It’s been more than three months since Hurricane Dorian, the Category 5 hurricane, wreaked havoc on the Bahamas. Comprised of more than 700 islands and cays, and spread over 100,000 square miles of ocean, the Bahamas start just 50 miles off Florida’s coast. Despite the big damage that Dorian caused, only two islands were affected in the Bahamas – Grand Bahama and Abaco Islands. Thankfully, 14 more Islands in the Bahamas are ready to welcome visitors including Nassau, Paradise Island and most of the Out Islands.
“The Bahamas is a resilient nation and we are fortunate that the majority of our islands were not impacted and continue to welcome visitors,” says The Bahamas Minister of Tourism and Aviation, Dionysia D’Aguilar. “Our warm and friendly people, clear blue waters and our famous swimming pigs are presently greeting visitors and cruise passengers from around the world.”
The tourism industry is vital to the Bahamas as they rebuild. “We are very grateful for the outpouring of support and love for our islands and would like everyone to know that the best thing they can do for us right now is to visit…,” states D’Aguilar. “Our beautiful island nation is ready to welcome you.”
Several cruise lines are resuming calls to ports in the Bahamas including Freeport and Nassau, often part of Eastern Caribbean itineraries from South Florida. “Cruise ships and ferries are taking passengers to ports in Nassau and the Out Islands daily,” adds D’Aguilar. In addition, Grand Bahama Island has begun to receive visitors on cruise ships and at several of its major hotels. “The airport and attractions plan to reopen by November,” he continues.
According to Norwegian Cruise Line’s Website blog, Norwegian has resumed weekly cruises to the Bahamas. While Hurricane Dorian affected the Northern Bahamas, spots like Nassau were mostly spared, said the post. Also, Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island in the Bahamas, is open and boasts private cabanas, villas, and a spa center.
Likewise, Carnival Cruise Line announced it will resume regular calls to Grand Bahama. Between now and the end of the year, Carnival expects to host 39 calls in Freeport, bringing more than 100,000 visitors to the destination and providing a significant impact to the local economy. For the full year, over 400,000 guests will visit Grand Bahama on a Carnival cruise vacation aboard 10 different ships sailing from nine different U.S. homeports.
“Carnival Cruise Line is proud to be such a big year-round supporter for cruise tourism to Freeport, so we are very excited to provide our guests the opportunity to again visit this popular destination,” said Terry Thornton, Carnival’s senior vice president of nautical and port operations. “Cruise ship visits are important to the local economy and our shore excursion team has been working closely with local tour operators and has confirmed a variety of attractive onshore excursions for our guests.”
Additional major cruise lines are also calling on the Bahamas. According to Travel Weekly, two other lines within the Carnival umbrella of brands have resumed ship calls to their private islands: Princess Cruises’ Princess Cays and Holland America Line’s Half Moon Cay.
The Bahamas is open for business and eager for tourism to return to pre-hurricane levels. Not only can you score some great last-minute deals, but your vacation to paradise will have a fundamentally positive impact on their local economy.
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