The country’s premier cultural expression Junkanoo — was on full display as government officials welcomed Royal Caribbean’s ‘Wonder of the Seas,’ the world’s largest cruise ship, as it made its Inaugural Call at Nassau Harbour on Wednesday, March 9, 2022. Welcome activities also included a with a full-blown water ceremony, brightly adorned dancers to folklore music backed by a rake ‘n scrape band under a makeshift cultural arena – much to the delight of thousands of guests who disembarked to greet officials. And, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation the Hon. Chester Cooper, The Bahamas being a port of call for Wonder of the Seas should translate into an economic boost for the economy.
“It gives me tremendous pleasure to be a part of this momentous occasion to welcome to The Bahamas, the world’s newest and largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas,” said the deputy prime minister.
Also present among government officials was Mrs. Ann Marie Davis, wife of the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon Philip Davis; and Royal Caribbean Executives. For more than five decades, said Minister Cooper, The Bahamas has enjoyed a longstanding partnership with Royal Caribbean International, and today’s historic observance demonstrates the cruise line’s commitment to the cruise industry in The Bahamas.
“Not only is ‘Wonder of the Seas’ the world’s latest and biggest cruise ship, but it is also the fifth of the Oasis Class of premier ships in your cruise line that all make Nassau a port of call, a fact that underscores your loyalty to our tourism success,” he said. Among more than 300 destinations, The Bahamas remains Royal Caribbean’s most popular port of call for passengers, and adding this mega- liner provides another opportunity for growth in this relationship, the deputy prime minister said.
In 2019, the last full year of tourist travel to The Bahamas before the COVID-19 pandemic, 5.4 million cruise visitors arrived, whose spend injected $125 million into the economy. Royal Caribbean International, along with its subsidiaries, accounted for 34% or approximately 1.84 million cruise guests to The Bahamas as the first port of entry. In 2021, cruise visitor arrivals totaled 1.21 million, with Royal Caribbean International and its subsidiaries bringing in some 526,000, or approximately 47 percent of cruise travelers to The Bahamas, as their first port of entry.
“We do not know what tourism arrival totals would have been at the end of 2020 if the COVID-19 pandemic did not bring an abrupt halt to the industry, but we can confidently say that The Bahamas tourism is rebounding,” the deputy prime minister said.
He also predicted that ‘Wonder of the Seas’ calling on port Nassau, “will undoubtedly reach historic occupancy levels that should translate into an economic boost to our economy.”
‘Wonder of the Seas’ boasts of a Central Park, with 20,000 real plants, 18 decks (16 for guest use); 20 restaurants; and 2,867 cabins with the ability to accommodate 6,988 passengers at full capacity. “We are grateful for our nation’s decades long partnership with Royal Caribbean International and look forward to many more fruitful years ahead,” said the deputy prime minister.
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