Royal Caribbean to Expand Freeport Cruise Port

29 March 2019 11:06am
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Freeport in the Bahamas

A partnership involving Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has purchased the largest resort on Grand Bahama Island and will redevelop and expand the cruise facilities in Freeport.

At a ceremony, the government's Lucayan Renewal Holdings signed a letter of intent with Royal Caribbean and Mexico's ITM Group for the sale of the Grand Lucayan Resort.

The joint venture will pursue redevelopment of the Grand Lucayan resort into "a world-class destination, featuring water-based family entertainment, with dining, gaming and entertainment options, and five-star hotel accommodations," the Office of the Prime Minister, Grand Bahama said in a statement.

The proposal would also involve construction of new berths at the cruise port, potentially doubling its capacity. In its statement, Grand Bahama said the project would lead to an additional 2 million passengers annually coming to Grand Bahama.

Royal Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley said the redevelopment of the Grand Lucayan Resort has tremendous potential to significantly increase tourism to Grand Bahama.

Royal Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley said the redevelopment of the Grand Lucayan Resort has tremendous potential to significantly increase tourism to Grand Bahama.

In the statement, Royal Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley said the redevelopment of the Grand Lucayan Resort has tremendous potential to significantly increase tourism to Grand Bahama.

"Royal Caribbean is committed to working closely with local partners to create a transformational experience for visitors. We thank our partners at ITM and the government of the Bahamas for their support and collaboration as we work towards this exciting opportunity," Bayley said.

Phase one of the proposed development represents a projected $195 million investment over a 24-month period. Approximately 2,000 jobs are expected to be created in the first phase of the project.

The Royal Caribbean /ITM plan was picked from among 62 initial bids and 11 finalists. ITM Group's port projects include Costa Maya in Mexico, and Roatan in Honduras. Carnival Corp. has an agreement to develop a separate cruise destination on Grand Bahama.

The government said the purchase price for the Grand Lucayan was $65 million, the same sum it spent to acquire the resort last year through Lucayan Renewal Holdings. The property was badly damaged in Hurricane Matthew in 2016, leaving two-thirds of the resort closed.

Source: Travel Weekly

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