The Bahamas government has welcomed the return of the Royal Caribbean International cruise lines noting that homeporting offers ‘best of both worlds’.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, speaking at a ceremony to welcome the cruise line after a yearlong shutdown due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic said “it has been a long and challenging period for our country and for the entire world including the global tourism industry and the cruising sector.
“Cruising is an essential economic driver for our small country,” he added.
In 2019, The Bahamas welcomed a record-breaking 5.4 million visitors arriving by cruise. Each year, Royal Caribbean’s ships brought an estimated two million passengers to the archipelago.
The return of the cruise lines coincided with the homeporting Inauguration of “Adventure of the Seas official ceremony and plaque presentation over the weekend.
Homeporting cruise passengers will fly into Nassau to embark, spend time onshore, and at the conclusion of the cruise return to Nassau to disembark and fly back home. The spin-off from this movement of guests may result in more hotel room nights.
Prime Minister Minnis said that the Royal Caribbean arrangement offers the “best of both worlds,” a cruise guest who adds on a hotel stay of one to two nights.
He said that the weekly movement of guests in and out of Nassau will require additional airlift, the use of local ground transportation services and many other professional services.
Adventure of the Seas will homeport in Nassau and visit additional islands in The Bahamas over a seven-night itinerary. This includes visits to Grand Bahama, and Perfect Day at Coco Cay, Royal Caribbean’s private destination in the Berry Islands that employs a good number of Bahamians.
Prime Minister Minnis said the homeporting initiative means that even more Bahamians across the islands can get back to work as the sector continues its recovery, said the Prime Minister.
The Adventure of the Seas itinerary will also afford enterprising Bahamians the opportunity to avail themselves of the cruise line’s demand for: provisions, services, tour excursions, attractions, and authentic, memorable one-of-a-kind guest experiences.
Prime Minister Minnis said Royal Caribbean’s decision to homeport Adventure of the Seas in Nassau is in line with the robust investment they have made in this destination over many years.
He said a highlight of Royal Caribbean’s discussions with Bahamas tourism officials and key industry stakeholders has been the proposition of making Nassau a homeport and potential gateway to the Caribbean, he said.
“This proposition has the potential to make a significant economic impact on our nation, though there is still much to be done to realize this potential,” said the Prime Minister, noting that Royal Caribbean’s outlook for investments in The Bahamas is quite ambitious.
Prime Minister Minnis said Royal Caribbean’s plans for a beach break destination on Paradise Island – Royal Beach Club – includes a US$50 million investment that will generate an extra US$26 million per year in visitor spending.
“With the vaccine distribution in active progress in The Bahamas and abroad, major hotel re-openings, and the return of cruising in The Bahamas, there is steadfast optimism that our country will once again achieve record-breaking tourism levels,” said the Prime Minister.