When Voyager, Explorer and Navigator of the Seas made their final trips to the Bahamas' Nassau last week the rumor mills began buzzing that Royal Caribbean was abandoning the Bahamas. The real truth is of course -- no. The line, which had already announced new deployments for its Voyager class ships that called at Nassau, still maintains a Bahamian presence via its smaller Majesty and Sovereign of the Seas.
Still, the loss of three of the world's biggest ships does have an impact, not only for passengers who want more choices but also for the destination itself.
Interestingly, Freedom and Liberty of the Seas, Royal Caribbean's new biggest-ever ships, are deployed in the region. But they will not include calls at Nassau on their itineraries and that's because of size restrictions, Royal Caribbean's Harrison Liu tells us. Indeed, according to the Bahama Journal, Bahamian ports are not able to accommodate those larger ships because they require more inner harbor space for safe maneuvering.
The Bahama Journal noted that the line reached out to the tourism ministry in 2004 about their impending fleet upgrades, but no action has been taken to improve the harbor -- yet. The tourism ministry does expect to expand the harbor to accommodate the larger vessels, though no timeline has been set.
Other cruise lines that visit Nassau regularly include Disney, Holland America, Costa, Celebrity and Carnival.
Royal Caribbean does not currently include Freeport, another Bahamas stop, on its itineraries.
--by Melissa Baldwin, Senior Editor
Is Royal Caribbean Abandoning the Bahamas?
June 29, 2007