FULL SPEED AHEAD: Grand Lucayan deal still pushing forward, Royal Caribbean CEO assures

FULL SPEED AHEAD: Grand Lucayan deal still pushing forward, Royal Caribbean CEO assures
The Grand Lucayan resort on Grand Bahama.

D’Aguilar: “We’re at the cusp of getting this [deal] done”

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Royal Caribbean International’s president and chief executive yesterday assured that its purchase of the Grand Lucayan resort through its joint venture with the ITM Group is moving “full speed ahead”, with an announcement on the deal said to be coming soon.

Michael Bayley, while on a video conference with local reporters regarding the company’s recent announcement on commencing cruises from The Bahamas in June, acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the company’s plans on Grand Bahama.

The government purchased the Grand Lucayan resort for $65 million in August 2018.

In March 2019, the government signed a heads of agreement for the sale of the resort to Royal Caribbean International and Mexico-based ITM Group, which would redevelop the resort and construct a new cruise port.

The deal has yet to be finalized.

Yesterday, Bayley said: “The pandemic delayed our plans, literally. I think it delayed everyone’s plans in every country. The pandemic pressed pause on this project.

“Royal Caribbean has always been in the long game. We are very much focused on the future. Royal Caribbean believes that this project is essential for future growth of not only our company but our relationship with The Bahamas.

Michael Bayley.

“We are continuing with the project. It did get delayed, naturally, but our intention is to move ahead. I believe that an announcement will be coming shortly.”

He added: “We are very excited about the future of the Grand Lucayan and Freeport. The Bahamas is a massively popular destination. Royal Caribbean has a huge database and relationship with America and the American consumer.

“The project continues. We are very much committed to the project. We are very excited to make announcements in the not-too-distant future.

“The attorneys have been working on it literally all of this the past year. It’s full steam ahead.”

Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar added: “It has been a challenge to bring this to a conclusion just because events on the ground have changed so significantly.

“If I were to use a baseball analogy, we’re on the third base and on our way to the home plate.

“When you are in the hands of lawyers, I found it always takes a bit longer than you think. Using my business cap, I would say we’re at the cusp of getting this done.”