On Thursday and Friday, July 28 and 29, Carnival Cruise Line hosted more than 500 local business representatives, authorities, and residents of Grand Bahama Island for a series of informational sessions about the new port development project.
This outreach, which was held at the Grand Lucayan Hotel and Resort, is intended to update the community about progress on the cruise port project and the jobs and business opportunities it will bring when it opens in late 2024.
New Port Project Underway
Carnival Cruise Line broke ground on the new $200 million port project in mid-May, as growing travel interest in The Bahamas has made the time right for such an investment. This week’s informational sessions were designed to keep community members advised of the project’s potential, not only for the cruise line, but for local retailers, restaurants, tour companies, and more.
“The Grand Bahama Cruise Port represents a tremendous opportunity as we partner with the local community to create jobs and build a business relationship that will have both immediate and long-term benefits,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.
“The Bahamas has been a valued partner and vibrant destination for Carnival for 50 years, and we are grateful for the ongoing support from the government of The Bahamas, Ministry for Grand Bahama and Grand Bahama Port Authority.”
The cruise line estimates that the new port facility will support as many as 1,000 local jobs through the construction phase and ongoing operation once it is welcoming ships.
Upon completion, the cruise pier will be able to accommodate two of Carnival’s Excel-class ships simultaneously. At the moment, the cruise line’s flagship, Mardi Gras, is the only Excel-class vessel in service, but it will be joined by sister ships Carnival Celebration and Carnival Jubilee in November 2022 and November 2023, respectively.
Each of the Excel-class ships can host up to 5,282 guests at double occupancy, and as many as 6,500 passengers when fully booked. If two ships are docked at once, that means an astonishing 10,000 or more passengers may be visiting Grand Bahama in a single day.
The pier will, of course, be available to smaller Carnival cruise ships as well, and offers another port of call option for sailings to The Bahamas.
Carnival Grand Bahama Port Features
At the moment, few details are known about the new port facility, but the cruise line is already describing it as a destination rather than just simply a pier.
“We look forward to seeing the new port come to life,” said Duffy, “ultimately creating a one-of-a-kind experience for Grand Bahama visitors from around the world.”
The facility will feature food and beverage options – both full restaurants as well as bars and snack kiosks – as well as retail storefronts and shore excursion operators. The goal is to offer a uniquely Bahamian experience that will include a rotating schedule of art displays from local artists, a Bahamian Straw Market, duty free retail selections, general souvenirs, and more.
No American-branded or ship-branded restaurants will be featured, and the port’s layout is being carefully designed to avoid congestion or repetition.
The facility will also include a one-mile stretch of white-sand beach, a nature reserve, and an interior pool feature. With the water access comes opportunities for shore excursions as well as watersports and other activities.
The port is located at the Sharp Rock site on the south side of Grand Bahama, approximately 20 miles from the current Freeport cruise dock. This location was selected so as to be more accessible to the local population and therefore facilitate more economic opportunities, and it was a more environmentally sound choice as well.
As the project continues, Carnival Cruise Line will release further details as well as hold additional local informational sessions to keep everyone engaged in this exciting development for Grand Bahama.