Royal Caribbean to Bring Life Back to Grand Bahama Island

Royal Caribbean has purchased the Grand Lucayan on Grand Bahama Island, will restore the hotel in 2 phases, add a casino, water park and shopping. The company has also stated they will restore the cruise port to ultimately fit 7 ships.

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The Government of The Bahamas sold the Grand Lucayan on Monday, March 2, 2020 to a partnership between Royal Caribbean International and ITM (Bahamas Port Investments Ltd.), which is expected to make a $250 million investment between the hotel and the redevelopment of the cruise port. The Heads of Agreement Signing Ceremony was held on the Great Lawn of the property, some 11 months following the signing of the Letter of Intent on Wednesday, March 27, 2019.

Prime Minister of The Bahamas, the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis, described the day as a wonderful one as the government’s intention was never to hold on to the property but initially purchased it to save jobs of Grand Bahamians and businesses. “As we stated at the time, it was our intention to privatize the property as quickly as possible.

We wanted to ensure that we found the right buyer who shared our vision for the renewal of Grand Bahama. Our vision was the renewal and rebirth of Grand Bahama’s tourism sector and product as an essential element in the restoration of this island’s potential.”

The Prime Minister also noted that discussions are currently ongoing to determine the best way to redevelop the Grand Bahama International Airport, which will require a major investment.

Minister of Tourism & Aviation, the Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar, said, “I am extremely excited that the intended purchasers of this hotel are Royal Caribbean and the ITM Group. Between them they are well funded to bring to the table a great deal of experience in the tourism sector and have a proven track record of successful projects.”

The development projected for the Grand Lucayan will bring about a total transformation of the resort. Hundreds of millions of dollars will be invested into the property to refurbish, renovate, reconstruct 500 rooms in Phase One and another 500 rooms along with 500 villas in Phase Two. Additional features will include a new casino, a spectacular water theme park and a new shopping, restaurant and retail center.

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In addition, a new cruise port will be built in the Freeport Harbour to accommodate three ships in Phase One and up to seven ships in subsequent phases. As a result of the purchase 3,000 direct and indirect jobs will be created in construction as well as in employment at the hotel and cruise port.

Minister of State for Grand Bahama, Senator the Hon. J. Kwasi Thompson, gave welcome remarks. Also giving remarks were Robert Shamosh, Chief Executive Officer, Holistica Destinations; Mauricio Hamui, Chief Executive Officer, ITM; and Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International.

Also in attendance were Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Peter Turnquest and other Ministers of Cabinet, Members of Parliament, Permanent Secretaries, Senior Government Officials, representatives from the business community, taxi drivers, and straw vendors.

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Royal Caribbean Signs Agreement to Bring Royal Beach Club to Antigua

Royal Caribbean has announced it has signed an agreement with the government of Antigua and Barbuda to bring the Royal Beach Club to the island of Antigua.

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Created exclusively for Royal Caribbean guests, the Royal Beach Club at Antigua will sit along more than a half-mile of pristine beachfront and combine the island’s striking beaches with the cruise line’s signature service and amenities. The ultimate beach club experience will offer guests exceptional views from private cabanas and a stunning pool with a swim-up bar, complemented by locally inspired experiences. Featuring regional fare, island-style BBQs, live music, along with thrills such as jet skis, paddle boarding, snorkeling, and a family splash pad, the beach club will make for an unforgettable day at the beach.

Symphony of the Seas comes to Antigua

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Royal Caribbean also went on to say they are also committed to bringing the Symphony of the Seas to the island. Symphony will be the first Oasis Class ship to visit the island nation with a call on Nov 3rd, 2020 to the capital city of St. John.

 

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VIDEO: 2020 Additions to Perfect Day at CocoCay Full Overview and Video Review

What’s new in 2020 at Perfect Day at CocoCay?

On January 31st, 2020 Royal Caribbean officially opened Coco Beach Club, the final neighborhood in the Phase 1 expansion of their private island in the Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay. We’ve put together a full review video of what’s new on the island, including Coco Beach Club with it’s Bora Bora style bungalows, the revamped South Beach and the rest of the neighborhoods on the island. Join us as we dive into everything new at Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private island in the Bahamas.

 

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Getting Around Ft. Lauderdale – Port Everglades

Here are some transportation tips for your next cruise out of Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Like most metropolitan cities, Ft. Lauderdale offers a multitude of public transportation as well as Taxis and ride sharing such as Uber and Lyft. However Ft. Lauderdale also has many ways to get around that you probably didn’t know about. Some cost as low as $1 and some are even free.

Electric Scooters

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These scooters were launched in the Ft. Lauderdale area during the weekend of Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, October 2018. Electric scooters immediately became all the rage, so much that there are 4 or more companies that have their scooters around town. They cost $1 to unlock and about .24 cents for every minute after that.
Download the Bird, Lime or Bolt app and stay off the beaches. The scooter will automatically stop if you enter zones that are restricted.

Sun Trolley

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A charming way to get around the downtown and beach area is by trolley. It costs $1 per ride or $3 for an all-day pass. Cash only.
From Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to the Las Olas Boulevard operates six routes that each have their own respective schedule.

