Bahamas

Royal Caribbean CEO visits hurricane relief effort in The Bahamas

In:
08Sep2019

Royal Caribbean's top management met with Bahamian officials and its charity partners earlier today in Freeport, Bahamas to discuss its hurricane relief efforts.

Richard Fain, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Chairman and CEO and Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley arrived in Freeport as Navigator of the Seas helped distribute thousands of meals and supplies to continue the food relief effort in Grand Bahama in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.

Volunteers from Royal Caribbean’s offices in South Florida joined the effort by boarding Navigator of the Seas this week to assist with hurricane relief. Known as “Go Team” the group is assisting unload relief supplies and evacuee efforts.

Royal Caribbean crew members unloaded relief supplies and meals for distribution at Grand Bahama as part of the company’s disaster relief operation to bring relief supplies and 20,000 daily meals to the impacted community. Meals include sandwiches, proteins with rice and fruits and snacks. Navigator of the Seas is one of many Royal Caribbean ships that will visit Freeport until they can equip a field kitchen to continue the work from there.

As part of its relief efforts in Grand Bahama, Royal Caribbean worked with Bahamian officials to transport evacuees from Freeport, Grand Bahama, to Nassau, Bahamas onboard its ships.

“We can’t make every bad memory of Dorian go away. But we can start making things better—today,” said Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

First-hand look at Royal Caribbean's Hurricane Dorian disaster relief in The Bahamas

In:
Category: 
07Sep2019

In the days since Hurricane Dorian rolled through The Bahamas and inflicted a great deal of damage to many islands, Royal Caribbean has assembled a colossal relief effort by having its ships deliver much-needed supplies.  

Royal Caribbean invited us to join them on Mariner of the Seas to get a first-hand look at the hard work their crew, volunteers and staff are doing on a near daily basis across many ships to assist Bahamians who have had their lives disrupted by the storm.

From her homeport of Port Canaveral, Mariner of the Seas sails three and four night sailings to The Bahamas, and while many cruise guests are enjoying a fantastic cruise vacation, a veritable army of volunteer crew members from all types of roles across the ship report to the main dining room to assemble 10,000 meals.

Dancers, technicians, servers, officers and more prepared sandwiches, proteins with rice and fruits and snacks so that they can be distributed in a few short hours to locals in The Bahamas who desperately need it.

These crew members took a break from their personal time to join in the effort and ensure these meals would be ready for delivery on-time.

Beginning at 10:30pm, crew members worked tirelessly to assemble the meals, while occasionally breaking out into a song, cheering a crate being filled and otherwise sharing a smile with each other.  

Fast-forward a few hours later, and at daybreak carts after carts of food was standing by to be delivered into Freeport, Bahamas.

Royal Caribbean is working with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to help distribute the food to those that need it the most.  NEMA is part of The Bahamanian disaster management effort, and essentially Royal Caribbean provides the disaster relief supplies, as well as the manpower to load it for NEMA to distribute. 

A convoy of buses, trucks, and other private vehicles arrived to pick up the supplies. In less than 12 hours, food went from storage to packaged to on a vehicle to be delivered. 

 

 

In addition to the supplies delivered, Royal Caribbean also brought aboard hundreds of evacuees so that they could be taken out of Freeport and brought to Nassau, Bahamas. Evacuees enjoyed breakfast, beverages and a movie screening during the short voyage to Nassau. 

Earlier today, Mariner of the Seas became the third ship in Royal Caribbean International's fleet to provide such aid, and there are a number of other ships prepared to do the same in the coming days and weeks.

Royal Caribbean is committing $1 million to Dorian disaster relief and matching every dollar of guest and employee donations. To make sure those donations go where they can do the most good, they are collaborating with the Bahamian government and its non-profit partner, the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), and a network of Bahamian charities and other local organizations, including the Bahamas Feeding Network.

You can donate money by visiting the PADF site.

Royal Caribbean organizes first Bahamas relief efforts in Freeport

In:
06Sep2019

In the days since Hurricane Dorian devastated The Bahamas, Royal Caribbean has mobilized its cruise ships to begin bringing much needed supplies to affected areas.

Yesterday, Empress of the Seas became the first to activate the company’s disaster relief operation to bring relief supplies and 20,000 daily meals to the Freeport, Bahamas community.

Crewmembers prepared sandwiches, proteins with rice and fruits and snacks for the company’s first distribution at noon today. Over the next few days additional ships from its fleet — Symphony of the Seas, Celebrity Equinox, Mariner of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas — will repeat the process.

