NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL) President and CEO Michael Bayley indicated yesterday that its planned $200 million expansion of Coco Cay is well on track for its first phase opening in May with hires for the island currently in training programs.
“We have got an awful lot of Bahamian construction groups working there at the moment,” he said in an interview with Eyewitness News.
“Very excited about how that’s developing.
“[The] official opening day is May 4 when ‘Navigator of the Seas’ is the first Royal Caribbean ship to call into Perfect Day [at Coco Cay].
“And of course, Navigator just came out of the Grand Bahama shipyard, so we had Navigator in with Nordic Empress and we have just finished a $150 million upgrade to Navigator in Grand Bahama.
“This ship is looking amazing.”
Six recruitment fairs have been held over the last year for the first phase of Coco Cay’s redevelopment.
As a result, an additional 250 Bahamians have been hired.
The company also completed the hiring of 200 Bahamians for entry-level positions on its cruise ships in December.
As it relates to the employment target, Bayley said Royal Caribbean is “well on our way to achieving our goals”.
He said those employees are currently enrolled in training programs.
RCCL hired island’s venue manager from the National Training Agency.
The island manager is also a Bahamian, according to officials.
The company has also committed to assisting the Berry Islands in building a community centre.
Bayley has called the addition of private islands in The Bahamas as a win-win scenario, given the companies’ three and four-day trip that call into Nassau and the private cays.
The CEO has projected that over the next couple of years, RCCL could bring an additional 500,000 tourists to The Bahamas as it increases frequency to The Bahamas by 2020.
Perfect Day at Coco Cay, among other things, will feature a water park, a restaurant and bar, a 1,600-foot zip line, and a 20-foot wide waterfall.
As part of its “Royal Amplified” program, RCCL is engaged in investing nearly $1 billion to upgrade and modernizing its existing ships.
“That is a program that is heavily underway,” he said.
“Nearly all of that work is being done in the Grand Bahama shipyard over the next three years, so it is a significant investment.”