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An Alluring$10 million

The Bahamas could benefit to the tune of$10 million annually when Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas sails into Nassau’s port this month–carrying roughly 6,000 passengers and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cruise passenger spend.

Together with its sister ship-Oasis of the Seas-cruise officials estimate more than$4.5 million in head tax and more than$20 million would have been spent at local businesses by mid-2011.

“I would say it has been worth[expanding the harbor], which cost about$42 million,”said Tourism’s Director of Cruise Development Carla Stuart.”There are few ports that can really take the Genesis class[of cruise ships].

“So it’s been a plus for us, because otherwise we would have had to turn it away.”

Instead, the new”biggest ship in the world”will dock in the capital on December 13, kicking off its bi-monthly cruises to The Bahamas, among other destinations.

The ship-which can house up to 6,318 guests-is already booked up for the upcoming months, said Allure’s Cruise Director Ken Rush. He asserts the cruise ship’s amenities has been a driver in ensuring the vessel sails at full capacity.

“Our sales are pretty full already,”he toldGuardian Businessin a recent interview.”We do shows onboard… and some people have come just for the shows.

“Already the’Chicago'(the musical)show has around 1000 people pre-booked because people are excited about it… but the ports of call have a major play in this. We go to ports like Nassau and if we make them happy on shore, they will keep coming back.”

It’s a symbiotic relationship that has kept the country amongst the top ten Caribbean destinations for Royal Caribbean, said Rush, with”the port activities becoming the ship’s activities.”It’s a win-win situation for both the cruise line and the country.

As he points out, there are thousands of people-passengers and crew-in town for the period, all looking for things to do in The Bahamas.

“That’s 8400 people in town,”he said.”That can improve a country’s economy greatly.”

Stuart estimates that anywhere from 92 to 96 percent of passengers are getting off of the Oasis when in port, with the government gaining on average$87,000 each time the ship docks. That’s based around a 5,800 passenger estimate.

For the Allure, that adds up to around$2.2 million in revenue in head tax on an annual basis.

Allure of the Seas joins its sister ship Oasis of the Seas as the world’s largest and most revolutionary cruise ship, said Royal Caribbean, boasting seven exclusive and unique neighborhood concepts that provide guests”with the opportunity to seek out a variety of relevant experiences based on their personal styles, preferences or moods.”

Allure of the Seas will alternate a western Caribbean itinerary and an eastern Caribbean seven-night itinerary from her home port of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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