Carnival Cruise Line and the Bahamian government have agreed to move forward on construction of a new cruise port facility on Grand Bahama island.
The port, which will be funded and operated by the Miami-based cruise line, is on track to be the largest purpose-built cruise facility ever constructed in The Bahamas.
Highlights of the multi-million dollar project include a one-mile stretch of beach, multiple restaurants and shops, as well as a pier capable of accommodating two of Carnival’s largest ships at the same time. The port will also boast water-based amenities and other recreational facilities.
It’s expected to eventually host as many as 1 million guests annually.
The facility still remains subject to a public discussion process, environmental studies and permitting.
“Carnival Cruise Line is the leader in year-round cruising to The Bahamas and this new development will not only provide a truly extraordinary and one-of-a-kind destination experience for our guests but it will further solidify our partnership with the people of The Bahamas,” said Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy in a statement.
“In 2017, along with Carnival’s sister lines, Carnival Corporation will bring close to 3 million guests to The Bahamas,” added Duffy. “Collectively, we represent the single largest cruise company investor in The Bahamas.”
Speaking at Tuesday’s signing ceremony in Freeport, Carnival Corporation President and CEO Arnold Donald said: “The Bahamas continues to be one of the most strategic and important destinations for our company.”
In his own statement, Prime Minister of the Bahamas Perry G. Christie said the port “will create a new ‘destination’ with a distinctive flavor and characteristics” in addition to providing the region with many economic and employment opportunities.
Citing Freeport newspaper reports, the Orlando Sentinel reported the port will be located approximately 25 miles east of Freeport on East Grand Bahama. It will require up to two years and roughly $200 million to complete.
Carnival’s latest venture comes after a handful of cruise lines have developed their own private destinations in the Caribbean. One of the key benefits of branded ports is the ability for cruise lines to have more control over the guest experience.