“WE’RE HEARING GREAT NEWS”: Tourism stakeholders laud possible July restart for US cruises

“WE’RE HEARING GREAT NEWS”: Tourism stakeholders laud possible July restart for US cruises

D’Aguilar notes Downtown Nassau a “ghost town”; tourism industry “anxious” for cruises to return

Maura: Our bread and butter are transit passengers but homeport passengers the icing on the cake

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Nassau Cruise Port’s top executive hailed as “great news” reports that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) could allow cruise ships to resume passenger trips in July, noting that 2022 is projecting to be a great year for cruise passenger arrivals.

Mike Maura, the Nassau Cruise Port operator/developer’s chief executive, told Eyewitness News: “I think that what we’re hearing from the CDC is great news.

“We as a port being within 200 miles of South Florida, our bread and butter comes from transit passengers. Homeport passengers would be the icing on the cake. We are hoping that we can continue to homeport vessels and we will use this opportunity as a chance to demonstrate that Nassau can be a homeport for vessels.

Mike Maura.

“We also have to consider that the cruise industry over the next five years is going to be growing. There are going to be more ships sailing the seas than in 2019 and those ships have to have berths to accommodate their immense size.

“We’re in the maritime space and we need to be prepared to pivot as necessary.”

The CDC last week reportedly told cruise lines they could resume passenger trips in mid-July if they are fully compliant with the Conditional Sail Order (CSO). The CDC also reportedly told cruise lines they can proceed to passenger sailings without test cruises if they attest that 98 percent of crew members and 95 percent of passengers are fully vaccinated.

Maura noted: “In the conversations we have had with RCL (Royal Caribbean Cruise Line) and Crystal Cruises, the commitments they have made thus far have them homeporting at Nassau cruise port for up to six months.

“What we have been doing at Nassau Cruise Port is investing in temporary facilities to accommodate this homecoming effort. I would say that the vast majority of our investment temporary facilities would also be needed for transit passengers as well.

“While our efforts over the past two months have been centered around homeport traffic, when we have transit vessels, we would need these very same temporary facilities to accommodate them.”

Maura noted it will take some time for this nation to get back to pre-pandemic cruise arrival numbers.

“We expect that 2022 would be a great year for The Bahamas and the Nassau cruise port in terms of the number of cruise passengers arriving,” he said.


Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar told Eyewitness News: “The CDC has many dates it has set to resume cruising but they are very much distracted away from the cruise industry by rolling out the vaccine in the US.

“If they resume cruises, it will have an incredible economic impact because you only need to ride down Bay Street to see what a ghost town it is. We are anxiously awaiting for cruises to resume but will also take advantage of homeporting.

“We must ensure that our COVID cases are at reasonable levels. We have to do our part, social distance, wear masks and wash hands but also make an effort to get vaccinated to prepare for a rebound in tourism.

“If we don’t keep our numbers in check, it may impede our ability to bounce back in earnest.”