The Bahamas Wants More Money From Cruisers

Millions of cruisers hit the Bahamas every summer, and they bring a whole lot of money to the islands. But Minister of tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar is looking to find ways to extract more money from cruisers, telling a local media outlet, The Tribune, that they needed to be “more aggressive” in that regard. “We have to find out ways for them to spend more money when they come here,” he added.

The Big Challenge In The Bahamas

Cruisers pose in front of the Bahamas sign on the pier.

It appears that D’Aguilar is interested in shaking things up where the island’s relationship with cruise lines is concerned. “They make all the money,” he said, “and we have nothing.” At the same time, the Minister did acknowledge that this was a two way street, and that the Bahamas had perhaps dropped the ball when it came to making the island a place people wanted to spend their time, let alone money.

“We have a duty to improve our product,” he said, “but when we do, we want the cruise ship lines to be a little fairer” with regard to the flow of money. “The situation as it is now is unsustainable with the way it is structured. The cruise ship companies come in now and make all the money, and we have nothing.” 

Read More: What You Need To Know About Bahamas Cruises

The paper reported that this conversation arose due to complaints allegedly made by local businesses unhappy because shore excursions desks aboard visiting ships often “direct passengers to [patronize] certain land-based businesses when the ships arrive.” The story also claims that some cruise lines “dictate the margins and mark-ups that Bahamian-owned businesses can earn, impacting their ability to generate profits and survive.”

D’Aguilar says that situation must change. “You’re not going to come to this destination and be greedy, and get it all for yourself.” He acknowledges, however, that the port needs to work harder to make itself attractive to travelers. “When they come here, there’s less and less interesting things for them to do. It’s a product we should not be proud of.” 

What could the Bahamas do to make the island a bigger draw to cruise passengers?

14 Responses

  1. Been there numerous times.. Nassau is now a SPA day.. No need to get off the ship to be forced through their “straw market” and pushy salespeople. If it were better, they would make more.

  2. Been to the both Nassau and Freeport several times . We don’t even get off the ship anymore. Would not hurt my feelings if the cruise lines skipped these two ports altogether.

  3. I’ve taken an excursion to Freeport, I wasn’t too impressed with the country. I remember it as being dirty and unkempt.

  4. Freeport is a pointless destination I understand that Carnival does minor dry docks there and that in the middle of the last century that Freeport, well, Grand Bahama in general was a playground for the rich and famous. However, those days are gone. If I get off in Freeport it’s a quick stop into Senior Frogs and back on board.

    Nassau the second trip into town is more than enough to know you were right in not being interested in returning. Atlantis Paradise Island can be a fun day trip though.

  5. I don’t even get off the ship in the Bahamas because I don’t see it as something worth my time. I don’t like being hassled about having my hair braided and, for the most part, the islands aren’t that clean. The straw market is boring and we have better beaches in Florida. As for buying a Bahamas t-shirt, well that really isn’t going to happen. I like relaxing on the ship those days. Until they give me a reason to go on their island, why bother with those ports.

  6. My first cruise, I made the mistake of getting off in Nassau. The second cruise that stopped there, it was really nice with hardly anyone on the ship. I’ll never step foot in the Bahamas on a cruise. The dock area are so full of VERY AGGRESSIVE people almost demanding you give them money.

    I might visit an all-inclusive resort, but not on a cruise, ever again.

  7. Ive been to the Bahamas numerous of times I only get off the ship if I’ve made arrangements with my Cuzin to move around the island. If not its ..whats the point of getting off how many more pictures, or cups do one person need. I rather sleep or enjoy the view from balcony not the Bahamas. ..Much respect to the regular fokes tring to making living..

  8. Will not make mistake of going to Nassau again. I can’t stand the aggressive behavior of the people after you to buy something. It ruined my time there and I’d rather stay on ship. If the authorities are complaining about wanting more money they need to address the problem with their pushy people. Also, the straw market has nothing but junk mostly from China and the hassle of walking by the vendors is not worth it.

  9. I disagree, i still get off the ship in Nassau & freeport….gotta rent a scooter & tour the island ,if nothing else just to look around & take in the sites,sounds & environment of something different.

  10. We have been there twice and the one time out of nowhere came 2 people putting jewelry on us saying they wanted a donation for the school kids. My nephew said he would give them $2 and they said no, $4. We bought it just to get rid of them because they would NOT take no for an answer. The other time we were there, no body bothered us.

  11. Each time we went it was to Nassau. The one time we did an excursion to Atlantis to swim with a sea lion. That was fun. Her name was Sunshine and she was a movie star sea lion. I loved her personality.

  12. Made the mistake of getting off the ship in Freeport after being told that the best thing to do was stay on board. If Freeport wants more visitors, move the cruise port so it’s not in the middle of an industrial area. We do get off the ship in Nassau and walk around the straw market, and last time we were there we found a small local crafts market a couple of blocks from the pier. On an earlier visit with our kids, we took a local jitney (public van) out to a place called the Daq Shack and had great fresh fruit daiquiris. It was an inexpensive yet enjoyable excursion.

    As for the complaints about them not liking the relationship between the cruise lines and local suppliers. This is no different than any other port. Some suppliers won’t even let you book directly with them and insist that you book with the cruise line (in which case I refuse to book with them).

  13. I’ve been to Nassau 8 times. Never had this problem because if anyone looks like they are about to approach me, or even yells something to me, I ignore & keep walking. I don’t let them bother me.
    “Hey pretty lady, wanna see my shop?” NOPE! Bye! 😉 Lots to see & do there. It’s not my favorite port, but I am familiar with it, so I don’t mind.

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