This month Norwegian Cruise Line made the announcement that they had purchased an area of approximately 75 acres of land in Southern Belize with the intention to develop this into an eco-friendly cruise destination. Norwegian Cruise Line will spend around $50 million on this ambitious project which has already created some controversy with its proposed plans.
At present, the land is named Harvest Caye and comprises two islands. These two islands had previously received planning permission for the development of an airstrip.
NCL already has a large number of exciting and popular Western Caribbean itineraries and a number of ships (including the Norwegian Dawn pictured below) operating in this area.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s Chief Executive Officer Kevin Sheehan states that ‘once the new destination is complete [they will be able to] bring four times as many guests to Belize than we do today’.
At present passengers arrive at Belize City port (pictured below) by tender boats.
The plan for the development of the 75 acres of land is still mostly under wraps, but it has been confirmed that Norwegian Cruise Line will turn this into a world-class cruise port which will consist of two locations.
One of which will be an island destination with docking or tendering facilities and the other will be a connection to the mainland to allow passengers to embark upon tours of this area.
It is expected that there will be a floating pier, an island village, a state of the art marina, a transportation centre from which tours will depart to the mainland of Belize and a sheltered lagoon where passengers will be able to take part in various water sports or simply relax on the beach.
The cruise line have stated that this is to be an eco-friendly destination and their development plans will depend on using a design approach that will be determined by the local environment. They aim to ensure that the fragile and unique area will be protected from any potential damage or change.
Belize is a destination which currently has high environmental standards and the government of Belize have signed a memorandum with Norwegian Cruise Line agreeing that Norwegian will work to their strict environmental standards, create a number of jobs for the people of Belize and create a significant amount of economic growth.
NCL are planning to employ mainly Belizeans in the construction and operation of the project and it is anticipated that this project will create around 1,000 jobs for the locals of Belize and will also help with decentralising cruise tourism in Belize.
This will reduce the number of passengers arriving into the one cruise port which exists there are present which will mean the area is less crowded with cruise tourists. This will surely make visiting Belize a more pleasant experience for cruise passengers and land based tourists too.