of beachfront.

Locals say Egg Island has long been used by them for beach parties and summer getaways. At just 12 acres, the island are undisturbed shores, where turtles regularly nest, and the reef just off the beach. Until recently, the Higgs family held a 99-year lease.