South Floridians seeking a quick island getaway could soon have more options to cruise from Port of Palm Beach to the Bahamas.
The Riviera Beach seaport has secured a new 10-year agreement with Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line -- its sole cruise operator which intends to add a second ship to its schedule of two-night cruises by June 1, officials said Friday.
The deal was sealed late Thursday with Bahamas Paradises new ownership led by Kevin Sheehan Jr., and president and CEO Oneil Khosa.
Sheehan, whose family acquired a majority stake in the company in December for an undisclosed sum, is the son of Kevin Sheehan Sr., the former president and CEO of Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line. Minority owner Khosas resume includes stints as CEO of an Indian cruise line and as a first officer for Royal Caribbean.
The second vessel described as Grand Classica would join the cruise operators 1,900-passenger Grand Celebration ship now operating short-hop cruises to Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, port documents show.
That ship has surpassed our expectations, said Manny Almira, the seaports executive director, of Grand Celebration. Having a second ship is a welcomed idea as the product theyre selling is [resonating].
For more than seven years, the seaport has had a successful year-round cruise operation to Freeport, Bahamas with one vessel under different operators, officials said.
Thats in stark contrast to its on-again, off-again day-cruise gambling sailings that failed despite attempts by a variety of operators to sustain them.
Were out of that casino day-cruise business, Almira said.
The port expects the new agreement, which has two, five-year renewal options, will produce an extra $15.1 million in net income in its initial term.
Officials are optimistic Bahamas Paradise' expansion plans given strong consumer demand and a management team of seasoned cruise executives.
For me, thats the main thing, the experience that theyve got, said Blair Ciklin, chairman of the ports board of commissioners. The other owners were timeshare guys, not cruise guys.
The second ship, also referred to as NeoClassica, is expected to be a lot nicer and will be top of the line for us, Ciklin said.
In port documents, the 1991-built NeoClassica is listed as a 654-cabin Costa Cruises vessel with three restaurants, theatre, disco and bar, casino and two swimming pools, among other offerings.
Grand Celebration, which began operating in 1987 as a Carnival ship, has 750 cabins, multiple restaurants, music venues and lounges, casino, theater, spa/salon, kids play area and fitness center.
Sheehan Jr., who has a private equity and Wall Street banking background, said the business is doing great after eight months.
Weve been pretty much full, added Khosa. Were not seeing any weakness in our bookings.
Since taking over, the cruise outfit relocated headquarters from Fort Lauderdale to Deerfield Beach to be closer to the Palm Beach County port. Its also made onboard and portside improvements.
Enhancements include a revamped website, improved check-in and disembarkation process and a new specialty seafood and steakhouse restaurant, which cruisers can enjoy for $29 per person, Khosa said. A new caf serving specialty coffees will open soon.
Bahamas Paradise will keep its two-night cruises and longer cruise-and-resort stay vacation package focus, he said. Thats our core business philosophy and we dont want to deviate from that niche as its clearly working.
Cruise-only summer rates, which include most meals, water, coffee and juices, started at $149-$169 per person, while fall rates should start around $129-$149, Khosa said.
The company expects Grand Celebration will carry about 250,000 passengers this year, Khosa said.
As the new owners advertise the improvements and its expansion, it will likely face lingering consumer dissatisfaction issues tied to past operators.
One such company is Royal Seas Cruises of Fort Lauderdale, which has numerous complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau and also Yelp.com for cruise packages offered aboard Grand Celebration.
Khosa said Bahamas Paradise, which under prior ownership took over the Freeport route from the defunct Celebration Cruise Line in early 2015, is not affiliated with Royal Seas. He said previous owners were slow to respond on social media and not focused on growth.
Our mindset is very different, Khosa said. Were a cruise line and cruise business. Were on a growth trajectory and guests like what were doing.
Analysts say time will tell.
Well have to see where it goes from here, said Stewart Chiron, a Miami-based cruise industry specialist. Its certainly good for Port of Palm Beach. It does bring tourists into Palm Beach County and itll provide jobs, especially with the outlook for a second ship.
