The Nassau cruise port in the Bahamas will undergo a $250 million redevelopment and expansion. Plans for growth include increasing the number cruise ship berths from six to eight, plus the construction of a new terminal building, as well as a new event and entertainment center.
The redevelopment plan will be implemented by a consortium led by Global Ports Holding (GPH), the world’s largest independent cruise port operator. The Bahamian government recently awarded the consortium tender of the Nassau cruise port for a concession of 25 years.
Planned: More Attractions Surrounding Port Area
According to Tribune242 (a Bahamian news website), the company’s chairman Mehmet Kutman stated “This project marks the beginning of a new Bahamian success story. We have a shared mission – to turn the port and downtown Nassau into a popular, world-class waterfront destination for visitors and Bahamians to enjoy.”
GPH released a nearly 10-minute long video depicting the planned transformation of the cruise port and surrounding area into a “state-of-the-art port and waterfront destination” integrating the port into downtown Nassau. The plan includes building new restaurants and bars, plus the addition of an open-air amphitheater. The redevelopment area will also feature a Junkanoo museum designed to “showcase the history and culture of The Bahamas with its own multimedia show.”
Among other upgrades, a new tram service will make it easier for passengers to get in and out of the port. New lighting in the downtown area will enable business there to maintain later hours.
The Nassau cruise port currently welcomes about 3.5 million cruise visitors annually, making it among the busiest stops. The redevelopment plan could significantly increase that number. Not only will the expanded port gain the ability to host more cruise ships, it is hoped cruise ships will remain docked in Nassau for longer visits.
Cruise Lines’ Offer Rejected
Also in the bidding for redevelop the port was Cruise Ports International Ltd., which represents Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian, and Disney Cruise Line. That offer was rejected, however. Bahamian Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar told local media the cruise lines’ offer might have represented a conflict of interest given that the cruise lines would operate the port while also being its biggest customers.
While Nassau is among the busiest ports in the world for cruising, it’s often mentioned as one of the least favorite ports by passengers. In fact, many passengers are said to simply stay on the ship. Bahamian authorities have long wanted more passengers to spend more money while the ship is in port.
The initial plans announced sound like it could lead to exactly that for the Nassau cruise port. It also sounds as if cruise travelers will benefit from GPH’s management of Nassau port, as they will have more to explore and enjoy when their ships dock.
Nassau is GPH’s third new port in the Caribbean over the past 12 months. The Turkish-based company also won contracts to expand ports in Havana and Antigua, so cruisers who frequently sail to the Caribbean will soon have an opportunity to explore GPH’s ports in multiple locations.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the redevelopment of the Nassau port. Are you looking forward to visiting the expanded port with its new attractions? Have you visited either of GPH’s other Caribbean ports recently? Let us know in the comments below.