Hurricane sparks record-breaking cruise passenger count for Nassau, Bahamas

Nassau, Bahamas

First reported by the a local  paper on Thursday, seven cruise ships were brought into the port of Nassau to seek refuge from Hurricane Rina on Wednesday.

We had a chance to speak to Carla Stuart, Director of Cruise Development in Nassau, Bahamas, and asked if this was the first time Nassau had seen seven cruise ships in one day and how’d it work logistically?

“In previous years, the Port has been able to berth 5 ships of a length of 800 feet.   We were quite pleased, that with the Government’s recent improvements to the harbour, that we were able to accommodate 7 ships which were larger than  800 feet.  We were also extremely greatly to our local harbour pilots who brought the ships in and maximized the space usage,” she told us.

As for the passenger count, she told us, “A total of 17,762 passengers and 6,935 crew arrived.  We have come close to these numbers on a few occasions, particularly with 5 berths filled and at least 2 or 3 of the newer vessels in port at the same time- Oasis class ship, the Carnival’s large ship, etc.”

The surge in passengers was needed after Hurricane Irene shut cruise ship traffic down for a few days this past August.

The seven ships that were in Nassau included four Carnival ships, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, and Norwegian Cruise Line. The estimated tourism revenue has not yet been released.

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Photo credit:  Flickr/Rasberrycremebrule

2 Responses

  1. My husband and I were on the Carnival Destiny headed to the Grand Cayman when the decision was made to turn around and head for Nassau. We pulled in to port just after 7am on Wednesday, there were 2 cruise ships already docked, and I watched from our balcony off the back of the ship the other 4 cruise ships pull in behind us. Thank you, Nassau, for being able to accomodate all of us at the same time.

    That’s the good news, the bad news is that almost everyone of the ships released its passengers at the same time to converge on Nassau. Needless to say, that many people swarming towards the straw market, the mopeds, snorkeling tours, Atlantis, and other places of interest caused some very unhappy moments. However, the worst part was in trying to make it back to the ship before it sailed. We took a harbor ferry to Paradise Island and walked to Cabbage Beach. From there we went to Atlantis and had lunch finishing at about 2:30pm. I suggested we stay and play at the casino for 30 minutes or so but my husband said no, let’s head back to towards the ferry dock. It’s a good thing we did because the lack of organization in selling and collecting the ferry tickets, loading the passengers, and actually taking off from the dock took almost an hour. It was almost a disaster. Too many people, too few ferrys, greedy ferry captain wanting as many paying customers as possible on one small boat, it’s a miracle we didn’t sink! By the time we docked back at the straw market, fought through the crowds to get to the Port Authority, stood in line to go through Customs, and started walking the pier back to the ship it was 4:15. We had to be back on board the Destiny by 4:30pm. We just made it. If I could offer one suggestion….be aware of time and do not relie on the skills and organization of the non-U.S. countries tour operators. We actually left 4 passengers in Ochos Rios because the snorkeling tour they were on forgot that there was ship time and Jamaica time. I was very concerned that the same thing would happen to us in the Bahamas when I saw how poorly organized and operated the ferry boats were.

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