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Grand Celebration confident in GB 'rebound' by late 2018

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

THE Grand Celebration cruise vessel's owner is banking on a Grand Bahama tourism "rebound" by the 2018 fourth quarter, the vessel having suffered no lasting damage from breaking free of its moorings.

David Johnson, a former Bahamas tourism director-general, now consultant to Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, said the difficulties resulting from the Grand Lucayan's closure have "challenged" the company's operation.

"We have have persevered through the difficulties of the closed Lucayan strip for the most part, which is the featured attraction," he said. "It challenged us because we were selling a destination that was a bit crippled. With the exception of the ship having to depart for three months we operated through 2016 and 2017, having returned on December 23."

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line temporarily paused its service after the Grand Celebration was requisitioned by the US government to aid hurricane relief efforts on St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, following Irma's passage.

Mr Johnson, though, said the company's addition of a second cruise ship to service Grand Bahama from April 2018 demonstrated the company's confidence in Grand Bahama's revival.

He added: "We are committed, based on our beliefs that the strip will come alive. We committed and acquired a second ship that should come into service in late April. We believe by then the industry will be in much better shape, and there will be more inventory returning.

"We think by the fourth quarter of the year we should catch our stride in Grand Bahama; ourselves and the industry We believe the tourism sector will rebound. We have invested with that view in mind, and are encouraged by what we see. Granted, it will still take about four months before some of that takes hold."

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line offers daily departures to the Bahamas from the Port of Palm Beach. The Grand Celebration began sailing in March 2010, and the company has now reached a three-year agreement with the Government to bring both that ship and its new vessel, Grand Classica, to Grand Bahama, thereby doubling the number of arrivals to more than 500,000 passengers annually.

Mr Johnson confirmed that the Grand Celebration had not sustained any damages after breaking away from its docking site during fierce winds on Wednesday.

"The ship was repositioned to another berth and sailed out 30 minutes later than usual. It was very unusual, unpredictable weather, but the bottom line is the ship is not damaged. It is on schedule. She left only a half-an-hour late on Wednesday and there is no interruption to the service," said Mr Johnson.

Comments

killemwitdakno 4 years, 10 months ago

Whew. Good news. That's a very beautiful ship.

Devil not taking GB's celebration.

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proudloudandfnm 4 years, 10 months ago

Uh huh. Sure. Good luck with that. If I was s billionaire I would not invest 100 bucks in GB. The most unreliable econony on earth...

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