Cruise port CEO reveals high cruise ship bookings for 2022

Maura: We already have more bookings than we had in 2019

Nassau Cruise Port Limited (NCP) now has more cruise lines booked for 2022 than were booked in 2019, when visitor arrival numbers to The Bahamas broke all records, NCP’s Chief Executive Officer Mike Maura told Guardian Business yesterday, adding that he has even been approached by new cruise lines that are in development.

Maura, who spoke to this paper while on the floor of the Seatrade Cruise Global conference in Miami, said he has had meetings with all of the major cruise lines and those that are just starting up. According to him, cruise lines have not scratched the surface in regards to the potential of the cruise business for North America alone and continue to build new, bigger cruise vessels.

Noted Caribbean economist Marla Dukharan said recently that The Bahamas will not see the return of its cruise numbers to 2019 levels in the near term. However, Maura said while the industry is still in recovery mode, as it continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic while returning slowly to full operation, more passengers are beginning to return to their favorite cruise lines and more cruise lines are bringing more of their fleet back online. He pointed to NCP’s bookings next year as proof that vessels are returning, though many with occupancies halved. 

But JP Morgan’s “First Look at 3Q21 Business Update” for Carnival Corporation (CCL) reveals that cruise line occupancy levels are expected to shift toward pre-pandemic levels by spring of next year.

“Our takeaways here are that we can now confirm CCL is so far ramping occupancy in the US much faster than peer RCL (Royal Caribbean),” JP Morgan’s document states.

“It does appear that the company is capping load at some level below full and so, for now, we still expect true full load for CCL as well as peers sometime in spring 2022.”

Maura explained, “Today, I was asked by a number of cruise lines to provide them with the available days in 2022. We already have in 2022 more bookings than we had in 2019 and on top of that, I have been asked by cruise lines to indicate to them what other days are available because of the additional business that they would like to give Nassau.”

Maura added that all of the cruise lines have new ships debuting that carry many more passengers and crew than the earlier generation fleet.

Since June of this year, Maura said, NCP has had more than 130 calls to Nassau’s cruise port.

By December, NCP will have access to its newest berth and will have the ability to place Oasis-class vessels at berth number one, which is the closest berth to land.

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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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