CARNIVAL Cruise Line’s investment in Celebration Key, a new port destination that will welcome guests in 2025, has increased to $500m, more than double the initial $200m investment. Officials said there will be about 350 jobs during the construction phase and 700 permanent jobs.
Hundreds of residents attended a business community meeting Carnival hosted at the Grand Lucayan Resort yesterday to get an overview of the project and its opportunities. Officials also toured the destination site, viewing the progress.
Work is underway on 40 acres of land, with the port destination scheduled to open in July 2025. The design plan includes constructing two large-scale lagoons, 20 retail shops, food and beverage outlets, and a 1,600ft pier that will accommodate two 6,000-passenger ships at the same time.
Juan Fernandez, vice president of Destination Operations, said Carnival’s investment increase is due to inflation and an expansion in the project’s scope. A contractor has already been hired to build the pier, the slabs and piles for which are being manufactured in New Providence.
Mr Fernandez said the destination will be among the most iconic Carnival owns. “We need to make sure we do it right and have all the attractions and features that our guests are going to love,” he said. Mr Fernandez said Carnival will employ more than 300 people at the port and is looking to fill four management positions: general manager, director of government and community engagement, site engineer, and human resource manager.
Over 400 people are expected to be hired through third parties in retail shops, food and beverage shops, and restaurants on the site. Mr Fernandez said he was thrilled with yesterday’s turnout, describing the event as “a turning point.”
Chief communications officer Chris Chiames said Celebration Key will be the premier destination for Carnival’s ten homeports and 18 ships. He said three million guests are expected to visit the port in 2026, adding: “The destination is selling well.”
“The enthusiasm from our travel agents is very strong.”
In the next few months, the cruise line will ramp up marketing efforts and advertise the port on various sporting channels.
Grand Bahama Minister Ginger Moxey said Bahamians must play an integral role in the port. “We are finally in a place where Grand Bahama is not just recovering and rebuilding, but we are about to revolutionize how Grand Bahama does it,” she said.