Construction on new cruise port to start by summer
MIAMI, FLORIDA – Carnival Corporation will double its investment in the development of a cruise port in Grand Bahama to $200 million, Carnival Cruise Line’s Chief Communication Officer Chris Chiames said yesterday.
“Like its working name Grand Port, we have grand plans,” Chiames told reporters following a press briefing at the company’s Florida-based headquarters.
“So as we think about more things we want to do to be able to build in a way that will be able to withstand future storms or anything else we want to do to make this the best private destination in the region, the price tag goes up.
He said: “It’s a long term investment that we are prepared to make. We think we benefit but we also think that people in The Bahamas also benefit from our building the very best development that’s possible.”
Weeks after Hurricane Dorian decimated parts of Grand Bahama and Abaco, the government signed two heads of agreements with the company for a new cruise port and a pier expansion of Half Moon Cay, Eleuthera.
Chiames noted in the aftermath of that deadly storm, Carnival Cruise Line remains committed to its vision for Grand Bahama.
“We are continuing to work with the government on permitting issues but our plan is to take our already high standards with regard to elevations and construction and expand upon them, so take the elevation levels up higher, away from water, make sure that they are Category 5 withstanding kind so structures,” he said.
“So we are working very closely on both the construction standards, the architectural standards and also the layout of the entire project so it is sustainable against a future storm.”
The cruise port will be developed on 329 acres of land in Sharp Rock, Freeport.
The port will include aquatic facilities including interior pools, lagoons and water-waves, food and beverage pavilions, restaurants and nightclubs, a shopping plaza, zip lines, rock climbing walls, a miniature golf course, park areas, open air concert facilities, a transportation hub and more.
Additionally, Chiames confirmed that a four-lane road will constructed from the project to the University of The Bahamas.
“We are going to be building a state of the art highway road project to be the main access to Grand Bahama,” he continued.
“We think that will also benefit the island and other parts of the island’s environment and the economy by bringing some improved road transportation to the region.
“It will not be a private road. It will be accessible to all.
“It will be very important for the workers there to be able to access the development and also for our guest who are going to explore other parts of the island and be able to easily get around.”
An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the project is still “a work in progress”.
“All of the permitting and licensing issues are still being worked through,” Chiames said.
“We hope to get all those approvals late spring, early summer, and be able to ground break and start construction this summer.”
However, he added that once construction begins, the company anticipates providing up to 1,000 construction jobs during the project build out.
“Then we are going to be looking at local vendors and local opportunities for residents in Grand Bahama to work at the facility,” Chiames said.
“There will be food and beverage offerings. There will be recreational offerings. There will be new tour offerings.
“So we think there will be both some strong employment opportunities in the short term for the construction, but then permanent jobs in the long term with regard to servicing and supporting and expanding the facility.”