Disney Cruise Line has signed an agreement with the government of the Bahamas for the development of a second private cruise destination in the country.
The agreement provides Disney Cruise Line with permission from Bahamas’ Prime Minister Hubert Minnis to develop a cruise port and entertainment facility at Lighthouse Point in Bannerman Town, on the island of South Eleuthera.
The land was purchased from a private seller and will be developed to have an authentic feel, employing Bahamian vendors, entertainers and excursion operators in addition to local art and design elements, according to the prime minister’s March 9 statement.
“We are pleased to have finalized an agreement with the Government of The Bahamas that will enable us to create new and sustainable economic opportunities for the people of Eleuthera while celebrating the natural beauty and culture of this special place with our guests,” said Jeff Vahle, President of Disney Cruise Line.
Vahle said that the cruise line was currently conducting a comprehensive environmental impact assessment and putting together a management plan ahead of construction commencing.
“We expect to complete this work over the next few months in close consultation with Government,” he said.
The new cruise destination will give Disney Cruise Line the itinerary diversity it requires in the Caribbean, as it expands its fleet from four ships currently to seven by 2023. The line already operates Castaway Cay as its private cruise destination in the Bahamas.
Like MSC’s new Caribbean island destination, this new port will have an environmental aspect to it as well. Of the vast track of land purchased by Disney, 190 acres of it will be donated to the Government of The Bahamas for a national park and conservation effort.
This national park will include the southernmost point of the property.
Engaging the local community will also be a priority, according to Disney Cruise Line. The new port will directly employ at least 120 Bahamians during construction, and offer as many as 150 permanent, sustainable jobs with health benefits once construction is completed.
“The Government of The Bahamas is satisfied that it made the best decision in the interest of the Bahamian people, a sustainable future for the people of Central and South Eleuthera and the economic development of the country,” said Prime Minister Minnis.
As part of the agreement, Disney Cruise Line will also increase the number of calls in Nassau and/or Freeport by 30 to 40 percent, which is essentially a commitment by the cruise line to include those ports on the itineraries of its new ships as they come into service.