firstname.lastname@example.org, 954-356-4209 or Twitter@TheSatchreport
Go here to see the original:
- Government to appeal historic Bahamian court ruling on citizenship - NYCaribNews - May 29th, 2020
- Severe weather warning for Central and Northwest Bahamas - EyeWitness News - May 29th, 2020
- Caribbean community organizations call for decisive action to end homophobic abuse and cyberbullying - UNAIDS - May 29th, 2020
- Commodore: Border patrol strategies expected to cont. to deter illegal landings - EyeWitness News - May 29th, 2020
- Battered Caribbean prepares for hurricanes amid pandemic - The Republic - May 29th, 2020
- Fiscal deficit projected to climb to $1.3 billion EyeWitness News - EyeWitness News - May 29th, 2020
- U.S. will not repatriate citizens still in The Bahamas - EyeWitness News - April 11th, 2020
- Cutler is waiting out the outbreak in The Bahamas - NBCSports.com - April 11th, 2020
- First Coast couple locked down in their boat home in the Bahamas - FirstCoastNews.com WTLV-WJXX - April 11th, 2020
- Spring break during the coronavirus pandemic: 'It's the opposite of the Bahamas' - Reading Eagle - April 11th, 2020
- Govt gives cash to help Bahamians stuck in US - Bahamas Tribune - April 11th, 2020
- Bahamas credit bureau still a work in progress - EyeWitness News - April 11th, 2020
- Bahamas Embassy informs seized medical supplies released with help from US Embassy - Magnetic Media - April 11th, 2020
- Niki & Gabi Are Taking Over the Bahamas in New AwesomenessTV Series - Celeb Secrets - April 11th, 2020
- 100000 Students in The Bahamas served with virtual Education; Minister's remarks - Magnetic Media - April 11th, 2020
- Another case, another death for The Bahamas on Thursday, reports Health Minister - Magnetic Media - April 11th, 2020
- Corrections commiss. satisfied with COVID-19 protocols to safeguard inmates and officers - EyeWitness News - April 11th, 2020
- US citizens urged to leave now - EyeWitness News - March 31st, 2020
- Carmelo Anthony: LeBron James saved my life during trip to Bahamas - syracuse.com - March 31st, 2020
- Caribbean Moment: A Perfect Sandbar in The Bahamas - Caribbean Journal - March 31st, 2020
- Luxury bunkers and private islands how the rich are self-isolating from the coronavirus - CNBC - March 31st, 2020
- New case of COVID-19 in Grand Bahama - Bahamas Tribune - March 31st, 2020
- Report: 600 being tracked in The Bahamas for signs of COVID-19 - Bahamas Tribune - March 31st, 2020
- Bahamas Striping donates protective gear to help combat COVID-19 - EyeWitness News - March 31st, 2020
- More than 700 COVID-19 cases in the region - EyeWitness News - March 31st, 2020
- UPDATED: Fifth case of COVID-19 is in Grand Bahama - Bahamas Tribune - March 31st, 2020
- Bahamas native named UCF president - EyeWitness News - March 31st, 2020
- Johnson warns Immigration permits at stake for breach of COVID-19 orders - EyeWitness News - March 31st, 2020
- One More Confirmed Case of COVID-19 and Amendments to the Bahamas Ministry of Health's COVID-19 Dashboard - The Eleutheran - March 31st, 2020
- Nearly $15 million of $20 million small business loan programme requested to-date - EyeWitness News - March 31st, 2020
- MFA advice to Bahamian Nationals abroad and Foreign Nationals in country after Bahamas border closure - The Eleutheran - March 31st, 2020
- Bahamas | Facts, History & News - March 5th, 2020
- Inside Kylie Jenners Lavish Bahamas Vacation Rental - Architectural Digest - March 5th, 2020
- Storm-ravaged Bahamas rebuilding its power grid with emphasis on solar energy - 60 Minutes - CBS News - March 5th, 2020
- Bahamas Races Ahead With Its 'Sand Dollar' Digital Currency - Bitcoinist - March 5th, 2020
- Beautiful Bimini: A Photo Guide to the Tiny Island in the Bahamas - TravelPulse - March 5th, 2020
- Bahamas and Bologna Go On the Offensive to Battle Coronavirus Concerns - TravelPulse Canada - March 5th, 2020
- Two charged in connection with murder on Grand Bahama - Bahamas Tribune - March 5th, 2020
- Media in the Digital Age Bahamas Press Club Stages Awards Ceremony - Magnetic Media - March 5th, 2020
- Bahamas braves the elements on mainline trip - Keighley News - March 5th, 2020
- First Solar To Grid In Ragged Island makes '60 Minutes' Appearance - Magnetic Media - March 5th, 2020
- Lemon Shark Gets a Snout Rub by Conservationist in the Bahamas - Yahoo News UK - March 5th, 2020
