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16,000 cruise passengers diverted to NP as a result of hurricanes

Downtown Nassau has been bustling the past few days as back-to-back hurricanes in the Caribbean force cruise ships to divert to Nassau, to avoid bad weather and in some cases, ports damaged by storms.

Chief Executive Officer of Nassau Cruise Port (NCP) Limited Mike Maura told Guardian Business yesterday that between September 21 and Sept 30, five ships would have been diverted to Nassau due to the passage of Hurricane Fiona and Hurricane Ian.

He explained that the ships will bring 16,000 cruise passengers to Nassau who would not have called on the port if not for the storms.

According to Maura, Carnival Cruise Line has had to cancel calls to Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos after Fiona damaged that island’s docking facilities.

Hurricane Ian has now caused more diversions as it exits the Caribbean and bears down on Florida.

According to Maura, the ships that will come to NCP to avoid the weather are the Carnival Legend, MSC Seashore, Scarlett Lady, Carnival Mardi Gras and Carnival Freedom.

Maura said there are “no changes needed” to accommodate the movements of the added 16,000 people over the four days of diversions.

Nassau’s cruise port remains a construction zone and NCP has expertly juggled the movement of thousands of passengers with the movement of construction workers and heavy equipment.

The cruise port has been posting large numbers of cruise ship calls this year and impressive forward bookings into next year.

Earlier this year, NCP had its first-ever six-ship day, signifying that the cruise industry began to rebound in earnest amid the COVID-19 pandemic. On that day in March, more than 10,700 passengers came aboard the six ships. The port has had more six-ship days since then. A newly completed pier extension able to accommodate the world’s largest ships made six-ship days possible at the port. The extension is part of the larger transformation of Nassau’s cruise port, scheduled to be mostly completed by the middle of 2023.