Visit www.suntrolley.com for more information.

Free Electric Ride-Share

There happen to be 2 in the South Florida area:

Circuit

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Circuit is similar to Uber or Lyft but completely free.  Electric ride-share cars that service Fort Lauderdale Beach and Select locations in Downtown Fort Lauderdale.
For more information and to download the app visit www.ridecircuit.com

Freebee

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For more information and to download the app visit ridefreebee.com

Water Taxi

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The Water Taxi is technically transportation as there are may stops you can get on and off from but it is so much more. Each vessel has a bar on board as well as a highly knowledgeable and entertaining crew. Prices starting at $14.00. For more information visit WaterTaxi.com and watch this video.

 

 

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VIDEO: January 25, 2020 Miami Sail Aways

We took a ride down to Port Miami for the sail away of the Symphony of the Seas and caught 6 additional cruise ships making their way down Government Cut heading for the open ocean for the start of an amazing vacation. The weather was perfect and the seas were calm. So calm that a group of teenagers decided to have a little fun jumping off the pier in South Point Park. Watch it all here in 4k.

 

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VIDEO: January 18-19, 2020 Sail Aways

Watching our favorite ships sail away as they leave the port is always an impressive sight to see! We decided to head over to Fort Lauderdale beach and hang out on the jetty with other tourists as they waved goodbye to friends and family as their cruise left the port.

On Saturday, January the 18th we caught the Adventure of the Seas leave Port Everglades along with a few other ships.

 

We then came back on Sunday, January 19th to bid the Allure of the Seas farewell.

 

Hearing the thunderous horns of the ships as they leave the harbor is always an amazing sight to see and hear!

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Labadoozie Recipe

If your sailing on a Royal Caribbean ship, there’s a high chance you will be making a stop to their private resort in Haiti called Labadee. We made a stop there during our last cruise and we discovered a special cocktail that left an impression on us at this floating bar that we didn’t notice in our previous 2 visits.

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All the way to the back of the resort, just under the Zipline is a beach called Adrenaline Beach. If you look to the left of the day beds you’ll find a bar floating in the middle of the water with chickee huts to the right.

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The only way to get to the bar is by swimming but once you climb up on the deck you must order an alcoholic beverage called the Labadoozie. It’s a punch that’s packed with tropical flavors that remind you why you love cruising so much.

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If it will be a while before you can call one of those majestic Royal ships your temporary home, then here is a recipe that will make you close your eyes and wish you were on an island somewhere with the sand between your toes.

🍹Labadoozie recipe

Makes one cocktail

  • 1/2 oz Orange Juice Concentrate
  • 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice Concentrate
  • 1/2 oz Papaya Juice Concentrate
  • 1/2 oz Coconut Cream
  • 3/4 oz Dark Rum
  • 3/4 oz Coconut Rum
  • 1/4 oz Grenadine
  • Crushed ice

Mix

Enjoy

 

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Jungle Queen Riverboat Cruise

Looking for something to do pre or post cruise in Fort Lauderdale? The Jungle Queen Riverboat dinner cruise is a fantastic way to see a different side of Fort Lauderdale and be fed and entertained at the same time. Check out the video review by Apple and Rob below.

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What To Do at Port in Cozumel, Mexico

My first time in Cozumel was on my very first cruise several years back and I loved it. At then end of that trip I told my now husband that he should have never taken me on a cruise, on the Allure of the seas with a balcony none the less, because I was hooked and I was going to cost him a lot of money wanting to cruise all the time. Luckily we were on the same page. We rented a Jeep, drove around, ate some tacos, drank some cerveza and explored some neat ruins. On our second time back in 2018 we went racing on 1980’s Americas cup sailing yachts, which unfortunately are now in St. Maarten since theirs needed replacing from Hurricane Irma.

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We always have a great time when we go to Cozumel and the one thing we don’t want to do is get stuck with a big group on an excursion, be confined to one place and not have the freedom to explore. If you are like us then here are some ways to experience the island on your own.

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Rent a car or scooter

Don’t go with the first company you see, search around a bit and compare pricing. There are several rental companies which gives you a good bargaining position. It comes down to your bargaining skills how much you will pay for the rental. Try to have some pesos with you instead of paying in USD. And if you could, negotiate in Spanish. If you locate a rental company that is not the few set up right when you get off the ship, then it may serve you better to exclude that you are from a cruise ship and you are staying at a local hotel to get a better price.

If the 49cc scooters are to slow for you, there is an Eagle Rider a short walk up the street from the port.

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Eat at Coconuts and you might see some coconuts

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It may not be the most kid friendly place on the island so beware but it was a fun little spot with a nice view. Coconuts is nicely decorated with funny t-shirts and there is a special chair where women show their coconuts. We’ve seen it…

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Every time I visit a new place I am always in search of the best authentic food. It is a little difficult to do this when the whole island is touristy, however we really did enjoy the tacos, friendly staff and the views…

Have some fajitas and cerveza with a view

On our second trip to Cozumel, a local recommended a nice place to grab a bite after we went sailing. To our surprise, halfway through our meal we spotted them at the bar ordering. They weren’t wrong for recommending it. The view was beautiful and the food was very tasty. It was a little bit of a walk back to our ship but it was a nice and peaceful meal with a gorgeous view of the sailboats we just raced as well as our ship.

