Norwegian megaship comes to Nassau
Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: Oct 18, 2013
Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL) cruise ship Breakaway made its maiden voyage to the port of Nassau yesterday, bringing about 4,000 passengers.
Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe, who spoke to reporters after an inaugural ceremony on the megaship, said the cruise will bring in about 200,000 passengers a year.
However, he said the ministry is not focusing on the number of cruise ship passengers who come in. He said the focus is on giving the passengers a real Bahamian experience.
Breakaway offers its guests a variety of dining options, various forms of entertainment including a casino, an aqua park, sports complex, and a number of live shows.
Wilchcombe said The Bahamas has to find a way to successfully compete with what the cruise ships are offering and get passengers to spend more on the island.
"In Nassau, we've got to get more of our visitors off the vessel because if you look at the spend, that's where my difficulty is,” he said, “If you have millions of visitors and they spend an average $60 to $70, that's not enough. We've got to get more spend which means there’s a demand on Bahamians to create more.
“We need to create more tours, more activities, more nightlife and to ensure that we have activities generally.”
Wilchcombe added: "The Bahamas must renew itself. If we don’t do that effectively then you become an old, tired destination, and once that happens people will want to go somewhere else. We want people to be so interested in The Bahamas that they want to spend.”
He said Bahamians must focus on the entertainment aspect of the business.
At 145,655 gross tons, the Breakaway is the world’s fifth largest cruise ship.
It will sail to Bermuda during the spring and summer and to The Bahamas and Florida in the winter.
Norwegian will also introduce another cruise, Getaway, which will travel to The Bahamas year-round, Wilchcombe said.
During the inaugural ceremony, Captain Evans Hoyt, the ship's master, said Norwegian is pleased to bring another ship to Bahamian shores.
He said the voyage was a "big first" for the cruise line and an example of the partnership that Norwegian has with the Government of The Bahamas.
The ship has the capacity to carry 3,969 passengers and 1,651 crew members.
Norwegian offers three, four and seven-day vacations to The Bahamas and Florida.