Disney Cruise Lines has expressed interest in developing a second private island destination in The Bahamas alongside its Castaway Cay property.
“The cruise line is preparing to grow its fleet from four to seven ships confirming the company’s interest in still finding a second home for its ships in The Bahamas,” according to Disney Signature Experience Vice President (VP) of Communications Kim Prunty in a recent statement.
While an exact location for the proposed venture has not been confirmed, the report, published in the Orlando Sentinel, speculated that land on a peninsula called Lighthouse Point on the island of Eleuthera, is the company’s desired spot.
DisneyCruiseLineBlog.com, a fan site not affiliated with the cruise line, pointed out that “rumors about Disney seeking a second destination in The Bahamas has been around for some time, and this speculative news isn’t a surprise.”
Scott Sanders, owner of the blog site wrote, “A growing fleet could see more traffic between Florida and The Bahamas; a second destination would benefit the line.”
“I did not believe Disney would just give up on a second location with new ships on the horizon,” he said.
Sanders also pointed out that pursuing the 700-acre peninsular destination instead of a private island, has its benefits including being able to employ local residents without having to ferry them, and any construction project could use local crews and equipment with road access to the rest of the island, as well as the fact that Eleuthera has three airports.
“Add ships five, six and seven to the mix, and you’d have a scheduling problem. I do not anticipate all seven ships simultaneously deployed to the same region, but even with five ships in the area, that could take a toll on Castaway Cay,” he said.
Some of the needed relief to support the existing destination includes construction and refurbishment that is usually not in action when a visiting ship is in port.
“Castaway needs non-ship days to allow the island crew to maintain the island to Disney’s standards, which guests have come to expect after nearly 20 years,” he said.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Castaway Cay is 1,000 acres, but less than 100 of it is developed. The Disney cruise line leased the island from the Bahamas in 1997 and it was the first private Bahamas destination with a dock to allow for mass disembarkment.
Disney’s fleet will introduce its first new ship in 2021 with two more coming in 2022 and 2023.
The new ships are set to be 140,000 gross tons, slightly larger than the 130,000 gross tons of ‘Dream and Fantasy’ cruise ships. The new ships however, will have the same number of staterooms, which is 1,250.
Lighthouse Point is an environmentallly sensitive area that should be preserved and not developed.