Sunset Restaurant

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After every sip of his cervesa, Rob sang he was just gonna sit right here and have another beer in Mexico.

Soak up the sights and take a dip in the beaches

When we rented the Jeep on our first visit to Cozumel, the gentleman gave us a map an marked places to go, beaches to avoid and where to eat.

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So we hopped in the Jeep and just drove all the way around making as many stops as possible. The beaches are not white and sandy so keep that in mind for when you’re packing. Think about getting a good pair of water shoes for all the rocks. 

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After stopping at all the beaches, other smaller archaeological sites and checking out a few shops, we spent the remainder of the day walking around San Gervasio.

Explore the ruins all over the island

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The ruins around the island may not be the famous Chichen Itza but Tulum is a 2 1/2 hour drive and ferry ride if you’re feeling risky. San Gervasio is an archaeological site of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization, the largest of all the sites in Cozumel and can be found in the northern third of the island. The ruins were once a hub of worship of the goddess Ix Chel, an aged deity of childbirth, fertility, medicine, and weaving.

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The best part of exploring the ruins were all the stories we made up about what could have happened on the very paths we walked. The admission is $9.50 which wasn’t bad for walking around and experiencing a bit of history. 

Go Sailing

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I really really want to share the amazing experience we had sailing the Americas Cup sailing yachts. However True North and Stars and Stripes are no longer in Cozumel since they replaced the sailing yachts from St. Maartin after hurricane Irma. But the company should get the credit they deserve. There are many other experiences you can do similar to this one. This excursion can be booked through the cruise lines but we actually found them online and booked directly. If your itinerary takes you to St. Maartin and it is something you like to do, here is their website https://www.12metre.com/.

The experience is two sailing yachts from past America’s Cups race each other and we are the crew. The existing crew places you in a task, depending on your preference and physical ability (or you could just sit and watch), and the captain pumps you up and after your bit of training and practice, the first mate goes over the strategy with us.

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Rob and I are sailors and have a small sailboat so to sail on something that goes a lot faster than the 5 knots our baby does, was very exciting!

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We sailed on True north and lost to Stars and Stripes by 1 foot!! It was still a wonderful experience and they had cocktails waiting for us when we returned to shore as well as pictures for sale that they took from the tender.

I don’t have to tell you Google is your friend, but it is, especially when your exploring on your own. Most cellphone carriers let you use data for free in Mexico so make sure to give them a call before your cruise and double check all the places you will be visiting.

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Carnival Ship Almost Hits Oasis of the Seas While She Crashes Into Another

A Carnival ship crashes into another Carnival ship and almost hit a Royal Caribbean ship at the port in Cozumel, Mexico. Carnival Glory, based in New Orleans, had left on Dec. 15 for its 7 day Caribbean sail and was scheduled to return on Dec. 22. The ship was attempting to dock when it hit a Carnival Legend ship this Friday morning, according to a statement from the cruise line.

“We are assessing the damage but there are no issues that impact the seaworthiness of either ship. We have advised guests from both ships to enjoy their day ashore in Cozumel,” the statement added.

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While guests were evacuating the dining room on Decks 3 and 4 thankfully only six passengers sustained minor injuries. And while the ship sustained some damage, neither of the ship’s itineraries were impacted by the incident, the company said.

“Carnival Glory had an allision with Carnival Legend this morning in Cozumel. Carnival Glory was maneuvering to dock when it made contact with Carnival Legend which was already alongside,” the representative said.

“We are assessing the damage but there are no issues that impact the seaworthiness of either ship. We have advised guests from both ships to enjoy their day ashore in Cozumel.

“There is one reported minor injury of a Carnival Glory guest that occurred when a group of guests were evacuated from the dining room on Decks 3 and 4,” the rep added.

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Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas was near the collision and almost hit, but a spokesperson for the cruise line said that ship didn’t sustain any damage. Watch the videos below.

 

 

 

 

 

*update*

The captain of the Carnival Glory confirmed an investigation into the cause of the accident, which the company currently believes was due to “spontaneous wind gusts and strong currents.”

“A formal investigation is underway to confirm the cause of the accident, which we believe was due to spontaneous wind gusts and strong currents. The ship has been inspected by the required authorities and there are no issues that impact our ability to sail safely back to New Orleans.”

Carnival Cruise Line confirmed the Platinum Restaurant dining area was damaged by the collision and guests planning to dine that evening were accommodated. The company also stated they will be extending a $100, per stateroom, onboard credit to your Sail & Sign account.

The ship left port in Cozumel on Friday evening at approximately 9 p.m. CST. which stayed docked in Cozumel longer than anticipated, Carnival says, to “complete some of our work.”

 


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Sources:

https://abcnews.go.com/International/carnival-cruise-assessing-damage-ships-collision/story?id=67851438

https://www.foxnews.com/travel/carnival-cruise-ships-collide-cozumel-mexico