Four new Caribbean cruise ports are in development to open over the next few years, plus one on the Pacific Coast, reports Cruise Fever website. In many cases, these ports present potential travel retail opportunities.
NCL’s Harvest Caye in Belize
First on the agenda is Harvest Caye in Belize, scheduled to open on February 16 by Norwegian Cruise Lines. NCL purchased 75 acres on two adjoining islands in southern Belize in 2013 for development into the luxury cruise port.
The cruise line has reportedly spent some US$50 million on the project that has an “eco-friendly” focus, according to the original release from the company. It will include a floating pier, island village with raised-platform structures, a marina, a lagoon for water sports and a beach.
Harvest Caye activities listed on the NCL website include exploring Lagoon Wildlife & Mangrove Estuaries, Snorkeling, rain forest river tubing and a visit to a Mayan temple ruin.
MSC’s Ocean Cay in the Bahamas
Last Dec. 17, MSC Cruises announced plans to invest $200 million to develop its own private Caribbean island in the Bahamas, signing a 100-year lease agreement for the 95-acre island, which will be called Ocean Cay MSC Reserve. The line plans to break ground on the development in March 2016 and to open the island to guests in December 2017.
Over the next two years, MSC Cruises will work hand-in-hand with the Bahamian Government and ecologists to develop the cay, a onetime sand extraction station, turning it into a “thriving marine reserve that will harmoniously coexist with the local ecosystem,” says the company. The project will transform the local economy base from resource exploitation to resource conservation, it adds.
The 95-acre site includes 11,400 feet of pristine beach front spread across six distinct beaches, and will be the biggest island development by any cruise company in the Caribbean. It will offer a seafront berth and pier so guests can disembark directly onto the island; a 2,000-seat amphitheater, inland lagoon, zip line, wedding pavilion, and family-oriented kids’ restaurants.
Carnival in Tortuga, Haiti, maybe Bahamas?
In August, 2014 Carnival Corp. signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Haiti to build a new $70 million cruise ship port on the island of Tortuga.
Ile de la Tortue, off Port-de-Paix on Haiti’s northwestern coast, will be Haiti’s second cruise port, and the seventh Carnival-owned port in the Caribbean. Haiti’s other cruise port is Royal Caribbean’s Labadee.
Carnival has not announced a date for completion of the project yet.
This past August, Carnival also presented the government of the Bahamas with a proposal to build a private port in eastern Grand Bahama. If implemented, Carnival cruise ships would replace its current ports calls at Freeport, also located on Grand Bahama.
Carnival Cruise Line currently does not have its own private island in the Bahamas, although many of their ships stop at Holland America Line’s Half Moon Cay, said Cruise Fever.
Honduras has also announced that it is looking to further develop its cruise sector and has allocated space in Amapala on Isla del Tigre on the Pacific side of the country for cruise port development over the next few years. Carnival currently operates a cruise port at Roatan.
Honduras also opened a cruise port in Trujillo in February 2014, on the Caribbean side of the country.