Guests sailing on Navigator of the Seas were informed their ship would spend Sunday morning in Grand Bahamas Island to assist with disaster relief, followed by its regularly scheduled visit to Nassau. In addition, Navigator of the Seas will bring aboard evacuees like, children, elderly, or those that need immediate medical attention, that will be transported to Nassau hospitals via tenders.

Thanks to Skyler for providing this letter

Mariner of the Seas will also perform similar relief efforts on Saturday, when she spends her morning in Grand Bahamas Island to assist with disaster relief.

Thanks to Amy for providing this letter

Along with Empress, the company is deploying container ships with much needed supplies including 47,000 bottles of water, 362 generators, 250 tarps, 25,000 square feet of plywood, 55,400 diapers and 7,500 pounds of pet food.

Royal Caribbean is committing $1 million to Dorian disaster relief and matchingevery dollar of guest and employee donations. To make sure those donations go where they can do the most good, they are collaborating with the Bahamian government and its non-profit partner, the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), and a network of Bahamian charities and other local organizations, including the Bahamas Feeding Network.

“We can’t make every bad memory of Dorian go away. But we can start making things better—today,” said Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

Royal Caribbean helps deliver first batch of relief supplies to Bahamas

In:
05Sep2019

Royal Caribbean announced hours after Hurricane Dorian devastated The Bahamas it would pledge $1 million in aid to the island, and the cruise line is already making good on that promise with the first batch of supplies loaded onto Empress of the Seas.

Guests sailing on Empress of the Seas were informed their ship would deliver much needed food, water, equipment and supplies to the people on Grand Bahama Island. Empress of the Seas was loaded with 10,000 meals, 10,000 bottles of water, as well as medical supplies, generators and other necessities.  The ship will dock off the coast of Grand Bahama Island to make the delivery, before resuming its cruise itinerary.

Thanks to Brad Garfinkel & Skip Bebout for providing this photo

Letters to guests were delivered to their stateroom to explain the extra stop.

Royal Caribbean pledges $1 million to Hurricane Dorian disaster relief

In:
Category: 
03Sep2019

In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, Royal Caribbean announced it is committing $1 million to Dorian disaster relief, and ITM—our partner in the Holistica joint venture that is developing the Grand Lucayan resort in Freeport—is also donating an additional $100,000.

Royal Caribbean will collaborate with the Bahamian government and non-profit partner, the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), and a network of Bahamian charities and other local organizations, including the Bahamas Feeding Network.

In a statement, Royal Caribbean elaborated on their relief effort plans, "We are loading all kinds of goods onto our ships— generators, water, cleaning supplies, clean sheets, towels, and more—for direct delivery to the Bahamas. The trained employee volunteers we call the GO Team are on their way to assist with relief efforts. And we’re taking special care of coworkers and their families who were affected by the storm."

"And we’re matching every dollar of guest and employee donations to PADF so they can help our friends as well."

If you want to contribute please follow this link (https://www.padf.org/hurricane-dorian-royal) and get started.

Royal Caribbean CEO hints at future plans for recent Freeport, Bahamas resort purchase

In:
Category: 
27May2019

Royal Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley made comments recently that hint at what the cruise line has planned for its recent purchase of the Grand Lucaya resort in Freeport, Bahamas.

In March 2019, Royal Caribbean signed a letter of intent with the government of The Bahamas for the purchase of the Grand Lucayan resort and redevelopment of the Freeport Harbor.

Tribune 242 reports Michael Bayley spoke to members of the Bahamian press at an opening ceremony for Perfect Day at CocoCay, "telling members of the press his company was positioning itself to spearhead a multi-million dollar, multi-phased project on par with CocoCay in Freeport if negotiations with the government are successful."

Mr. Bailey went on to say, “Just the fact that we are going to redevelop those hotels and beach, that whole area, it is going to be in the hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars. The amount of work that will be underway to regenerate that destination, it is going to be a few years, hundreds of millions of dollars, massive project work, and I think the economic impact is going to huge.”

State Minister for Grand Bahama Kwasi Thompson said the joint venture between RCI and its investment partner, the ITM Group, will not only combine the redevelopment of the Freeport Harbor as a cruise port of choice but will also transform the Grand Lucayan resort into a theme park, featuring water-based family entertainment, with dining, gaming and entertainment options and five-star hotel accommodations.

