NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Nassau Cruise Port is projecting 635,000 cruise passengers in the fourth quarter of this year to cap the year with just 38 percent of last year’s cruise arrivals.
The port’s chief executive Mike Maura yesterday said the operator expects to close out the year with 1.47 million arrivals while addressing a cruise and maritime tours webinar.
Maura said: “Through mid-March we had already handled 835,000 cruise passengers. We didn’t anticipate any cruise passengers from April 1st until September 30th. We always believed that it would be the fourth quarter of 2020 when cruise ships return.”
Maura noted that the additional projected 635,000 cruise visitors in the fourth quarter would bring the 2020 cruise arrivals total to 1.47 million or 38 percent of 2019 arrivals total.
“In 2021 we are still considerably less than 2019 numbers at about 2.6 million. These are just forecasts, our best guess in terms of what we see happening,” he said.
Maura suggested that just as The Bahamas has introduced a phased reopening, the cruise industry may do the same.
“That’s just our perspective,” he said.
“In phase one we see a conservative return to the market where cruise lines reach out to excursions and tour operators asking about health and safety protocols. You have to bring confidence to the industry that you are doing everything reasonably required to protect yourself and your customer,” said Maura.
Maura noted that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) extended its no sale order on July 16 through September 30.
According to the CDC, its cumulative data from March 1 through July 10, 2020, shows 2,973 COVID-19 or COVID-like illness cases on cruise ships, in addition to 34 deaths.
“These cases were part of 99 outbreaks on 123 different cruise ships,” the CDC report read.
“During this time frame, 80 percent of ships were affected by COVID-19. As of July 3, nine of the 49 ships under the No Sail Order have ongoing or resolving outbreaks. According to U.S. Coast Guard data, as of July 10, 2020, there are 67 ships with 14,702 crew onboard.”
Yesterday, Maura said: “While that may be disappointing to many people, honestly I look at the glass half full. The CDC could have said it was for December 31st and they didn’t.
“They have just added another 15 days to the voluntary suspension the cruise industry had implemented. That says to me the CDC sees that the cruise industry is making necessary enhancements to its health and safety protocols and the cruise industry is moving in the right direction.”