Thursday, September 2, 2010

Bahamas eyes $600,000 Earl cruise spend gain

By CHESTER ROBARDS

Tribune Business Reporter- THE BAHAMAS this week enjoyed cruise passengers spending gains of almost $600,000 through four ships being diverted to this nation due to Hurricane Earl, Ministry of Tourism figures revealed yesterday.

While total revenue gains from the four unexpected arrivals totalled almost $1 million, two other ships that normally call in the Bahamas were rerouted to their western Caribbean routes to avoid the massive storm, created a loss of almost $400,000. As a result, the Ministry estimated that the net spending boost was around $600,000

Carnival Cruise Lines rerouted its Carnival Pride toward Grand Bahama in lieu of a route to Grand Turk, while the Carnival Dream was placed on its western Caribbean itinerary.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines' mega vessel, the Oasis of the Seas, was unable to make its eastern Caribbean ports of call and was instead rerouted to the western Caribbean, which includes Nassau. Royal Caribbean's Monarch cancelled its Coco Cay route, overnighting at Prince George Dock last night.

Norwegian Cruise Line's mega vessel, the Epic, is expected to spend three extra hours in port in Nassau on Friday, while the Jewel also spent last night in Nassau harbour.

Representatives from Princess Cruises and Disney Cruise Line said in the Hurricane Earl Cruise Impact study obtained by Tribune Business that there were no changes for their respective ships, adding that the Emerald Princess is sailing in the western Caribbean, while the Disney Wonder is sailing a Bahamas and Florida cruise.

Minister of Tourism, Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, said cruise itineraries have been changing by the minute all day due to the storm. He said that while the storm has helped the Bahamas gain some cruise revenue through added ships, others have opted out of the Bahamas itinerary.

"We have a net gain of ships coming in," said Mr Vanderpool-Wallace. "Of course, this is a situation that is in flux. We are ahead in terms of the total impact, but we are losing some ships and we are gaining others."

Tropical Storm Fiona, which is following directly behind Hurricane Earl, could cause similar shifts in cruise itineraries over the next few days.

Meanwhile, Bahamian resorts were yesterday reporting minimal impact on bookings and arrivals from Earl's presence. Robert Sands, the Bahamas Hotel Association's (BHA) president, told Tribune Business: "To date, we have had not reports of cancellations.

"We've had no indication to date of any impact on bookings, but we will be monitoring this and sending updates every three to four hours to our members."

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