Bahamasair is negotiating with Royal Caribbean International (RCI) for bulk rate sales of seats to provide airlift to cruise passengers when it sets sail from The Bahamas in June.
RCI announced last month that it would begin sailing from its new home port of The Bahamas for the first time beginning June 12, offering stops in Grand Bahama, its private island, CoCo Cay, and Cozumel, Mexico.
The decision to make The Bahamas its home port comes as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains its no sail order from US ports through to the end of this year, which cruise lines have lamented is killing their industry.
Bahamasair Chairman Tommy Turnquest said it means that The Bahamas must ensure it has sufficient airlift to accommodate those passengers who would have to fly into the capital, where they would board the ships for their cruises.
“I can tell you that Bahamasair is working with Royal Caribbean on Saturday flights. We’re going to have two flights out of Miami, one flight out of Fort Lauderdale and one flight out of Orlando to coincide with when the ship will arrive at 7 o’clock on a Saturday morning and leave 9 o’clock that night,” Turnquest told Guardian Business.
“So, we have begun negotiations with them and we’re very pleased with how that’s going. We will provide them with some airlift. We think it’s an opportunity to get out of the doldrums and we are very optimistic about that.”
Crystal Cruises also announced its plan to begin sailing an exclusive seven-day, all-Bahamas itinerary beginning in July, with The Bahamas as its new home port.
Turnquest said Bahamasair is also hoping to capitalize off of that arrangement.
“We have had some initial discussions with Crystal Cruises. They offer a different clientele and so they didn’t want the same bulk rate purchase that we did with Royal Caribbean, but we are hopeful that we will get some of that traffic as well,” he said.
Crystal has revealed it experienced record breaking bookings when it opened sales for the all-Bahamas cruises, while RCI has revealed its bookings are off to a strong start.
Carnival Cruise Line announced earlier this week that it is also considering changing its home port so that it can begin sailing, however, the company did not indicate from where it would do so.