“THIS IS A BIG DEAL”: Nassau Cruise Port chief touts economic benefit of Royal Caribbean’s return

“THIS IS A BIG DEAL”: Nassau Cruise Port chief touts economic benefit of Royal Caribbean’s return
Mike Maura Jr, CEO of Nassau Cruise Port.

“The order book for new cruise lines is very strong despite the pandemic”

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Nassau Cruise Port’s top executive said yesterday that Royal Caribbean’s return to The Bahamas this June is a “big deal” from an economic standpoint, noting that “every consideration” is being given to the passenger experience as the cruise port looks to facilitate homeporting while undergoing its redevelopment.

Royal Caribbean announced last Friday that it will set sail starting June 12 with cruise packages for The Bahamas and Mexico, marking the cruise line’s return to the Caribbean since the COVID-19 pandemic brought the cruise industry to a standstill last year.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s Adventure of the Seas. (PHOTO: RCL)

Royal Caribbean announced a summer lineup of seven-night cruises aboard Adventure of the Seas, setting sail from its new homeport of Nassau,

Mike Maura, the Nassau Cruise Port’s chief executive, told Eyewitness News: “From an economic standpoint, I believe this to be a big deal.

“This is certainly great for our cruise tourism segment and comes on the heels of the recent announcement by Crystal Cruises regarding launching its cruise operations. While Crystal Cruise was the first to make the announcement, Royal Caribbean will actually launch its cruise first.”

Miami-based luxury cruise line Crystal Cruises announced earlier this month that it will offer seven-night all-Bahamas cruises starting this July, a move Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said could serve as a “tipping point” for the country’s stalled tourism industry.

While cruise lines look to homeport in Nassau, Maura noted that the Nassau Cruise Port is working to ensure a positive passenger experience amid its ongoing redevelopment.

“We are going to be working very hard to provide them with a very positive passenger experience and positive economic experience to the cruise lines so that they continue to use Nassau as a homeport,” said Maura.

“I think there are several things working in our favor. The order book for new cruise lines is very strong despite the pandemic.

“Cruise operators need to find other ports that have sufficient draft and berth space. With the expansion that we are undertaking, we will be able to accommodate many of the world’s biggest ships at any one time, along with three voyager-class vessels.

“Our passenger count is going to go from 20,000 to 30,000, based on the number of ships we have in port.”

Maura added: “We are looking at specific berths that will allow us to move passengers safely and reasonably quickly from the ship to the terminal and terminal to ship.

“Every consideration is being given to the passenger experience. Information is being provided ahead of time so that passengers know what to expect.

“Even though we are under construction, we are going to use this opportunity to move passengers safely and also tell them the story of what is to come.”