The development will take place over a 24-month period, with $65 million of the purchase price for the Grand Lucayan Resort.

Mr. Bayley did note RCI’s full project specs could not be revealed publicly until a finished deal is worked out between the two sides, and there is another 30-40 days of negotiations remaining.

Royal Caribbean purchases resort in Grand Bahama for development project

In:
Category: 
28Mar2019

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and ITM Group have signed a letter of intent with the government of The Bahamas for the purchase of the Grand Lucayan resort and redevelopment of the Freeport Harbor.

Tribune242 reports the letter of intent was signed and an initial $195 million investment. The development will take place over a 24-month period, with $65 million of the purchase price for the Grand Lucayan Resort.

The government expects an additional two million cruise passengers will be brought annually to Grand Bahama island. Once complete, a theme park and five-star hotel will be part of the redevelopment effort.

The Grand Lucayan suffered significant damage more than two-and-a-half years ago following Hurricane Matthew, which forced the closure of two-thirds of the property.

Royal Caribbean working on plans for port in Freeport, Grand Bahama

In:
Category: 
14Feb2019

It looks like Royal Caribbean is exploring the possibility of developing a cruise port in Freeport, Grand Bahama.

Photo by DandA

Tribune Business quoted Bahamas Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar, who indicated Royal Caribbean in partnership with Mexican port developer, ITM Group, is looking to acquire the Grand Lucayan and develop a proposed water-based, adventure-type theme park at both the resort and Freeport Harbour.

It looks like ITM Group and Royal Caribbean are looking to develop a new port in Freeport that can handle four new cruise ship berths in Freeport Harbour, which would double the port's current capacity.  The proposal has generated some concerns that the new port would come at the expense of cruise ship visits to Nassau.

D’Aguilar dismissed these concerns by stating, “Nassau will always stand on its own.”

Tribune Business quoted D’Aguilar, “I disagree with the view that, because Royal Caribbean and Carnival are building ports in Freeport, that will have a negative impact on Nassau. There are 90 ships in construction, and demand is growing significantly for cruise vacations."

The Bahamas celebrates Symphony of the Seas inaugural call on Nassau

In:
17Nov2018

Royal Caribbean’s brand new Symphony of the Seas sailed into Nassau November 14, marking a momentous occasion for both Royal Caribbean and The Bahamas.

On board for the inaugural cruise of the sleek white-hulled ship were a handful of invited guests including 200 members of international media who joined dignitaries, local VIPs and sailing guests for a lively ceremony in the ship’s iconic amphitheater at the stern.

“We are very excited to welcome you onboard Symphony of the Seas,” said Royal Caribbean International President & CEO Michael Bayley. “It’s the newest ship in our fleet and of course the largest cruise ship in the world. Today marks Symphony’s inaugural visit to Nassau, Bahamas, a destination that we visit also with the three sister ships of Symphony, that’s Oasis of the Seas, Allure and Harmony.”

Mr. Bayley cited Royal Caribbean’s strong ties to The Bahamas, recalling that the cruise line’s first ship made Nassau its first port of call in 1970.

“Today 25 of our ships are registered here in The Bahamas. We bring over 1.2 million vacationers to your beautiful islands so thank you for hosting us. We plan on keeping coming back to The Bahamas. Our plan by 2021 is almost 1.75 million visitors to The Bahamas coming with Royal Caribbean. We also plan to extend the amount of time spent in port so our guests can do, see and spend more in your beautiful islands.”

With ships like Symphony of the Seas, Royal Caribbean hopes to increase the number of visitoris to more than 1.77 million by 2021.

She arrived with invited guests only on board, including travel industry partners, international media and high-ranking officials to a rousing welcome hosted by the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism which pulled out all the stops. Dignitaries including Cabinet member Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands and Environment and Housing Minister Romauld Ferreira, Senators, Members of Parliament, officials including Defence Force Commodore Tellis Bethel, Director of Works Melanie Roach, former Cabinet ministers and heads of nearly every department of government along with vendors, attractions operators, leading business people, hoteliers, Bahamas Taxi Union, Musicians’ Union, Straw Market and Hair Braiders Association representatives were treated to musical performances and a three-course luncheon. Dignitaries including Miami- Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez were ushered aboard by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Band. Inside, the Royal Bahamas Police Force Band entertained along with the Gerald Cash Rhythm ‘n Youth band. Travel partners and guests rushed with Colours Junkanoo, capping off the ceremony that included a key, gift and plaque exchange between the ship’s agents, United Shipping, and Captain Rob Hempstead.

