Just nine months into 2023, Nassau Cruise Port has already exceeded passenger visits for all of 2022, with cruise traffic showing no signs of slowing as the destination heads into its busiest part of the year.
The port’s all-time record isn’t that much higher than the confirmed numbers, and it remains possible that 2023 may yet be a brilliant record-setting year for the popular destination.
Nassau Surpasses 2022 Visits
With three busy cruise months yet to come in 2023, Nassau Cruise Port is already ahead of the full-year visitor numbers from 2022. From January through December 2022, the capital of the Bahamas welcomed 3,212,603 cruise travelers. Already in 2023, with counts now official from January through September, 3,224,210 have visited the port.
While the difference is only 11,607 guests – barely two visits from some of the world’s largest cruise ships – what is astonishing is that this milestone has been reached with a full three months left in the year.
“We are thrilled to have reached this milestone and to do so just in time to celebrate our fourth anniversary makes the achievement extraordinarily special,” said chief executive officer, Mike Maura Jr.
Maura Jr added, “Our success reflects the resilience and commitment of the cruise industry and is a testament to the dedication and hard work of the entire Nassau Cruise Port team, the Bahamian government, our community, and our industry partners. Together, we have transformed the Bahamian cruise tourism product and brand, quickly turning Nassau into a premier destination for cruisers around the world. The best is yet to come.“
These extraordinary numbers are not entirely a surprise, however, since the cruise port has been setting other, smaller records this year. For example, on Monday, February 27, 2023, an outstanding 28,554 guests visited the cruise port – a record for most cruise guests in a single day.
On that day, three of the world’s largest cruise ships – Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class Wonder of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas as well as Carnival’s Excel-class Mardi Gras – were all in port simultaneously.
The port’s highest-ever year is 3.9 million guests, and there stands a good chance that the record may be broken in 2023. The port is expecting to reach a total of 4.2 million passengers by the end of 2023, which will be a new record for the port.
“With three months left until the end of 2023 and the peak season set to begin in November, we are on our way to achieving another record-breaking year,” Nassau Cruise Port posted on social media.
The winter sailing season is the highest cruise visitor time for the Bahamas. More cruise ships are deployed to the Bahamas and Caribbean at that time, when other destinations such as Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, northern Europe, and similar regions are not as popular – or in some cases, even possible to visit in the winter months.
More September Milestones
In September alone, Nassau saw more than 289,000 cruise passengers visit. The port also hosted two successful amphitheater events in its new 3,500-person facility, which officially opened in May 2023.
The revitalized and expanded port area – a $300 million project that has taken three years to develop – offers more spacious retail for guests to explore, as well as an immersive Junkanoo museum and extensive green spaces with native tropical plantings.
The biggest expansion in the new port is the addition of a sixth cruise ship berth, permitting even more vessels to be welcomed to Nassau simultaneously. This expanded capacity is instrumental in the port’s increased visitor numbers. Furthermore, October 9, 2023, was the fourth anniversary of the port’s overall opening.
Throughout the year, various events to celebrate the Bahamas’ 50th anniversary of independence have also brought more recognition and visitors to the cruise port.
Carnival Cruise Line has been instrumental in some of those celebrations, such as hosting a special Junkanoo experience aboard Mardi Gras when the ship visited Nassau on September 11, 2023. The cruise line has also hosted anniversary events aboard Carnival Legend in Freeport as well as aboard Carnival Celebration in Miami.
In the months to come, ships from every major cruise line and many smaller, more exclusive lines will visit Nassau, driving the port’s amazing success even higher. Will the cruise port surpass four million guests in 2023? That milestone may be yet to come!