Nassau primed to capitalize on strong cruise demand, say NCP execs

Nassau primed to capitalize on strong cruise demand, say NCP execs
Michael Maura Jr

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — There is strong demand for Nassau as a cruise destination, Nassau Cruise Port (NCP) executives said yesterday, with construction on the port redevelopment said to be proceeding at “full speed”.

Mike Maura, the cruise terminal operator’s chief executive, said during a press conference yesterday that despite the significant fallout the cruise industry has experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry will see a gradual revival.

“There is going to be a phased return to normalcy,” said Maura, noting that given the country’s geographic position to the United States, it is well-positioned to benefit from the industry’s resurgence.

He added, “There is so much demand for Nassau that those savvy investors are going to be looking at that and realize that of all the destinations, Nassau is very well-positioned.”

According to Maura, last week NCP was approached by Virgin Voyages regarding calls on Nassau.

Speaking on the proposed public offering for the cruise port, Maura noted that it will likely be launched sometime in the second quarter of 2021.

Mehmet Kutman, chairman of Global Ports, the world’s largest independent cruise port operator which was selected as the successful bidder for the multimillion-dollar redevelopment and management of the Port of Nassau, echoed Maura’s sentiments.

“I think Nassau is very well-positioned and we need to move fast,” said Kutman, noting that there is a strong belief that the incoming Biden administration will move quickly to lift U.S. travel restrictions on Cuba.

Lionel Turnquest, director of Projects & Facilities at Nassau Cruise Port Ltd., noted that construction on the Nassau Cruise port is proceeding at full speed. He said that during lockdowns, demolition started at the site beginning with the old Customs warehouse, with the demolition of Festival Place now 90 percent complete.

“We’re going to blow the cruise industry out of the water with our product,” said Turnquest.