- Kylie Jenner shows off her new 'bronde' locks in the Bahamas - Goss.ie - March 5th, 2020
- Govt. working on transition to cashless society - EyeWitness News - March 5th, 2020
- Americares to expand Bahamas health care programs - The Advocate - February 21st, 2020
- Banyan Tree to Open Resort With Overwater Bungalows in The Bahamas - Caribbean Journal - February 21st, 2020
- Bahamas Estate Once Home to the Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson Hits the Market - Mansion Global - February 21st, 2020
- Former Bahamas Home Of The Duke Of Windsor And Wallis Simpson Goes On The Market - Forbes - February 21st, 2020
- Ecumenical Gathering with the NCC USA at Annunciation GOC in Bahamas - All Archdiocese News - Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America - February 21st, 2020
- Grant Williams vacationed with Carsen Edwards, others in the Bahamas - The Rookie Wire - February 21st, 2020
- AIBT & BFSB Joint Response The Bahamas Off The EU Blacklist - Mondaq News Alerts - February 21st, 2020
- Joe Giudice Dances to Milania's Song While Partying in the Bahamas (VIDEO) - Bravo - February 21st, 2020
- DPM: Bahamas has already satisfied over 30 of 40 FATF recommendations - EyeWitness News - February 21st, 2020
- OECD tax demands may 'devastate the economy' - Bahamas Tribune - February 21st, 2020
- Ministry Of Finance Statement: European Union Removes The Bahamas From Tax Watchlist - Mondaq News Alerts - February 21st, 2020
- Senior Bahamas Tourism Executive Receives Recognition Award from Premier Faith-Based Trade Association - South Florida Caribbean News - February 21st, 2020
- FIBA qualifier: Bahamas will have 10 players against Mexico - Bahamas Tribune - February 21st, 2020
- First look at Disneys new private island Lighthouse Point in the Bahamas - The Irish Sun - February 21st, 2020
- PM: Govt. will aggressively defend borders against illegal migration - EyeWitness News - February 21st, 2020
- Removal from the EU's Tax Watch List Confirms The Bahamas Has Implemented Necessary Reforms - Magnetic Media - February 21st, 2020
- Junior sailors take advantage of the 7th annual Youth Olympic Regatta - Bahamas Tribune - February 21st, 2020
- Airbnb is offering five people a free 2-month 'sabbatical' in the Bahamas - CNBC - January 30th, 2020
- Airbnb is sending 5 people on a 2-month 'sabbatical' to the Bahamas - Business Insider - Business Insider - January 30th, 2020
- Airbnb Wants to Send You on a Sabbatical to the Bahamas - msnNOW - January 30th, 2020
- World News Media Looks at How Financial Services in The Bahamas are Changing in the Latest Issue of World Finance - Yahoo Finance - January 30th, 2020
- Live in The Bahamas for two months with this Airbnb sabbatical - Leicestershire Live - January 30th, 2020
- Airbnb is offering a trip to the Bahamas and it's completely free - Mirror Online - January 30th, 2020
- The United States and The Bahamas Sign Air Transport Agreement - South Florida Caribbean News - January 30th, 2020
- Dream jobs: Airbnb is offering a sustainable sabbatical in The Bahamas - Stylist Magazine - January 30th, 2020
- From The Bahamas to Antigua, the Caribbean's Best Historic Hotels - Caribbean Journal - January 27th, 2020
- Jack Nicklaus' New Residence Club Is Coming to The Bahamas - Caribbean Journal - January 27th, 2020
- Society-Wide Effort Needed to Elevate Skill Levels to Global Norms, says Bahamas Education Minister - Magnetic Media - January 27th, 2020
- Bahamas back as 'least corrupt in the Caribbean' - Bahamas Tribune - January 27th, 2020
- Family Hotel in St Lucia Helps Family Islands in Bahamas - St. Lucia News From The Voice St. Lucia - The Voice St. Lucia - January 27th, 2020
- Team Bahamas 6th overall - Bahamas Tribune - January 27th, 2020
- Bahamas Defence Force investigates bodies washed ashore near Ragged Island - Magnetic Media - January 27th, 2020
- Transparency International: The Bahamas least corrupt in region - Loop News Barbados - January 27th, 2020
- Larry Birkhead Wishes He Went to Bahamas Before Anna Nicole Smith Died: 'She'd Still Be Here' - FOX10 News - January 18th, 2020
- Sea level rise threat to 15% of Bahamas' GDP - Bahamas Tribune - January 18th, 2020
- NexTech AR Solutions CEO Gappelberg to pitch company at investor confab in Bahamas - Proactive Investors USA & Canada - January 18th, 2020