Bahamas Port Officially Breaks All-Time Cruise Passenger Record

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Nassau Cruise Port has officially surpassed its all-time highest number of cruise passengers in a year, and it still has one month to go before the full 2023 numbers can be tabulated. This is a great sign of cruising’s comeback and increased popularity, as well as how desirable a destination the Bahamas is for travelers.

Nassau Cruise Port Breaks Annual Record in 11 Months

Nassau Cruise Port’s all-time record of annual cruise passengers was set in 2019 with an astonishing 3,859,183 travelers. Now in 2023, in just 11 months, the port has broken that record with a count of 3,869,003 passengers.

This is a great achievement for the revitalized and renovated port that has put so much into ensuring an amazing experience for every guest, smooth operations for multiple cruise ships at once, and a focus on Bahamian culture to really give visitors a true sense of the Bahamas.

Nassau Cruise Port CEO, Mike Maura Jr., has called the new record a “monumental milestone” even as there is still more to come in December, with dozens of cruise ships yet to visit for peak holiday season travel.

Reaching 4.2 Million Guests

Ultimately, the port has a goal of greeting 4.2 million passengers in 2023, which means there need to be 330,997 guests visiting in the next 31 days.

This may well be within the port’s reach, as already on Friday, December 1, there were five ships in port – Celebrity Summit, Symphony of the Seas, Crystal Serenity, Disney Dream, and Carnival Freedom.

Together, these five ships could have brought nearly 17,000 visitors to the port, if each ship was sailing fully booked with all berths filled. With holiday cruises sailing full steam ahead, ships are likely to be more fully booked than earlier in the year.

Cruise Ships Docked in Nassau, Bahamas
Cruise Ships Docked in Nassau, Bahamas (Photo Courtesy: Nassau Cruise Port)

Through the month, Nassau Cruise Port has nine days with six cruise ships scheduled for visits – Wednesday, December 6; Sunday, December 10; Tuesday, December 12; Wednesday, December 13; Tuesday, December 19; Thursday, December 21; Sunday, December 24; Wednesday, December 27; and Thursday, December 28.

Many other days also feature four or five ships, and there are no days at all this month without at least one ship visiting. In fact, only one day – Monday, December 18 – has just a single ship scheduled in port, Royal Caribbean International’s Vision of the Seas.

Breaking Records All Year in Nassau, Bahamas

Nassau Cruise Port has been breaking visitor records throughout the year, starting with a single-day record on February 27 with 28,554 passengers from six different ships, representing four different cruise lines. That one day already broke the prior records set on January 5 (25,393 guests) and again on January 8 (26,396 guests).

By June 30, more than 2.2 million cruise guests had visited Nassau, already surpassing 2019’s record of 2,011,754 guests for the first six months of that pre-pandemic year. By reaching that goal even before the summer season really amped up, it was clear that 2023 was going to be a spectacular year for the capital of the Bahamas.

Cruise Ships in Nassau, Bahamas
Photo Courtesy: Nassau Cruise Port

“Occupancy remains strong at 109 percent and bookings for the remainder of 2023 forecast a strong yearend result,” said Maura Jr. at that June milestone.

At the end of September, the cruise port had amassed 3,224,210 visitors, higher than the full-year total of 3,212,603 recorded in 2022, the first full year of sailing after the industry shutdown.

The port’s new expansion that opened at the end of May has not only increased capacity for ship visits, but has also made the port itself more of a destination. The 11-acre facility features local Bahamian retailers and artisans, a detailed Junkanoo museum, and an outdoor cultural amphitheater hosting concerts, movies, seasonal celebrations, and more for residents and cruise guests alike to enjoy.

With so much to offer at such a convenient cruise port, Nassau is likely to continue growing and entertaining millions of cruise passengers every year.

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