Carnival Cruises Eyes New Private Port on Grand Bahama; Orders New LNG-Powered Ships
Carnival Corporation, parent of Carnival Cruise Lines, has presented the government of the Bahamas with a proposal to build a private port in eastern Grand Bahama, one of the largest islands in the Caribbean and the closest major Bahamian island to the United States.
If implemented, the plan by the Miami-based company, the largest cruise line operator in the world, would mean that Carnival cruise ships would replace its current ports calls at Freeport, also located on Grand Bahama.
According to industry sources, Freeport remains one of the least popular cruise ports among cruise passengers largely due to the fact that the cruise dock at the port is located in an industrial area and free trade zone with limited access to the town itself.
Several other cruise lines including Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises, and Disney Cruise Line currently maintain their own private ports in the Caribbean.
News of the proposed port plan follows news of Carnival’s multi-billion dollar contract with Finland-based Meyer Werft shipyard for four LNG-powered ships.
The four new cruise ships will be the first in the cruise industry to use liquefied natural gas (LNG) in dual-powered hybrid engines to power the ships both in port and on the open sea. The LNG will be stored onboard and used to generate 100 percent power at sea and eliminate emissions of soot particles and sulfur oxides while in port.
Each of the 180,000-ton ships will have the largest single-vessel passenger capacity in the world with each able to accommodate 6,600 passengers and have an additional 5,000 lower berths.
A major component of their “next-generation design involves making much more efficient use of the ship’s spaces, creating an enhanced onboard experience for guests,” the Miami-based cruise line said.
Shipbuilder Meyer Werft will construct two ships of the ships in Germany and two at its shipyard in Turku, Finland. Each new vessel will be specifically designed and developed for the brand and the guests it will serve.
The contract with the shipbuilder is part of larger previously announced strategic memo of understanding with Meyer Werft and Italy’s Fincantieri S.p.A for nine new ship orders between 2019 and 2022.
The ten brands comprising Carnival Corporation will operate 100 ships in 2015 totaling 219,000 lower berths with eight new ships scheduled to be delivered between 2016 and 2018, along with four additional new ships on order between 2019 and 2022.