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Increased cruise service to GB announced

The government announced December 15 an expanded service of the Balearia Bahamas Express and the MS Grand Celebration to Grand Bahama. Pictured: Balearia Bahamas Express. (Photo via Wiki Commons)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Grand Bahama’s tourism sector is expected to grow significantly in 2015 according to both the Minister for Grand Bahama Dr Michael Darville and Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe.

Their comments came during a press conference at the Grand Lucayan Resort December 15 to announce the expanded service of the Balearia Bahamas Express and the MS Grand Celebration.

Prime Minister Perry Christie was the featured speaker at the function, also expressing some confidence in the growth of the island’s tourism sector.

The MS Grand Celebration is described as a new cruise line that will sail out of the Port of Palm Beach to Grand Bahama Island in early February 2015.

The new vessel has 10 public decks and 750 large cabins and terrace suites, with more than 60 per cent having an ocean view. The public areas include restaurants, spa, casino, theatre, nightclub and pool deck with five pools and Jacuzzis.

The cruise line will offer two-night cruises and cruise-and-Bahamas resort stay-vacation packages from four to eight nights. The MS Grand Celebration will sail every other day of the week. In Grand Bahama to make the announcement was Glenn Ryerson, executive vice-president of the Grand Celebration.

Hernan Calvo, CEO of Balearia, confirmed to the audience assembled at the Grand Lucayan Resort that their new $100 million vessel has arrived. The new vessel was built by the Balearia Group in Spain four years ago, and is one of the newer of the 20 vessels that the company has in its fleet.

The super fast cruise ferry sails up to 23 knots and in addition to her transit time, passengers can enjoy the whole cruise experience. Amenities include a full buffet restaurant, casino, a la cart restaurant, barbecues, bars, entertainment for children, spa and a tropical pool bar. This new vessel has a 1,000-passenger and 200-container capacity and will be sailing almost daily from Freeport and Fort Lauderdale.

With this new venture, the Balearia will be creating up to 30 new direct jobs in The Bahamas, and approximately 150 indirect jobs.

Minister for Grand Bahama Dr Michael Darville told the gathering: “I am excited that next year, Grand Bahama will experience a major boost in our local economy. As Minister for Grand Bahama I remain optimistic about the future and as I have mentioned on numerous occasions, I am convinced that we have weathered the worst part of the storm and better days lie ahead.”

Abaco Club's new owner, Southworth Development, has pledged a major facelift for the luxury residential resort. Watch a ZNS Network news report about the renovations here.

The Bahamas is gearing up to host the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl football game on Christmas Eve in the National Stadium. Watch an interview with the organizers here.

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