Private islands on cruise lines used to be sand beaches with a few bars, a few eateries, and a kid's playground of some sort. Spending a day at one of them was basically a day at the beach, perhaps a peaceful day by the crystal clear ocean.
In many instances, a tender is a small ship that transports passengers from the ship to the island, making the entire process quite cumbersome.
Royal Caribbean (RCL) - Get Royal Caribbean Group Report changed that in 2019 when it debutedits revamped CocoCay destination
The island also had a dock that could accommodate two Oasis-class ships, allowing passengers to walk off the cruise ship onto the island without having to walk off the ship. The cruise line also added an added-fee waterpark, a massive pool, and a private beach club.
CocoCay became a multifaceted destination where passengers could choose for a quiet day or choose from a myriad of other activities.
CocoCay has also become a revenue driver for the cruise line thanks to the addition of the beach club, the waterpark, zip lines, and rides on a tethered hot air balloon on the island.
Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL) - Get Carnival Corporation Report, after a fashion has a plan to compete with what Royal Caribbean has built.
Carnival and the Royal Caribbean are planning to develop destinations.
Royal Caribbean and Carnival continue to build larger cruise ships, and that limits where those ships may dock. That makes it vital that the cruise lines have destinations that appeal to passengers. Private islands like CocoCay serve as sort of extensions of these new massive ships.
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Royal Caribbean has a less developed island in Labadee, Haiti, and is planning a private beach club in Nassau, Bahamas. This would be a private island experience with beaches, a pool, and dining options.
Carnival has a similar strategy on Grand Bahama Island, and while the cruise company has been largely quiet about its ongoing work on the island, it met with local businesses and residents in late July to update them on the project.
The meeting took place at the Grand Lucayan, a property that Royal Caribbean once agreed to purchase. It was held to answer questions about the project, which is expected to generate around 1,000 jobs.
In an earlier press release, Carnival President Christine Duffy said the Bahamas has been a valued partner and vibrant destination for Carnival for 50 years.
What Is the Carnival Plan for Grand Bahama?
The new development has been dubbed a "port destination" by the cruise line. It's a cross between a traditional port and a private island.
The Grand Bahama cruise port destination, which is being developed on the south side of the island, will "continue to serve as a gateway to Grand Bahama while also offering guests a distinctive Bahamian experience with many exciting amenities and business opportunities for the residents of Grand Bahama."
Once completed, the new port destination will accommodate two of the cruise line's largest Excel-class ships. One of those, Mardi Gras, exists now, while Celebration will begin sailing later this year.
"Guests will be able to explore and enjoy Grand Bahama by sea, via a dedicated shore excursion dock, or by land, via a dedicated ground transportation hub," according to Carnival.
"The cruise port itself will also include a nature preserve and an interior pool area, as well as many Bahamian-operated retail, dining, and beverage options for guests."