In an exciting day for The Bahamas, Carnival Cruise Line, and its future passengers, the cruise line broke ground on a massive new destination on Grand Bahama Island.
Coming in at 369 acres, Carnival says that the project will feature an extensive beach area, shops, food and beverage options, a dedicated short excursion dock, and keep roughly one-third as a nature preserve. (For comparison, Royal Caribbean’s CocoCay comes in at 125 acres.)
“We’ll have a mile of beautiful Bahamian beach for people to enjoy. We’ll have a waterpark area, large pools, food and beverage, places for people to just really enjoy what they imagine being on a ship and arriving in Grand Bahama,” said Carnival President Christine Duffy told Bahamian news organization ZNS before the ceremony.
The new development represents an significant investment in The Bahamas by the cruise line as it builds out a must-visit destination for passengers. The budget is said to be an estimated $200 million. When completed, the destination will have the ability to welcome two of Carnival’s largest Excel-class ships at the same time.
Fitting with the major significance of the event, scores of Bahamian dignitaries and Carnival executives were on hand for the ground-breaking ceremony. This included Prime Minister Philip Davis of The Bahamas, Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy, Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald, and future Carnival CEO Josh Weinstein.
Significant Impact on the Local Economy
The new destination project is not just a new spot for cruise passengers to enjoy, but it is also hoped to have a significant impact on the Grand Bahama economy, which has been hit hard by Covid and recent hurricanes.
“With the start of this Carnival project, Grand Bahama is now on the better side of reaching its true economic potential,” said Prime Minister of The Bahamas The Honourable Philip Davis. “This investment will provide much needed jobs but will also signal new hope for the island’s recovery.”
The sentiment was echoed by other officials at the groundbreaking ceremony.
“The new Carnival cruise port destination will have a monumental impact on our island’s economy, including a panoply of new business opportunities, a huge surge in tourist visitors, as well as increased activities for established business,” said Sarah St. George, Acting Chairman of the Grand Bahamas Port Authority. “It is transformational in the true sense of the word.”
In addition, Carnival has invested in new drydocks on the island as well.
Limited Specifics About the New Carnival Destination Just Yet…
Located in East Grand Bahama, the new destination will offer a major port for Carnival just over 100 miles from the Florida coast. It will also up the level of competition with rival destinations like Disney’s Castaway Cay and Royal Caribbean’s Perfect Day at CocoCay.
However, at this time few details have been released about what passengers can expect or even what the destination will be called.
We do know that it is scheduled to be completed in late 2024. When finished, Carnival plans for the new destination to welcome upwards of one million passengers a year.
“With this project, we are opening the doors to a new era of cruising in The Bahamas with Carnival. Our guests love The Bahamas, and when this port is complete, I can assure you, we will be coming back again and again,” said Duffy.
Carnival says that more will be shared about the upcoming destination as plans are finalized and construction gets underway.
This includes the design and features of the port and even the name of the destination.
“We decided that just the groundbreaking was a big enough moment for today! So I’m going to wait, and we’re going to have another moment where we reveal not only the name, but a bit more about what people can expect from this project when she opens up at the end of 2024,” Duffy shared before the start of the ceremony.
So while this groundbreaking is a first step, Carnival fans will no doubt be waiting eagerly for what they can expect to visit just about two years from now.