Monday, April 8, 2019
Monday, April 8, 2019
The Bahamas is ramping up its cruise offerings and negotiating with Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd (RCL) for substantial redevelopment in Freeport on the back of a record 11 million expected cruise ship passengers in 2019, as the Caribbean region’s share of the global market continues to grow.
The Caribbean region continues to be the strongest market for the cruise industry worldwide according to a new study from Cruise Industry News, with around 39 per cent of global cruise capacity deployed in the region this year.
“The Caribbean is maintaining its market share as the industry continues to grow and expand globally,” states the recently released Caribbean Cruise Trends report, which attributes the Caribbean region’s 5 per cent increase in overall passenger numbers to new port facilities and passenger attractions, as well as upgrades to several private island destinations.
The Bahamas is expecting to see an increase in cruise business in 2019 when RCL unveils Perfect Day at CocoCay next month.
Following a multi-phased $200 million transformation of the island, passengers can now enjoy the largest freshwater pool and tallest waterslide in the Caribbean region, and overwater cabanas as well as a range of other luxury amenities. RCL expects to welcome over 2 million guests to CocoCay in 2020.
RCL is also looking to increase its footprint in Grand Bahama. The cruise industry giant recently signed a Letter of Intent with Lucayan Renewal Holdings Ltd for the $65 million purchase of the Grand Lucayan Resort and development of Freeport Harbour.
The project, which would operate as a joint venture between RCL and the ITM Group, aims to re-open and revive the resort and bring an additional two million passengers annually to Grand Bahama.
Upgrades to the Nassau cruise ship product are also in the works, spurred by a renewed interest in rejuvenating the downtown core.
In February, Global Ports Holding won the bid to redevelop the cruise port at Prince George Wharf. Plans for the $250 million project include a new welcome centre and state-of-the-art entertainment pavilion. It will also add berths, allowing Nassau to accommodate the latest and biggest cruise liners.
With over 120 new ships taking to the seas between 2019 and 2027, competition for port space is heating up, according to Cruise Industry news. The biggest player in the market continues to be Carnival Corp, with 34 per cent of the business. RCL is close behind with 26.7 per cent.
Carnival is set to construct a new cruise port at Sharp Rock, slated for completion in 2021. Carnival currently brings around 460,000 passengers to Grand Bahama port, but the new “mega port” is expected to boost this number to over a million, according to the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation.