Upgraded Cruise Port Officially Opens After 3 Years

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Updated, reimagined, and renovated to highlight Bahamian culture, the new Nassau Cruise Port has officially opened and begun welcoming guests and offering new experiences and options for travelers, as well as additional capacity for cruise ships.

This will be a great opportunity for both new and frequent cruisers visiting one of the most popular ports of call in the world.

Revitalized Nassau Cruise Port Now Open

Cruise passengers visiting Nassau, the capital of The Bahamas, are in for a treat with the opening of the new, revitalized cruise port facilities after $300 million of renovations.

Not only does the port feature a sixth berth – giving the cruise port the ability to welcome even more guests – and a new, updated terminal building, but a strong focus on Bahamian culture will greet guests with the Junkanoo museum, local retailers, and a 3,500-person amphitheater to host cultural events and entertainment.

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

“The new Nassau Cruise Port offers a whole new experience for cruise visitors,” said the Honourable I. Chester Cooper, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation.

“Not only will Bahamian culture shine through all aspects of the port but the completion of the project marks a great milestone in ushering a new era for tourism in downtown Nassau, as well as a beautiful welcome for the millions of cruisers who disembark here each year.”

Junkanoo experts Arlene Nash Ferguson and Percy “Vola” Francis helped design the immersive Junkanoo Museum, which explores the vibrant history of the annual celebration. Exhibits in the museum includes masks, full costumes, musical instruments, and more to introduce guests to the colorful festival.

Visitors to the new terminal will also be able to browse through 40 retail spaces featuring local Bahamian retailers and handicrafts, as well as dining and beverage facilities for a wide variety of tastes. Green spaces, an art gallery, and new ground transportation areas are also part of the overall terminal design.

The new terminal began construction in late 2019, and officially opened to cruise traffic on Saturday, May 27, 2023 with a “Cruise Passenger Day Party” while three vessels were in port: Disney Wish, Carnival Liberty, and Carnival Magic.

Cruise Traffic Increasing

The addition of the sixth berth in Nassau now enables the port to host as many as three Oasis-class ships at once, along with smaller vessels simultaneously.

This gives the port amazing capacity to bring more travelers to The Bahamas, setting passenger records and perhaps positioning Nassau as the most popular port of call in the world.

“We anticipate our traffic numbers for 2023 to exceed pre-pandemic levels with about 4.2 million visitors,” said Mike Maura, Port Director for Nassau. “In 2019, which was the busiest year for us to date, we had 3.85 million visitors. For 2024, we already have 4.5 million confirmations.”

Nassau Cruise Port Upgrade
Photo Credit: ENKA

The daily capacity of the cruise port is now more than 30,000 guests per day, and the overall port facilities extend over 11 acres of waterfront in downtown Nassau.

Earlier this year, the port set an outstanding one-day passenger record with 28,554 guests on February 27, 2023.

Nassau is firmly positioned as the second most popular port-of-call destination in the world, only slightly behind Cozumel, Mexico in terms of annual cruise passenger visits.

Read Also: Mexico’s Cruise Arrivals Soar to Record Heights

With the now-expanded capacity, Nassau may overtake Cozumel to hold the top spot in the years to come. The cruise port is visited by all major cruise lines as well as many smaller luxury and boutique lines.

The opening of the new terminal is just Phase 1 of the overall project. Construction on Phase 2, which will include a signature restaurant as well as family-oriented spaces, will continue through 2023 and into 2024.

The official opening date of the second part of the project has not yet been announced, but construction is continuing as scheduled.

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