Carnival Cruises will build a new cruise port in the Bahamas that Carnival Brand Ambassador John Heald has said will be like Half Moon Cay, but even better.
During one of the question-and-answer sessions being hosted by Heald aboard his latest FFS Cruise, he said that the new development would be “Half Moon Cay-plus.”
The new cruise port, exclusively for the use of Carnival Cruises, will be built 20 miles east of Freeport and will include docking infrastructure so that passengers don’t have to tender ashore.
“It’s basically Half Moon Cay-plus. It is going to be stunning,” he said.
Half Moon Cay is a hugely popular private cruise destination for Carnival passengers, but has always been hampered by the fact that guests need to tender ashore, making getting on and off the ship more difficult.
However, while discussing the popularity of Half Moon Cay with the audience, Heald said that although the port would have cruise docks, it would still be Half Moon Cay-like in its seclusion and natural feel.
“Once you get off the tender and just walk a little bit to the right [at Half Moon Cay], it really is a slice of paradise,” he said. “And for a lot of people, it’s a very special place. And that’s what we’re basing our new private island on.”
Carnival Cruises has not officially announced any of the onshore features of the new port, but preliminary plans show the new destination, dubbed Grand Port, will include multiple dining options, entertainment and retail establishments, and a straw market.
Other reports indicate a variety of shore excursions, including kayaking and snorkelling, as well as watercraft, ATV and Segway tours.
The exact location of the new port complex has not been revealed, but based on the preliminary design and the google maps location, it would appear to be an as-yet-unnamed development in the West End of Grand Bahama.
This would put the new port within just ten to twelve hours sailing distance of Port Canaveral, where Carnival’s new mega-ship Mardi Gras is due to homeport year-round from 2020 onwards.
The new port will give Carnival Cruises an alternative destination in the Caribbean, within spitting distance of the North American cruise market, amid the declining popularity of Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas.
Private cruise destinations are incredibly popular with cruisers, as they provide a safe and secure enclave in which a variety of shoreside activities and features can be enjoyed, often with the convenience of cashless cruise card payment.
There are a spate of new Caribbean cruise destinations being developed and existing ones are getting upgrades.
Royal Caribbean is currently building CocoCay, while Norwegian is also giving Great Stirrup Cay a makeover.