Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham (left) receives a memento of appreciation from President and Chief Executive of Holland America Line Mr. Stein Kruse, during the 10th Anniversary Ceremony for Half Moon Cay. (Photo: Eric Rose)
Rt. Hon. Hubert A. Ingraham
10th Anniversary Reception for Holland America Half Moon Cay
It is a great pleasure for me to join you this morning to mark the 10th anniversary of the opening of Half Moon Cay.
I congratulate Holland American Cruise Lines and its parent, Carnival, for the excellent tract record in the development and operation of these first class facilities.
It hardly seems possible that it was 10 years ago last month that these facilities were first opened here at Little San Salvador, now called Half Moon Cay.
Ten years ago we were pleased at the great care that Holland America had taken to cause the development of an environmentally sensitive private cruise port on this historically significant cay.
Now, ten years later we are satisfied that Holland America was indeed the right developer for this special part of The Bahamas.
You have proven to be good stewards of the cay, excellent business partners in the tourism sector, and steady employers in the private sector.
If memory serves me right, you projected 10 years ago that this facility would create some 85 new jobs for Bahamians. I am told that today some 92 persons are employed.
I have also been especially pleased, but not in the least surprised, to learn that the service and amenities offered at this facility are found to be first class by the cruising public, rating their island experience here at Half Moon Cay at 8.4 on a scale of 1 to 9.
Your reputation has not been idly earned. I am also advised that for five years in a row, the Porthole Cruise Magazine has awarded Half Moon Cay its prestigious Editor-in-Chief Award for “Best Private Island”. Congratulations!
This is important for you, Holland America and it is important for us.
As new vacation destinations come on line and as cruise tourism continues to expand internationally, it is critically important that we in The Bahamas ensure that our product and our services remains internationally competitive.
I want to acknowledge the contribution of Half Moon Cay to our cruise industry – welcoming more than a quarter of a million cruise guests to this island getaway annually.
On behalf of the Government and people of The Bahamas and on my own behalf I offer best wishes for your continued success here in Half Moon Cay.
I also take this opportunity to recognize your contribution to cruise calls on our capital city, Nassau where some 34,108 passengers sailing with Holland America Line called at Nassau in 2006.
Let me say that following a dramatic fall-off in calls to Nassau last year, we look forward to more frequent and increased calls by Holland America at our principal port-of-call, Nassau in the coming years.
You may be aware that we are about to embark upon a programme of focussed redevelopment and upgrade of our capital city with a view to making the city a more habitable place for residents and a more comfortable and attractive destination for our visitors.
Permit me on this special day for you to also acknowledge your parent Company, Carnival Cruise Lines, a long-standing partner with us in the cruise tourism business.
Carnival (including all its associated lines: Costas, Princess, Seabourn, Cunard, P & O, Holland America and Carnival) brought some 1.4 (1,416,451) million passengers to Nassau during 2006 and some 869,123 passengers as of end November, 2007 and based on your (Carnival’s) estimations, 1.4 million passengers (1,425,951) to the end of December.
We are excited to be exploring with Carnival a new partnership in Grand Bahama which, if brought to fruition, will augur well for Carnival, for Grand Bahama and for The Bahamas.
Once again congratulations and best wishes for the future.