Carnival Cruise Line revealed plans to build a new destination cruise port in the Bahamas, situated on the east side of Grand Bahama island.
The agreement signed yesterday with the Bahaman government is to build the largest destination cruise facility yet in the islands, which already has a number of private islands designed specifically for cruise lines.
The new port, which does not yet have a name, will include a pier large enough to support two of Carnival's largest ships at once. The line said it expects to have it host up to 1 million guests a year. The line's current fleet of 25 ships includes its largest, the 133,500-ton, 3,954-passenger Carnival Vista that sails out of Miami. A sister ship Carnival Horizon due in 2018 will also call Miami home. The line has a third Vista-class ship due in 2019 as well as new class of ship that will be 180,000 tons and a 6,600-passenger capacity due in 2020 and 2022.
Parent company Carnival Corp. also owns Holland America Line that sends ships to Half Moon Cay and Princess Cruises that sends ships to Princess Cays. Along with those destinations on top of main Bahaman ports Nassau and Freeport, stops by all of the company's various branded ships in 2017 will already be close to bringing 3 million tourists to the island, according to Duffy. The line sails to the Bahamas from more East Coast ports than any other line including Florida port Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Port Canaveral and Jacksonville.
The multimillion-dollar project, which is subject to a public discussion process, environmental studies and permitting, will include a one-mile stretch of beach, food, beverage and shopping outlets, water-based amenities and other recreational facilities.
While details about timetables and exact look and feel were not available, Bahamas Prime Minister Perry G. Christie released a statement saying,
“This new cruise port initiative in East Grand Bahama is a shore project that will create a new cruise destination with a distinctive flavour and characteristics, representing another phase in the development of Grand Bahama Island as a viable tourist centre.”
According to a Freeport media reports, the site is roughly 25 miles east of Freeport on East Grand Bahama, and chosen after an environmental impact report looking to see the site's impact on the island's aquifer. The project will take two years to complete and cost around USD 200 million.
Cruise lines continue to invest in private islands including MSC Cruises creation of Ocean Cay, Disney Cruise Line's Castaway Cay, Norwegian's Great Stirrup Cay and Royal Caribbean's CocoCay. The private islands keep more money in the cruise line's coffers as opposed to stops at major cities like Freeport or Nassau, but they also offer a more controlled, branded experience. While not its own island, this will be Carnival Cruise Line's first purpose-built destination.