Sunday, 20 February 2011

NCL's Great Bahamas Upgrade

Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that it has completed the first phase of enhancements at Great Stirrup Cay (above), the line’s 250-acre private island in the Bahamas.

The company has opened a new marina and dining facility on the island, representing a significant milestone in the more than $20 million enhancement project currently under way.

Norwegian Sky’s 2,000 guests were the first to experience the opening of the marina basin with four docks for the island’s tenders and the new 8,500sq ft dining facility, complete with two bars and four picnic pavilions.

NCL president and CEO Kevin Sheehan explained: “Both the new marina and the dining facility greatly enhance the guest experience on Great Stirrup Cay, which is our second busiest port of call this year. By moving the tenders’ arrival to the marina and away from the beach, we have now opened up a great expanse of beachfront for our guests to enjoy and relax. We’ve also built a new, large dining facility that is similar to the action station restaurants we have on board our Freestyle Cruising ships.”

The marina is approximately 12ft deep at low water and is home to the island’s four tenders. It took more than eight months to excavate the basin and the entrance channel. The dining facility includes a central pizza-making station, two grills, hot and cold food stations, as well as fresh fruits and breads. There are two full bars on either side of the facility for added convenience.

The four pavilions, each more than 1,800sq ft, offer picnic tables with a total seating capacity for more than 500 guests. Enhancements have been under way since January 2010 and will continue until the end of this year.

Several new activities have been added since the project began, including more than 16 wave runners, kayak rentals and an eco-adventure boat tour around the island. These are in addition to the existing snorkelling, floats, inflatable hippo slide and parasailing.

The second phase of enhancements includes an arrival/departure pavilion; additional bar facilities; several comfort stations; a band stand; cruise programme activity area; private beachfront cabanas; a kids' play area; straw market; and beach volleyball courts. The beachfront will continue to be expanded on the island’s west end.

NCL has owned the island since 1977 when it became the first to offer an uninhabited tropical island experience exclusively for its guests. Great Stirrup Cay offers magnificent white sand beaches, majestic palms and calm, pristine waters where an abundance of colourful marine life inhabits the surrounding coral reefs.

Norwegian Gem, Jewel, Sky and Pearl regularly call there throughout the year. For more information, call 0845 201 8900 or visit www.ncl.co.uk.