The recent Seatrade Cruise Global Conference, held at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center, 5-8 March 2018, attracted more than 11,000 cruise and maritime industry professionals from around the world. The Bahamas delegation was headed by The Bahamas Minister of Tourism and Aviation (MOTA) Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar and the Hon. Frankie Campbell, Minister of Transportation and Local Government.
Ministers D’Aguilar and Campbell met with cruise executives of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Carnival and Disney Cruise Lines. On the agenda of the executive meetings held, were forums on the state of the global cruise industry as well as several geopolitical cruise sessions.
The Bahamas Maritime Authority along with the MOTA sponsored a cocktail reception for over 600 cruise industry executives, with a display of Bahamian culture and cuisine. The reception, hosted by Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) and Seatrade, featured live Bahamian music performed by Paul Bodie and the Island Force Band, conch fritters, goombay smash and Kalik drinks and a junkanoo performance by the Valley Performing Stars. The Islands of The Bahamas were also recognised for its ongoing commitment and support to the cruise industry during the FCCA gala reception and dinner held at the Hilton Hotel.
According to Minister D’Aguilar, “The Bahamas remains a top destination for cruise passengers to the Caribbean. We are well positioned to receive a large percentage of the projected 30 million cruise passengers in the months and years ahead and are working on programs to ensure that our visitors experience remain inviting, pleasant, authentic and enjoyable,” he said.
Among the many plans in place to support the cruise industry in The Bahamas is to expand the port of Nassau in order to accommodate newer and larger cruise vessels, interested in calling on The Bahamas. The creation of a ‘living city’ boardwalk along the sea wall, from Prince George Dock to Paradise Island Bridge is also planned. It is hoped that these plans would make Bay Street more vibrant and inviting.
The Seatrade Cruise Global conference has for more than thirty years brought together global government officials, port authorities, tourism agencies, industry suppliers and cruise executives from around the world, to analyze trends, discuss current issues and conduct cruise business.
Currently, The Bahamas is home to seven port of calls for the cruise lines, including: Nassau, Freeport, Castaway Cay, Coco Cay, Great Stirrup Cay, Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays. Additional cruise lines are expected to call on Nassau, Bimini and Grand Bahama beginning as early as Fall 2018 through 2020, further announcements will be made at a later date.