The Caribbean and cruise ship passengers alike are expected to benefit from at least four new cruise ports that are in the works to open in the region in the next few years. Cruise Fever reports that Harvest Caye in Belize will be the first up and running, with a scheduled opening date of February 16, when Norwegian Jade visits the port to take in the country’s eclectic mix of rainforests, jungle, and coral reefs.
Norwegian Cruise Line purchased 75 acres on two adjoining islands in southern Belize in 2013 for development into their luxury cruise port. The cruise line is spending upwards of US$50 million on the project that will include a marina, a beach, a lagoon for water sports, a floating pier, and an island village.
Moving on to the Bahamas, MSC Cruises announced last month that they will be building the largest island development by any cruise line. This US$200 million investment will create a private island in the Bahamas for their ships to visit. Ocean Cay, the 85-acre island, will be converted to the only marine reserve island experience for cruisers.
The island will have a dock so there will be no need for tendering. There will be six different beaches, a tranquil inland lagoon, a zip wire adventure crossing the island, an exclusive spa and wellness sanctuary for MSC Yacht guests, and a pavilion for weddings and celebrations. Ocean Cay will open to guests in December next year.
Cruising on to Tortuga, the island that was once one of the most feared pirate strongholds on the Spanish Main will soon be a sought-after destination for cruise ships.
The Carnival Corporation is planning a US$70 million project on the island off of the northern coast of Haiti and expects it to be a popular choice among cruisers.
By no means the first time that Carnival Corp. has invested millions in a cruise port, the development will follow similar Carnival cruise facilities in the ports of Grand Turk, Amber Cove, Mahogany Bay, and Half Moon Cay, Bahamas.
Carnival has yet to announce a date for the completion of this project.
Returning to the Bahamas, Carnival Cruise Line has sent a proposal to the government to build a private port on Grand Bahama.
Carnival Cruise Line currently does not have its own private island in the Bahamas, although many of their ships stop at Holland America Line’s Half Moon Cay (owned by parent Carnival Corporation).
Locals in Grand Bahama are reportedly concerned that Carnival will replace port stops in Freeport with the new private port if the proposal passes. Freeport remains one of the least popular cruise ports among cruise passengers largely due to the fact that the port is located in an industrial area with very little offered at the port itself.
Meanwhile, within 2-3 years, officials in Honduras expect the new port of Isla del Tigre to open on the Pacific side of the country. The Honduras Tourist Board has stated that one of the two most important goals of the minister of tourism is to develop the cruise sector.