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Nassau Cruise Port nears its grand opening

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Nassau Cruise Port's new arrival facilities, left. A new berth and the refurbishment and repair of all piers enables six ships at a time, including three Icon-class vessels
Following a four-year project to transform Nassau's cruise facilities, Nassau Cruise Port and Global Ports Holding plan a May 26 grand opening.

This will mark the phase one completion of the $300m project.

The addition of a new berth and the refurbishment and repair of all piers enables Nassau Cruise Port to handle six ships at a time, including three Icon-class vessels. New arrival, entertainment and cultural experiences are in store.

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New arrival area

ENKA Marine is the general contractor, and the upland development is designed by Bermello Ajamil & Partners.

Capacity for more than 30,000 cruisers a day

Capacity has been expanded from 20,000 passengers per day to more than 30,000, for an anticipated total 4m cruise visitors by the end of 2023.

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A retail, food and beverage area leads to the amphitheater, with capacity for 3,000

As part of the first phase of redevelopment, travelers will pass through a modern arrivals plaza. A Junkanoo museum will feature immersive experiences. Other features include authentic Bahamian retail and food and beverage outlets, an organized ground transportation area, a world-class amphitheater, event and entertainment experiences, the latest security technology, an art gallery and new green spaces.

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Bird's-eye view of the amphitheater, marina and future restaurant

Tenants within the Marketplace and Port Plaza are going to offer a wide variety of Bahamian experiences and goods. The new port will be a landmark destination in the heart of downtown Nassau for stayover visitors and Bahamians as well as cruisers.

'After three years of planning and three years of development and construction, we are so thrilled to be able to unveil the new Nassau Cruise Port to cruise passengers, tourists and the Bahamian community,' said Mike Maura Jr., CEO and director, Nassau Cruise Port.

Bahamian goods, culture and hospitality

The port, he continued, will 'proudly showcase the best of the Bahamas over its 11 acres of reimagined waterfront development, creating a new downtown Nassau destination. We want each and every visitor to have a remarkable, memorable experience in Nassau, and we are excited to proudly display Bahamian goods, culture and warm hospitality to our guests.

'Cruise tourism is a critical part of the Bahamian economy, and the cruise industry is equally dependent on the Bahamas,' Maura said. He noted the government had planned for more and larger ships and realized the advantage that could be gained by a port redevelopment.

Maura acknowledged the government's counsel, the support and input from the cruise industry, Bahamian and international capital markets and the leadership and commitment of the GPH and Nassau Cruise Port teams.

New opportunities for Bahamians

GPH Chairman/CEO Mehmet Kutman expressed pride in a revitalization that means 'so much more than just the construction of new buildings and beautiful design aesthetics, but also the promotion of Bahamian heritage and culture and countless new opportunities for the people of the Bahamas.'

GPH operates 27 ports in 14 countries, and Kutman said Nassau is the world's busiest cruise transit port.

By the completion of upcoming enhancements forecast for 2024, travelers can expect the addition of a signature restaurant and further family-friendly attractions.