“We expect a strong increase in the number of ships that will visit us heading into August and throughout the rest of the year”
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Nassau Cruise Port (NCP) has commenced dredging of several key areas of Nassau Harbour to accommodate Quantum-class vessels, which it says will significantly boost the economic impact of the port redevelopment project.
The works are being conducted in four areas, including dredging of a new Oasis-class berth on the northeastern cruise pier extension; the creation of a new mega yacht berth, also on the northeastern pier; maintenance dredging to accommodate Quantum-class vessels on the passenger pier; and dredging at the rehabilitated Prince George Wharf pier, which is also being extended, to move from accommodating Dream-class vessels to providing space for the much larger Oasis-class ships.
According to a release by the NCP, the sand being collected through the dredging process is being used to fill in the area of the harbor that sits between Prince George Wharf and Navy Lion Road.
The sand will be compacted and then rolled into a usable state, the NCP said, and the reclaimed area will become the “heart” of the port — the authentically Bahamian port marketplace and the port plaza, which will be home to the port vendors, Bahamian retail stores and related activities.
NCP CEO Mike Maura said: “This dredging work is an integral part of making the redevelopment of Nassau Cruise Port an economic success for all stakeholders. The reclaimed area will help us launch Bahamian creativity, with the new port serving as the hub of the vendors at the port marketplace.
“The success of these vendors and the surrounding community is hugely important for us. To this end, we will also construct a dock within the western marina adjacent to this reclaimed space, where the water taxis and excursions will both pick up and return guests enjoying tours.
“This will place the returning guests directly in front of local stores, inviting them to shop and experience more of the city before they return to the ship. This way, they can shop downtown, then shop within the port marketplace on their way back.
“Our aim is to give the downtown community as much opportunity to connect with the passengers as possible.”
According to Maura, the contractor, ENKA, has provided an access channel at the northern section of the dredge area to create a passing route for public vessels during the estimated 12 days of dredging activity. An environmental monitor and the contractor’s teams are also continuously monitoring turbidity of the water to ensure it remains “well within required limits”.
Construction of the new pier is more than 50 percent complete. It will be able to accommodate six ships at these berths by December 2021. Additional structures will be added to the piers in early 2022.
Maura added: “Our homeporting operation continues to move along very smoothly, and the passenger survey responses provided by the cruise lines strongly reflect that despite being moved through an active construction site, passengers are extremely happy with the embarkation and disembarkation experience here.
“We expect a strong increase in the number of ships that will visit us heading into August and throughout the rest of the year, which will be supported by various brands including the return of Carnival Cruise Line ships and welcoming MSC Cruise Line vessels.
“We anticipate more than 100,000 passengers in August and by December. That number will increase to approximately 250,000 passengers, so the business is building upon itself and we’re extremely grateful for that.”