Luxury expedition ship ‘Ocean Explorer’ calls on Freeport Harbour

Officials of the Ministry of Tourism were on hand to welcome the Ocean Explorer to Grand Bahama on Saturday, April 16, 2022 at Freeport Harbour. A plaque exchange between tourism officials and the captain of the Ocean Explorer was held to officially welcome the new ship to Freeport. On hand for the plaque exchange were (from left) Elaine Smith (Niche Markets & Groups and Events Coordinator at the Ministry of Tourism, GB); Nuvolari Chootosingh (Niche Markets & Groups and Events Manager, Ministry of Tourism, GB) and Captain of the Ocean Explorer, Apostolos Kaknis.

Deputy Port Director at Freeport Harbour, Mr. Charles Rolle welcomed the Ocean Explorer ship to Freeport on Saturday, April 16, 2022. A plaque exchange took place between Mr. Rolle and Captain Apostolos Kaknis of the Ocean Explorer to make the visit official. Mr. Rolle noted that the plaque exchange is a nautical tradition and serves as a sign of welcome and friendship.

It was the Explorer’s first time into Freeport, and according to the Deputy Port Director, it will not be the last.

“Having this ship come into Grand Bahama for the first time and for subsequent times in the future is a big deal for us here in Grand Bahama,” Mr. Rolle noted during the short ceremony on the dock of the Freeport Harbour.

“It’s a new opening when we have ships call on our harbour for the first time or when we have cruise lines have new ships that call on our Port. It suggests that people are coming to Grand Bahama. It suggests that new cruise lines are interested in coming to Grand Bahama. And that is significant for Grand Bahama because it means an economic boost.”

Mr. Rolle noted that the economic impact of a new ship calling on the Port of Freeport extends beyond the port, into the stalls of the vendors and taxi drivers that surround the harbour and even as far as Port Lucaya, where many of the passengers from the ships tend to venture in an effort to find unique Bahamian souvenirs and trinkets.

“This is very impactful on the economy of Grand Bahama and everyone gets an opportunity to benefit,” added Mr. Rolle. Unlike traditional cruise ships that cater to relaxation and entertainment for the entire family, the Explorer is focused on expedition and adventure. Making
trips to Antarctica, Iceland and to other places where traditional cruise ships and other huge vessels are unable to navigate, the Ocean Explorer attracts passengers with a thirst for adventurer and discovery.

Deputy Port Director at Freeport Harbour, Mr. Charles Rolle (second from left) exchanges plaques with Captain of the Ocean Explorer, Apostolos Kaknis in a short ceremony at the harbour on Saturday, April 16, 2022, to welcome the Ocean Explorer to Freeport Harbour for the first time. Also on hand for the plaque exchange were Shawn Thurston, a Marine Pilot (second from right) and Roman Laing, marine pilot (left).

The ship has the capacity for 200 passengers. Captain of the Ocean Explorer Apostolos Kaknis said the passengers were excited to be in Freeport and experience the “great weather,” considering the harsher weather they had endured only days earlier, having sailed from Antarctica. The call on Freeport Harbour caps the conclusion of the Ocean Explorer’s first season of sailing.

“Our guests are already off the ship and out into the harbour walking around and enjoying this beautiful weather that you have here in Freeport,” said Captain Kaknis.

“This vessel sails around the world in special places and that’s what attracts people to our brand. We are on the luxury scale and our customers are upscale individuals economically, who want to visit and enjoy places that most people will not want to visit: they go for adventure and for exploration.

From Freeport the Ocean Explorer will travel to the United States, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Europe, Antarctica and back to Freeport. Captain Kaknis said ending the sailing season in Freeport is like icing on the cake for the passengers and crew members and they look forward to returning to Freeport to end another season.