By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
A GRAND opening for the new Nassau Cruise Port will be held in the last week in May following the multi-million-dollar project’s completion, its chief executive officer revealed yesterday.
Michael Maura, CEO of Nassau Cruise Port Limited, spoke to reporters after leading Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis, Works and Utilities Minister Alfred Sears and other government officials on a tour of the development yesterday.
The tour began with Mr Maura showing officials architectural drawings and plans outlining the layout of the development.
Mr Davis and others were also able to take a closer look at the key features of the port that are still undergoing construction, including the arrivals terminal, the Junkanoo museum and the amphitheatre among others.
“We’re talking with two Bahamian operators who are very immersed with Junkanoo and both are submitting business plans and how they will operate that,” Mr Maura said when asked about plans for the museum.
Retail spaces also will be available at the Prince George Wharf site, which will be operated by “authentic Bahamian operators.”
To this, Mr Davis spoke to the historical importance of the Nassau Straw Market, telling port executives that the “competition has to be fair.”
“We need to drive some of those people to the Straw Market and they will not be driven there if you are selling straw here too,” the prime minister told officials.
Mr Maura responded: “Tourism and Minister Sears have already started that conversation -but we are not the ones selecting the applicants or the occupants of this space. It’s coming from the government. The only thing I would say in the interest of all of us is that everybody that is proposed needs to go through the committee to make sure in fact that (what) they’re selling is Bahamian and not foreign.”
Some 300 workers, half of whom are Bahamians, are currently working on the cruise port’s development to have work completed ahead of its grand opening scheduled for next May.
“We had a meeting with the Prime Minister yesterday and it was agreed that the grand opening would be the last weekend of May,” Mr Maura said. “The reason for that, honestly, as we looked at having it a little earlier in early May, but King Charles decided to be coronated in the around the fifth or sixth of May and that meant that our Prime Minister would be obviously offshore and we need to make sure that our Prime Minister is here in Nassau for that grand opening and so that’s why it’s the last weekend of May.”
The price tag for the port’s development is just around $300m.
“We actually now are at just under $300 million,” Mr Maura added. “It’s higher than we anticipated but, you know, obviously, that was impacted by material cost rises due to the pandemic, and so forth; the difficulty in getting construction workers, you know, even here in the Bahamas, when people would catch COVID, and so forth, and contact tracing and the rest has slowed the project.
“We had expected to be finished, you know, long before the last weekend of May of 2023 but the pandemic has had its fun with us, but the good news is, you know, you guys will be talking about what a fantastic party happened to the downtown waterfront come the last weekend of May.”
Mr Maura also explained that, once construction is completed, Nassau Cruise Port will be able to simultaneously accommodate six cruise ships inclusive of three Oasis ships, which are the world’s largest cruise ships, along with three other vessels.
“More importantly, it’s about passenger counts so we’ve gone from 20,000 maximum capacity to over around 33,000 passengers on a given day based on the assortment of vessels that would be in port,” he also said.
“That said, if we had a day where we had five ships, we could actually have four Oasis vessels in port so it’s given the width of the slips and so forth that we have out there but it’s designed for three Oasis or three icon class ships, which is the next generation of vessels.”
Yesterday, Mr Sears hailed the port as a “signature project” that will make The Bahamas more competitive.
“It also will provide a stimulus to Bay Street and also open up new myriads of opportunity for the orange economy and The Bahamas,” he added.
realitycheck242 3 months, 2 weeks ago
Retail spaces also will be available at the Prince George Wharf site, which will be operated by “authentic Bahamian operators.” To this, Mr Davis spoke to the historical importance of the Nassau Straw Market, telling port executives that the “competition has to be fair.”
Simple fix ....Just rotate the authentic Bahamian operators at the port and the straw vendors on a month by month bases so that everyone can get an equal piece of the pie.
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