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Cruise Lines Resume Private Island Calls

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

Cruise lines yesterday said there had been some cancellations in calls to their private islands in the Bahamas due to repairs that became necessary in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

AnnMarie Mathews, spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Line, which owns the 250-acre Great Stirrup Cay in the Berry Islands, said: “At this time, we have cancelled calls to Great Stirrup Cay as it sustained some minor damage to structures and landscaping, as well as beach erosion from Hurricane Sandy.

“The island will re-open on Saturday, November 3, when Norwegian Sky is scheduled to call there.”

Norwegian recently invested $25 million in a Great Stirrup Cay expansion project. The Norwegian Pearl will cancel her call on the cay on November 2, while the Norwegian Sky will cancel her call on Great Stirrup Cay today. The Norwegian Jewel cancelled her call yesterday as a result of Hurricane Sandy’s impact.

  Cynthia Martinez, spokesperson at Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, said its private island, Coco Cay, had also been impacted by the storm.

“The island of Coco Cay was impacted by the storm, with damage being sustained to some of our facilities and the beach areas. Our Coco Cay team has been working diligently to prepare the island for our guests arrival,” said Ms Martinez.

Nonetheless, Majesty of the Seas called on Coco Cay yesterday as originally scheduled, and Monarch of the Seas is expected to call on Coco Cay today.

  Erik Elvejord, spokesman for Holland America Line, which owns Half Moon Cay, Little San Salvador, said the island had sustained minor damage and the cruise line would make its first call post the storm on Friday.

“As a result of Hurricane Sandy passing over Half Moon Cay on October25, the island has sustained some minor damage, which is limited and can be easily addresse,” he said.

“The island staff are well, as are the horses that are kept on the island for popular beach excursions. Repairs will be made to some structures, some vegetation will be replanted and the main guest beach will be renewed in those areas impacted by erosion. We expect to make repairs quickly, with only minimal impact to normal operations anticipated.”

Disney Cruise Line spokesperson, Rebecca Peddie, told Tribune Business that it was business as usual for the cruise line.

“At this point in time, everything is business as usual for us. We cleaned up some storm debris that washed up on the shores, and replaced some sand, but overall the island  was fine. We had to change or skip a few ports on the itineraries of two of our ships, but the length of our itineraries were not impacted,” said Ms Peddie. The Disney Dream called on the cruise line’s private island, Castaway Cay, in the Abacos yesterday.

  Ministry Of Tourism director of cruise development, Carla Stuart, told Tribune Business recently that Hurricane Sandy had cost Nassau alone a collective $927,000 in lost cruise spend and taxes.

Ms Stuart noted that vessel cancellations between Thursday to Saturday last week cost Nassau an estimated $742,000 in passenger spending, plus $185,000 in likely departure tax.

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