Nassau Cruise Port (NCP) was definitely “the place to be” on Friday, May 26, 2023, as its team welcomed over 500 industry partners, government representatives, cruise influencers, media, and other key stakeholders to a sensational grand opening to showcase the results of its $300 million redevelopment project. Notable attendees included the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of The Bahamas, top executives from five major U.S. cruise line partners, international dignitaries, and even Hollywood celebrities.
Prime Minister Philip Davis delivered the keynote address during a ribbon cutting ceremony at the start of the event, hailing the redevelopment of the port as “…a new beginning for Nassau promising a prosperous and sustainable future for all Bahamians.” He also said that “This extensive $300 million project expands our capacity and enhances our [downtown] offerings,” noting that “over 70 Bahamian businesses, including food & beverage operators, Bahamian product manufacturers, craft stores, tour operators, [and other vendors] will occupy this space.” He celebrated the increase in job creation that the port will bring to the community and the exciting opportunities that the port will generate for Bahamians, particularly entrepreneurs.
He was joined in his enthusiasm for the success of the project by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments, & Aviation, the Hon. I. Chester Cooper, who described NCP as a model for how cruise ports should be developed. “This is truly an amazing cruise gateway,” said Cooper, who thanked Mike Maura Jr., CEO and Director of Nassau Cruise Port, for leading the charge to make the project a reality in partnership with the Government of The Bahamas and other stakeholders.
Mehmet Kutman, Chairman and CEO of Global Ports Holding (GPH), the parent company of Nassau Cruise Port Ltd., shared that tourism officials from Antigua and other countries across the region had already toured the port. He also confirmed that some of these officials had entered into new or revitalized discussions with GPH to provide similar port management and development services upon learning about the progress of the Nassau project. “GPH has a world-class team and is a good corporate and business partner, which is evident through the Nassau port revitalization project,” Kutman declared.
Mike Maura Jr., CEO of Nassau Cruise Port, described the unique features of the improved port to the eager audience – all connected to its Authentically Bahamian theme – and spoke of the enhancements to come including 1.5 MW of solar power and other environmentally-friendly initiatives. Key for investors, he noted, is that “The investment in Nassau Cruise Port has already positioned Nassau for greater growth…there is no question that cruising is back, with record-breaking forecasted growth.” Maura Jr. made the remarks as port and industry experts have recently projected that Nassau could expect as many as five million passengers to cross the new gateway this year, surpassing the 2019 port record of 3.8 million passengers.
After the ribbon cutting ceremony, guests were ushered to the amphitheatre by the Royal Caribbean Music Makers Junkanoo Group and The Bahamas Dancers. Then, the glittering crowd danced the night away under the stars during an all-Bahamian concert, which included performances by Encore the Band, D-Mac, Visage Band, and Willis & the Illest. Bacardi provided a luxury VIP bar experience, while Commonwealth Brewery provided additional support under its 700 Wines & Spirits, Kalik, and Moet & Chandon brands. Chef Simeon Hall Jr. gave attendees a taste of the many flavours of The Bahamas with a superb Bahamian menu.
The excitement was capped off by a magnificent aerial display featuring 250 drones and the appearance of celebrity guests, including “Blackish” actor Anthony Anderson, model Tyson Beckford, actors Melissa Roxburgh and JR Ramirez from the hit Netflix series Manifest, and former Real Housewives of New York cast members Dorinda Medley and Carol Radziwill.