Carnival’s New Cruise Port Is Revitalizing Grand Bahama’s Economy

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Carnival Corporation’s latest venture, Celebration Key, is rapidly progressing as a private destination designed for cruise passengers.

But notably, the project, expected to bring 2.2 million guests to the Bahamas annually when it opens in 2025, is making headway for its impact on its locale on Grand Bahamas island. It has been revealed that over 85% of the contracted companies engaged in building the new facility are from Grand Bahama.

The construction of Celebration Key, a private port 20 miles east of Freeport, Grand Bahama, involves more than 180 local workers and 29 Bahamian construction companies. This direct employment circulates financial benefits within the community and supports local enterprises.

Bahamas
(Photos Courtesy: Carnival Corporation)

Further economic contributions come from the project’s scale and infrastructure developments. With a recent $100 million investment to extend the pier to accommodate two additional ships by 2026, the port is expected to create over 700 permanent jobs across various sectors, such as retail, food and beverage, and shore excursions.

Carnival has really demonstrated its belief in Grand Bahamians. Local companies are working on all aspects of this development, giving us a unique opportunity to employ so many local people,” said Lionel Jervis, project manager at KFL Construction. “We are all gaining invaluable experience on a groundbreaking project, working together to build something that will be extremely impactful for the future of Grand Bahama.

Carnival has committed to significant local participation in the operation phase, as well. It promises that at least 75% of the businesses operating within the port will be owned by Bahamians.

A New Bahamian Escape with Exclusive Portals

Carnival Corporation’s Celebration Key, set to open in July 2025, will provide a unique escape on the island of Grand Bahama to Carnival Cruise Line passengers. Carnival Corporation’s Holland American Line, Princess Cruises, and Cunard Line may also call on the private resort, which will offer a range of amenities and attractions, dining, and shopping. 

Divided into five distinct “portals,” each area will offer unique attractions and activities celebrating the vibrant culture of the Bahamas. A standout feature of Celebration Key will be Lokono Cove, a specialized area within the destination that promises an immersive Bahamian cultural experience. Here, locally owned shopkeepers will sell predominantly locally sourced merchandise.

Read Also: Carnival Cruise Line Reveals Details on New Private Destination

Paradise Plaza, a brightly colored welcoming area and promenade, will be guests’ first impression and is being designed to reflect the colors, symbols, and heritage of the Bahamas. It will feature a Bahamian-themed fountain and ice cream shop and serve as the gateway to Celebration Key’s half-mile beachfront dedicated to water sports and relaxation.

Carnival's Celebration Key
Carnival’s Celebration Key

The tranquil and more exclusive Adults-Only Private Club portal will provide private beach access, an infinity pool, and high-end dining options. The portal is also designed with an event pavilion to host special occasions, family reunions, and weddings.

A large freshwater lagoon is the highlight of the Family-Friendly portal. This area for all ages includes beach villas, sports courts, and a colorful splash pad for little ones. The lively portal will also offer a variety of dining options and entertainment.

The resort’s portals will mirror the themed areas of Carnival Cruise Line’s Excel-Class ships, offering a familiar feel to the more than 500 itineraries already incorporating a call following the grand opening.

Worth Reading: When is the Best Time to Cruise the Caribbean?

The first ship scheduled to arrive at Celebration Key will be Carnival Vista during its Southern Caribbean cruise departing from Port Canaveral (Orlando), Florida, on July 12. Within its first week of opening, the resort will also welcome Carnival Conquest, Carnival Freedom, Carnival Mardi Gras, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Celebration and Carnival Pride.

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