(9:35 a.m. EDT) -- Forget Falmouth, Jamaica: There's a new custom-built Western Caribbean port with duty-free jewelry stores, themed bars and an artisans market to bite into. Development began this month on Banana Coast, a cruise destination in Trujillo, Honduras.
When completed in late 2012, the port on the island's north coast will have a two-ship dock capable of handling post-panamax mega-vessels. In addition to the pier-side amenities, which also include a beach and a pair of restaurants, Banana Coast will offer easy access to a full menu of eco-excursions. Think snorkeling, fishing and monkey sightings.
The town of Trujillo, which was first visited by Columbus in 1502 and founded by Spanish conquistadors in 1524, may provide some other tour options for day-trippers (historic fort, plaza). It's 45 miles south of Roatan, a popular cruise port.
Banana Coast is being designed by OBM International, the same firm that put Carnival's Grand Turk Cruise Center and Royal Caribbean's private island of CocoCay on the cruise map. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the port's evocative name is derived from the industry that thrived there from the 1920's through the 1940's.
So which lines are going? Well, no one that we can find as of yet. "We have only announced the first part of our 2013 deployment. This portion does not include Trujillo," said Norwegian Cruise Line spokeswoman Amanda Graham. Princess also told us that the line "currently doesn't have any stops scheduled to Trujullo." It's the same story for Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean International and Azamara Club Cruises.
We're waiting to hear from Holland America and Carnival.
--by Dan Askin, News Editor