Norwegian Cruise Line has recently announced that it has purchased around 75 acres of land in South Belize, which it intends to develop as an eco-friendly cruise destination.
Known as harvest Caye, the land comprises two adjoining islands which had previously been approved for development into a resort with an air strip. NCL’s plan is still under development but the aim of the line is to create a premium cruise destination which will utilise each island differently. One will be an area offering docking and tendering facilities; the other will be a connection point for mainland tours.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s President and CEO Kevin Sheehan explained the reasons for the project: “As our fleet continues to grow to 15 ships by 2017, we expect that we will double the number of guests sailing on our Western Caribbean itineraries and, once this new destination is complete, bring four times as many guests to Belize than we do today.”
Emphasizing the cruise line’s green credentials, NCL Vice President of Destination and Strategic Development said: “At Norwegian, we have a strong commitment to the environment through our
Eco-Smart Cruising philosophy. We will continue that commitment as we develop the Belize project and ensure that we are socially responsible in everything we do.”
The cruise line is working with Orlando-based IDEA Inc, a leading branded port and destination designer. IDEA Inc president Hugh Darley explained the ecological benefits of the initiative: “This project will set a new standard in the development of an eco-friendly destination. Rather than an imposed plan, we are focused on a design approach that is determined by the local environment to ensure that the unique surroundings and features of the area will be protected and showcased for all to enjoy.”
Plans for the islands include a floating pier, marina, transportation hub, water sports lagoon and beach area and the intention is for the development is to authentically reflect the culture nature and history of Belize.
By Simon Brotherton