Independent Developer Gets Green Light for New Bahamas Cruise Port

Calypso Cove would be a Bahamas-themed destination with an action-packed lagoon as a focal point, a water park, beaches, overwater cabanas, nature trails, entertainment, conservation and heritage features, restaurants, bars, retail stores, a boutique hotel and activities galore.

A small dock would handle two post-Panamax ships over 1,000 feet long and up to 13,000 cruise ships per day.


A Bahamian-inspired destination with an action-packed lagoon as its focal point, a two-berth pier, and capacity for 13,000 cruise ships per day

Investment of more than $200 million

An investment of more than 200 million dollars is expected.

“We want to build a destination with culture, music and art in the port, so that when people step off the ship, they immediately know they are in the Bahamas,” said Carlos Torres de Navarra, a cruise operations veteran who is one of Azul . Main destinations.

“We want to harness the beauty of Long Island in a sustainable way that not only takes advantage of what it has to offer now, but also creates new opportunities for Bahamians,” he continued. “We believe that Long Island’s potential to offer vast offerings will be overwhelmingly welcomed by cruise and shore tourists alike with the waters, beaches and nature that define Long Island as the platform for all to enjoy.”


Long Island, indicated by a red arrow, in relation to the cruise ports of the Bahamas, including the private islands of the cruise lines

Adding variety/schedule flexibility

Calypso Cove would add a new cruise destination in close proximity to Florida homeports, encouraging short itineraries and open to all cruise lines.

It could help differentiate four-day cruises from three-day cruises by varying the content of the destination, just as Grand Turk does in the nearby Turks and Caicos Islands. For five-day cruises that currently have two ports, this could add a third call in the Bahamas, saving fuel by traveling farther.

Long Island, 90 miles long, has no big hotels or major airports. Calypso Cove would go up on the south end, where Azul Destinations has obtained the rights to more than 500 acres from a private owner.

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1 million cruises a year

It is anticipated as a high-use port, with “conservative” forecasts of 750,000 to 1 million cruise ships a year.

This is the kind of ‘anchor’ project that has been missing on Long Island and will “hopefully spur additional investment in the Bahamas, especially public-private partnerships,” said Torres de Navarra.

He also expects Calypso Cove to generate incremental tourism business for the Bahamas and complement, not compete with, Nassau and Freeport as cruise destinations.

“As a new port, it will be exciting and will create demand,” said Torres de Navarra. ‘Our project will reinforce cement deployments in the Bahamas. We believe it will bring a large number of incremental cruise ship passengers to the Bahamas that do not currently exist.”

Calypso Cove Experiences

Passengers will alight at a lush arrival plaza with information kiosks, shore excursion ticket sales, an iconic lighthouse and a nearby marina for excursions.


Bird’s eye view of Calypso Village

Further afield, Calypso Village has shops, a straw market, the Cultural Center of the Bahamas, the Junkanoo parade viewing lawn, a restaurant and a bar. The adjacent Goombay Beach will be dotted with vendor stalls and will be home to a large indoor/outdoor restaurant.

Black Pearl Lagoon, in the heart of Calypso Cove, has a central adventure island with tropical gardens and cascading plunge pools, a snorkeling reef, kayaking, and overwater cabanas.


Black Pearl Lagoon in the heart of Calypso Cove

Additionally, a floating lazy river attraction will meander through the Lucayan Springs Water Park, complete with a children’s play area, restaurant and bar.

The long expanse of Tradewinds Beach is bordered by a palm grove with walking/biking paths and hammocks. It would be served by a restaurant/bar, and a secluded wedding pavilion would be at the other end.

Accessed by bridge from Black Pearl Lagoon, Goombay VIP Beach is an exclusive beachfront retreat with VIP cabanas and a bar.

The Calypso Cove Conservation Area provides for flamingo pools, a sea turtle rehabilitation lagoon, native landscape garden displays, and a Bahamian National Trust conservation/rehabilitation facility.

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Experience in destination development

Torres de Navarra has more than two decades of experience in the development of ports and destinations. Previous positions include CEO of Holistica (a joint venture between ITM Group and Royal Caribbean Group), global vice president of port and destination development for Carnival Corp., and vice president of commercial and strategic port development for Carnival Cruise Line. Prior to Carnival, as assistant treasurer at Royal Caribbean, he was involved in areas including business development, capital planning and port development.


Carlos Torres of Navarre

For the first time in the Bahamas?

‘We started from scratch. I don’t think this has been done before by any independent entity in the Bahamas,” Torres de Navarra told Seatrade Cruise News. This is their third major deal signed with the Bahamas, following a Carnival Cruise Line development for Grand Bahama Island and a Freeport development for Holistica.

Bahamas Prime Minister Philip Davis, Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Tourism Chester Cooper, and other cabinet ministers, along with Long Island community leaders, were present at Thursday’s signing of the agreement, which sheds light green to Azul Destinations to continue planning for Calypso Cove. No public funding will be allocated to the project.

Along with Torres de Navarra were the members of Azul Destinations Sherif Assal, founder of American Guard Services, a leading provider of security services to the cruise industry, and Thomas Dean, a prominent Bahamian attorney who is from Long Island.

Whats Next

Preliminary talks with the cruise lines have been encouraging and now, with the specifications signed, Torres de Navarra awaits ‘official’ expressions of interest.

Financing talks are ongoing with international entities including private equity, infrastructure funds and life insurance companies seeking investment.

Several engineering studies have been completed. The next step is an environmental impact assessment, which is estimated to take approximately six months.

Construction is expected to begin in late 2023 with the first cruise ship calls two years later.

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