Excursion Focus: British Colonial Hilton in Nassau, Bahamas

In:
03Apr2017

Odds are if you take a Royal Caribbean cruise to somewhere in the Caribbean, there is a good chance you will stop in Nassau, Bahamas.  Nassau is one of the busiest cruise ports in the region, and offers quite a variety of shore excursions to consider.

On a recent stop in Nassau while on Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas, we decided to check out a well-respected resort just steps away from the port that offers a day pass for guests to enjoy their facilities without breaking our budget.  

Description

Located a short walk from the cruise terminal in Nassau, the British Colonial Hilton resort faces the entrance to Nassau harbor, and offers guests full access to the resort's pristine beach and pool. Guests that want to enjoy pool and beach time will find a convenient option on lovely grounds. The resort underwent an extensive refurbishment in 2009.

We reserved our spot at the British Colonial Hilton through a third-party website, ResortForADay.com.  The site will reserve each person a place at the resort, which only sells a limited amount of day passes. The day pass includes

  • $40 food and beverage credit per paid adult
  • $20 food and beverage credit per paid child
  • Beach access
  • Beachfront swimming pool
  • Towels, pool chairs and lounges
  • Beach chairs and lounges, umbrellas
  • Non-motorized water sports: kayaks, snorkeling gear

Transportation to and from the resort is not provided, but considering the location of the British Colonial Hilton to the cruise port, it is largely unnecessary if a leisurely 10 minute walk is not out of the question. If you need to take a cab, the price is $9.00 based on two and $3.00 for each additional person. The cab ride is also 10 minutes away from the hotel.

Arriving at the resort, you will enter the cavernous lobby to check-in.  The day pass is good from 9am until sunset. The bar takes the last food orders at 4.30pm with the bar closing at 5pm. Guest are welcome to stay in outdoor pool / beach area until sunset, however the lifeguard leaves at 5:00.

Following check-in, guests receive a special wristband and can then head to the pool and/or beach.

The pool area is located just outside the lobby, past the lush garden. It is a good sized pool, with a shallow and deep end, suitable for anyone that is comfortable to swim.

There are also lots of lounge chairs surrounding the pool, but shaded spots are quite limited.  In fact, at the pool the only shad provided comes from trees, so if shade is important to you, be sure to arrive early in the morning to grab a spot.  If all else fails, there is shade under the bar.

The beach area is quite large, and offers a great view of Nassau harbor.  In fact, it is a fantastic spot to watch cruise ships arriving or leaving, provided you happen to be there when such an event occurs.

Your day pass admission also includes a food and beverage credit, which is enough money to cover a lunch entree and cocktail.  The patio bar food and drink pricing is on the expensive side. Most entrees are around $20 and a cocktail will set you back about $15.  Keep in mind that your food and beverage credit does not cover gratuity or taxes.

Comments

When we considered the British Colonial Hilton, we wanted to spend our day in Nassau with the option of spending our time in the ocean of pool without spending a ton.  We travel with two young children (ages six and two), so trying to predict if the pool or beach will be to their liking is always tough, and the British Colonial Hilton seemed to fit our group needs.

For the price, I felt like we got exactly what we wanted from our day at the Hilton.  While other resort day pass excursions may have offered more to do than the British Colonial Hilton, we felt like the resort offered a great experience at a reasonable price. The resort grounds are immaculately well-kept, and our kids had a blast swimming for nearly the entire day in the pool.

The most obvious alternative we considered was a day pass to the nearby Atlantis resort, but the price difference was massive.  Certainly Atlantis offers quite a bit more to do in an even more luxurious backdrop, however, the price for us was too much to consider.

The two negatives that I noticed from my time at the British Colonial Hilton were the lack of shade at the pool, and the very high price for food and drink.  We were lucky to have arrived before most of the other day pass guests, because we snagged shade under one of the few trees by the pool.  The food and drink prices are something to be aware of, and I would advise only indulging enough to use up your credits.  The cocktail prices make Royal Caribbean's drink prices look like a bargain, so your best bet is to skip the binge drinking for somewhere else.

Overall, we really enjoyed our time at the British Colonial Hilton because it was exactly what we were looking for: a relaxing spot for pool and beach time that would suit our family's needs. 

Cost: $65 per adult, $30 per child (ages 6-12. Children 5 and under are free).

Pages