Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey was on hand to welcome Holland America Cruiseline’s Nieuw Statendam on its inaugural visit to Grand Bahama on Friday, December 2, 2022.
The cruiseship made a special call at Freeport Harbour with its more than 2,300 passengers and 1,000 crew members onboard after its scheduled call to Key West was diverted.
Minister Moxey was elated about the visit and said it was an opportune time to take advantage of the Nieuw Statendam’s unexpected diversion from its regularly scheduled sailing.
“It falls under the Carnival Corporation, Holland America, and so we’re going to be in discussions to see how we can increase cruise calls,” Minister Moxey said, while adding it is something for which her ministry and the Ministry of Tourism, Investments and Aviation has been lobbying for some time now.
“I believe that there are tremendous opportunities here. We, of course, want to ensure that our touristic product is up to par because that is what the guests look for. They look for authentic experiences and so we are working with stakeholders on the island to ensure that we are there. But again, it’s another great day for Grand Bahama Island,” she said.
Captain Noel O’Driscoll revealed that their Voyage began in Ft. Lauderdale on Saturday, November 26, 2022 and they had already visited Half Moon Cay, a private island in The Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Dominican Republic and were on their way to Key West, the last port of call, when their plans were averted.
“Key West is unavailable to cruise ships at the moment so Freeport seemed to be good alternative. So, hopefully our guests enjoy it and hopefully it will put us on the map for future calls as well for Holland America,” Captain O’Driscoll said.
Freeport Harbour Company Port Director Captain Orlando Forbes and Captain O’Driscoll exchanged plaques during a brief ceremony to commemorate the occasion.
The Nieuw Statendam is, however, scheduled to make another scheduled call at Freeport Harbour next year.