Carnival Corporation & plc and its subsidiary Holland America Line signed a heads of agreement with the government yesterday for $80 million worth of renovations to their private island development, Half Moon Cay, to start mid-2020. Carnival also signed the agreement for its $100 million Grand Bahama project yesterday.
Carnival’s Senior Vice President of Global Port and Destination Development Giora Israel, who was on Grand Bahama yesterday for the signing ceremony with government officials, said his company’s goal is to maintain The Bahamas’ reputation as one of its “most popular and welcoming destinations”.
One of the most important features of the Half Moon Cay project – located on the island of Little San Salvador – will be the construction of a pier that will allow Carnival and Holland America Line to end their tendering process and begin accepting some of the companies’ larger vessels, according to a press release from Carnival.
“The two developments will allow Grand Bahama and Little San Salvador to welcome guests from the cruise industry’s larger ships, such as Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras, which will debut in August 2020 as North America’s first cruise ship powered by liquefied natural gas,” the release states.
“The development on Little San Salvador will be an estimated $80 million investment over time.”
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, who spoke at yesterday’s agreement signing, said approvals have been granted to construct a pier on the island’s north side.
Minnis said in the Carnival release: “We are very pleased to announce that Carnival Corporation’s projects in The Bahamas are full speed ahead. These developments and the significant investment in world-class tourism and hospitality operations are such a boon for our initiatives for national prosperity and economic stability.”
According to the release, the Half Moon Cay project will move forward once “environmental and other permitting processes are completed”, with construction start slated for the middle of next year.
The release explained that the company’s construction parameters will be “designed to meet or exceed guidelines for being able to mostly withstand the impact of a Category 5 hurricane”.
According to the release, Holland America Line has more than 40 scheduled cruises to The Bahamas planned for the rest of the year, with two of the cruise line’s newest ships – Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam – scheduled to visit Half Moon Cay.
“The two projects will enhance the overall deployment choices and guest experiences in The Bahamas, which include Freeport, Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays,” the release stated.
“The winner of Porthole Cruise Magazine’s Best Private Island award for the last 18 consecutive years, Half Moon Cay on the island of Little San Salvador is well known as one of the region’s most beloved ports, visited by guests sailing with Holland America Line and Carnival Cruise Line.”
According to Minnis, the other developments slated for Half Moon Cay are aquatic facilities, interior pools, water park activities, beach restoration and maintenance, retaining walls, sea defenses and barriers, artificial reefs and underwater features.
He added that there will be the construction of a lighthouse for recreational purposes, as well as a zip line and rock climbing walls.
Carnival’s release stated that its current footprint on Half Moon Cay is less than three percent of the western side of the 2,400-acre island.
“The new addition will be on the northern part of the island and include a pier able to accommodate larger ships,” the release pointed out. “The beautiful beaches of Half Moon Cay will continue to be a main attraction.”
Carnival has also committed to “protecting the local environment, using renewable energy, significantly reducing or eliminating single-use plastics and other items and similar environmentally friendly initiatives, as well as working with local business interests to create jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities for Bahamian residents”.