By Chester Robards
NASSAU, Bahamas — Royal Caribbean and its partners are finalizing a plan and proposal for Grand Bahama that will include the redevelopment of the Grand Lucayan resort complex and the island’s cruise port, the company’s chief executive officer, Michael Bayley, said last week.
Bayley said Royal Caribbean has entered into a 90-day discussion period with the government, during which it will present its final proposal for Grand Bahama. Bayley said the proposal will include numerous experiential elements, which he conceded Grand Bahama is missing.
He added that while Royal Caribbean will be new to the business of hotel operations, its Mexican partner, ITM Group, has been down this road before.
“ITM has more experience; that’s why we have come together to develop this,” Bayley said, “We have been in discussion with other groups in terms of operating and licensing the hotel property. I think people will be excited by the proposal we’ll come forward with.
“The Grand Lucayan property needs investment in terms of refurbishment; more importantly there needs to be more experiential elements added to the destination itself. That’s what we’re working on, adding experiences so people can have more fun and more interaction with their vacation… So that will come forward in our proposal.”
While considering an upgraded port on Grand Bahama, Bayley said Royal Caribbean is excited about the idea that the Port of Nassau will be redeveloped, though his company and other cruise lines lost the bid to carry out the redevelopment.
“We’re very excited about the idea of a development project for the Port of Nassau and now that the decision has been made, I think we will be happy to contribute to it and to add value to that whole idea,” he said.
“We think it will be exciting for Nassau and it will be exciting for us at Royal Caribbean. I think we’ll be looking forward to how this will evolve and develop, and it’s great that we’re going to move ahead with it.”
Bayley said Grand Bahama, as a whole, is a huge area for future investment, adding that Royal Caribbean would like to train more Grand Bahamians to work in its operations at the dry dock facilities – which he said the company hopes to expand – and cruise operations. He added that as Royal Caribbean’s Icon class cruise ships, which will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), come out of production in 2023, Grand Bahama will be looked at as a hub for LNG storage.
Republished with permission of the Nassau Guardian