(5:35 p.m. EDT) -- Carnival Corporation today signed an agreement with the Government of the Bahamas to develop two major port initiatives: a new cruise port destination on Grand Bahama Island, and a new expansion and pier for Holland America Line's Half Moon Cay.
The new cruise port destination on Grand Bahama will primarily be used by Carnival Cruise Line and represents an investment of over $100 million. The expansion and pier project for Half Moon Cay, utilized by both Holland America Line and Carnival Cruise Line, is valued at $80 million.
Pending environmental and permitting processes, construction for both projects is scheduled to start by the middle of 2020. Both play an important role in the country's recovery from the recent impacts of Hurricane Dorian; Grand Bahama Island, in particular, was hit by the storm. Carnival Corp. has committed to construction parameters for both projects that include being able to mostly withstand the impact of a Category 5 hurricane.
That timeline would allow Carnival's newest and largest ships – like the forthcoming Mardi Gras, scheduled to debut in summer of 2020 – to dock. The new project is to be located on the south side of the island and has been developed in cooperation with the Bahamian government and the Grand Bahama Port Authority.
The agreement was made official today at the Prime Minister's Office in Grand Bahama, with representatives from the Bahamian government and Carnival Corporation and Carnival Cruise Line in attendance.
"We are very pleased to announce that Carnival Corporation's projects in the Bahamas are full speed ahead," said Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert A. Minnis. "These developments and the significant investment in world-class tourism and hospitality operations are such a boon for our initiatives for national prosperity and economic stability."
Carnival says the new cruise destination will offer plenty of exciting features for cruisers, along with economic opportunities for local Bahamians. The company states that more details will be revealed over the coming months.
Holland America has over 40 scheduled cruises set to arrive in the Bahamas through the end of this year, most of which will call on Half Moon Cay. The current development on the island's western side covers just three percent of the total land and includes a tender marina.
The new addition is slated to be constructed on the northern part of the island, with a pier built to accommodate larger ships and eliminate the need to tender passengers ashore.
Together with the existing development on Half Moon Cay, the new port expansion will only account for 10 percent of the total land on Little San Salvador, leaving the remainder untouched as committed to in the original purchase agreement to maintain the island as a nature preserve and wild bird sanctuary.
Carnival Corporation notes that six of its nine brands include calls in The Bahamas, with stops including Freeport, Nassau, Half Moon Cay, and Princess Cays.
Carnival Corporation recently supported the delivery of nearly 3,000 tons of food and supplies to the Bahamas through an agreement with Tropical Shipping to aid in recovery from Hurricane Dorian. Two Carnival ships – Carnival Liberty and Carnival Pride – carried relieve supplies on voyages to Freeport, and Carnival Corporation brand conducted donation drives to support The Bahamas through Direct Relief and World Central Kitchen. To date, Carnival Cruise Line guests and employees have donated more than $500,000 to the two organizations supporting Bahamas relief efforts.
Along with donations from Carnival Corporation's philanthropic arm, Carnival Foundation, the Micky and Madeline Arison Family Foundation has also donated $2 million in funding and in-kind support towards relief efforts in the Bahamas.
"This is an exciting day for all of us involved with these two extraordinary development projects," said Giora Israel, Senior Vice President Global Port & Destination Development with Carnival Corporation. "We have been working with the prime minister and his staff for some time with a shared vision for our design plans, and we want to extend our sincere gratitude for their collaboration and partnership. Our collective goal is to maintain the reputation of The Bahamas as one of our most popular and welcoming destinations for years to come, and it is very rewarding to see our joint vision finalized with today's agreement."