Business

Cruise passenger count to hit 250,000 by year-end 

Port’s pier extension to the east 50 percent complete

Nassau Cruise Port Limited’s (NCP) berths will be fully booked when its pier extension is completed by December, with cruise port executives expecting passenger counts to be in the area of 250,000, the company’s Chief Executive Officer Mike Maura told Guardian Business yesterday.

The redevelopment of Nassau’s cruise port has now reached a stage where land is being created at the wharf’s edge to bring to life the world-class port, that will feature an amphitheater, extensive green space, shops, restaurants, a marina and a Junkanoo museum.

Thousands of cubic yards of sand are currently being piped into the area of Prince George Wharf where ferries and excursion operators once picked up passengers. The sand is being repurposed from the dredging operations that are being undertaken to allow the port to accommodate the world’s largest cruise ships.

The port is making quick progress on the pier extension to the east, that will allow the port to house three Oasis-class ships at one time. According to Maura, that pier extension is 50 percent complete.

With the onset of home porting by two cruise lines and the restart of cruising from Florida cruise ports, NCP is picking up the pace of cruise ship handling month over month, after the COVID-19 pandemic stopped cruise ship operations for more than 14 months.

“Our communication with our team is that in August they are going to see approximately 120,000 passengers and then they’re going to see that climb to 160,000 passengers in September. Then they’re going to see it climb to 180,000 or 190,000 in October and it’s climbing right up to about 250,000 by the time we get to December,” Maura said.

“It’s all moving in the right direction.”

He explained that the Department of Environmental Planning and Protection approved NCP’s dredging plan, which will also increase the water depth in the area near the new pier in order to allow mega yachts to make their way safely to Bay Street Marina, as well as allow mega yachts to berth at the cruise port itself.

When the cruise port’s three Oasis-class berths are in operation, they will each be able to accommodate almost 9,000 passengers and crew.

“What this all does is it takes our passenger capacity in a given day up to over 33,000 passengers from the historical 20,000. So what this dredging is going to do from a berth and marine perspective is it will add 50 percent more passengers to the daily limit,” Maura stated.

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Chester Robards

Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian. Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism

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