The port of Nassau, the capital city of the Bahamas, has invested €260 million in a mega maritime terminal station with a museum, concert hall and an impressive shopping centre.
Port authorities plan to turn the archipelago into a major cruise hub, which is expected to be operational this autumn.
The halt of cruise ships – which are not operational at the moment because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the works have been able to continue without interruption – this is actually helping Nassau speed up its plans to become the new hub of leisure travel in the Caribbean.
The project consists of expanding the facilities of the Prince George Wharf port, and turning the new terminal into a tourist destination itself.
Among the new infrastructures, the new port will introduce the Junkanoo Museum, displaying objects from the native culture of the Bahamas and various historical elements, such as a six-metre-high sculpture that can be seen in the main atrium, which rises up to nine metres.
The new Nassau station will have a museum with interactive technologies, so cruise passengers can enjoy a different approach to local culture.
Thanks to the implementation of various interactive technologies, visitors will be able to feel the sensation of sailing in the Exuma regatta or diving in the reefs and learning about its beautiful yet fragile ecosystem.
There will also be spaces for concerts and other events that will boost and promote Bahamian culture.
Businesses will be opened in one section of the new terminal for crafts and goods made by small companies in the Bahamas.
Luxury shoppers will find what they’re looking for on the renovated Bay Street, a shopping strip that will connect passengers with the rest of the city, where the food court will also receive an update.
Other innovations that passengers will find upon arrival are transfers from boats to the terminal on electric trains and digital signage of services and activities.
The infrastructure renovation will be done through the demolition of the current facilities and land reclamation from the sea.
The project includes the construction of a new 243-metre-long pier that will allow two Royal Caribbean Oasis Class cruises (the largest in the world) to dock simultaneously. Pier 16, located on the coast in front of the current terminal, will extend its surface to be able to welcome the third cruise of this type, if necessary.
The project is expected to be finished between September and October 2021, which is months earlier than was initially planned.
The Bahamas government acknowledged that the coronavirus crisis has had a large impact on its tourism industry. Of the 3.8 million passengers who arrived in 2019, this year the country only expects to receive 1.47m.
With the new cruise hub terminal, the goal is to reach an average of 5 million visitors in the next 15 years.
This summer, travellers can cruise in The Bahamas and Mexico with Royal Caribbean International. The global cruise line has announced a summer line-up of seven-night cruises on board Adventure of the Seas, setting sail this June from the company’s new homeport in Nassau.
Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, said: “We are excited to get back to delivering memorable vacations in the Caribbean, gradually and safely. The vaccines are clearly a game changer for all of us, and with the number of vaccinations and their impact growing rapidly, we believe starting with cruises for vaccinated adult guests and crew is the right choice.
“The opportunity to homeport in The Bahamas is a testament to the tremendous partners the government and the people of the island nation have been to us for more than 50 years. We are grateful for the confidence that they have in us and our commitment to a healthy and happy return to sailing.”