MIAMI, Florida — Carnival executives yesterday announced that the cruise line will invest an additional $100 million in its new cruise port on Grand Bahama.
When the company signed a heads of agreement with the government last September, Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) said the development was projected to cost roughly $100 million.
However, during a press briefing at Carnival’s headquarters in Miami, Florida, David Candib, vice president for development and operations, said that recent assessments indicate that that figure will be “closer to $200 million”.
When pressed about the cause of that increase, Giora Israel, senior vice president for global port and destination development, said, “We’re trying to understate the situation as we are moving through the development stages. We had a vision and we loved designing…the project from the beginning.”
He added, “Many projects are subject to financing. Our projects are not subject to the financing because it’s financed by us so we don’t have to wait for any bank. We just have to do it. As we are getting more and more excited, we’re adding another figure, we’re adding another thing and so the price is moving around.”
In February 2019, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced the development of the port on Grand Bahama.
Six months later, the prime minister announced that the deal had been completed.
Minnis suggested that the project would lead to the rebirth of the island, which has suffered economic stagnation following successive hits by hurricanes in recent years.
One month after the announcement, Grand Bahama was ravaged by Hurricane Dorian — the strongest storm on record to hit The Bahamas.
On September 25, in spite of the devastation of Dorian, the government and Carnival signed an agreement for the new port
Yesterday, CCL President Christine Duffy said Dorian’s devastation did not dissuade Carnival from moving forward with the project.
She said the company “wanted to be there (on Grand Bahama) no matter what” happened during the storm, noting that CCL remains “very committed”.
As it stands, according to Candib, between 400,000 and 500,000 people currently visit Grand Bahama annually.
Carnival anticipates that figure will grow to roughly one million following the completion of the port.
It will lead to 1,000 jobs during construction and between 500 and 1,000 jobs post-construction.
Construction is expected to start by summer of this year.
The port will feature a waterway for guests to use as transportation around the site.
Israel said Carnival intends to build a new road connecting the port with the University of The Bahamas’ northern campus.
Candib said port licenses will be completed by late-spring.
Carnival has already completed an environmental impact assessment for the Grand Bahama project.
Candib said the document has been submitted and is currently being reviewed by the BEST commission.