Carnival Plants Thousands of Trees at New Private Island Destination

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As with the majority of the mainstream cruise lines, Carnival Cruise Line has been prioritizing sustainability measures, including moving up its greenhouse gas reduction goal of 20% by four years from 2030 to 2026. 

Of course, one of the best ways to combat pollution-induced climate change is by planting trees, which remove carbon dioxide from the air and release clean oxygen back into the atmosphere. This is something Carnival is keeping in mind for its new private destination in the Bahamas, Celebration Key.

The 27-ship cruise line has completed the first phase of its ‘Plant a Tree’ initiative, which launched in October of 2023 and has met its goal in April of 2024, taking just about six months.

Throughout the process, the company has been collaborating with local farmers and growers to beautify its part of Grand Bahama Island while also supporting the local economy. During Phase One, the company bought 5,000 palm trees, all of which were grown on the island from seed, with 40% coming from small-scale community growers. 

Throughout Phase One, Carnival also hosted a tree planting event weekly, during which top growers involved with the initiative were given awards for their contributions and gifted commemorative shirts and free dinners. All honorees will also be invited to visit the fruits of their labor in Celebration Key when the private destination opens in 2025. 

“We are very thankful for this initiative as it has allowed us to profit from working on the land. I want to thank Carnival for believing in Bahamians and supporting the efforts of local growers in a meaningful way. It is also a source of pride to know that the development will be beautified by native plants, born and raised in Grand Bahama,” said Leslie Saunders, a local grower who has sold more than 200 plants to Carnival Corporation through the initiative.

Tree Planting at Celebration Key
Tree Planting at Celebration Key

Carnival is now kicking off Phase Two of its program, and is seeking a variety of 200,000 locally grown plants to continue to bring Celebration Key to life. Instead of palm trees, the cruise line is shifting its focus to gathering Gumbo-Limbo, Seagrape, Silver and Green Buttonwood, Green Island Ficus, and Bougainvillea in different colors. 

“Once again, we are calling on the Grand Bahama community to participate actively. “We are looking for plants with good foliage and roots, among other quality requirements so bring us your best green thumb efforts,” said Raquel Mota, Senior Port Services Manager with Carnival. 

“We want to showcase the very best of the natural splendor of Grand Bahama at Celebration Key to our guests, while also creating economic opportunities for Bahamians. Together we can create a vibrant, sustainable environment that benefits both locals and visitors alike,” added Mota. 

Phase two of the ‘Plant a Tree’ initiative will officially kick off on May 9, 2024, with Carnival encouraging local growers to reach out in advance to start discussing landscaping needs and what they can offer to the project. 

Carnival’s New Private Destination Is Expanding Before It Even Opens

Guests will get the chance to enjoy the beautiful foliage, as well as a variety of luxurious experiences and amenities, when Celebration Key opens in Summer of 2025.

Carnival’s new flagship cruise port destination, which is located on Grand Bahama about 200 miles west of Nassau and 55 miles from Southwest Florida, will likely be very popular from the get-go. 

Carnival has already unveiled itineraries that include more than 500 visits to the Bahamian destination across 12 ships, with sailings scheduled from the beginning of July 2025 and into 2026. The cruise line expects to welcome 2.2 million guests to Celebration Key in its first year, and estimates that number will rise to as many as 4 million in 2028 – largely because an expansion for the island is already in the works

In addition to the $600 million (USD) the cruise company has already invested in the island destination, it’s already shelling out another $100 million to extend the pier so that it can accommodate up to four ships at a time, including the extra-large members of the Carnival Excel-class.

Carnival Cruise Line's Celebration Key
Carnival Cruise Line’s Celebration Key

In addition to enjoying the locally grown plant life, visitors to the island will get to experience different aspects of Bahamian culture through five unique portals. Guests will enter the destination through the first portal, Paradise Plaza, which is a boldly colorful entryway that leads the way to idyllic vacation selfies and waterslides galore – including the 10-story high “Suncastle” from where the slides will originate. 

Read Also: Carnival Cruise Line Unveils Lokono Cove Marketplace for Celebration Key

Adults will also be able to enjoy the water or relax on loungers or in cabanas at Calypso Lagoon, which will also feature private restaurants, casual snacks, and Bahamian food trucks.

Meanwhile, those looking for authentic souvenirs to take home can pay a visit to the marketplace in Lokono Cove, which will offer a variety of souvenirs, jewelry, and art meant to allow guests to take a piece of Grand Bahama’s rich heritage and creativity home with them. 

However, as guests enjoy the island, Carnival will continue to work to support the local economy. To start, 75% of all Celebration Key outlets will be owned and operated by Bahamaians, including those in Lokono Cove. 

Additionally, Carnival expects its new destination to provide over 700 permanent jobs for locals in food and beverage, retail, and transportation – adding to the more than 2,500 jobs already created as part of Celebration Key’s development and construction.

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