MIAMI, FL (September 11, 2008) – The Grand Turk Cruise Center has scheduled an October 8, 2008 re-opening date, following the passage of Hurricane Ike.
An engineering survey has confirmed that no damage was sustained to the cruise ship pier, which can accommodate up to two ships at one time. Minimal damage occurred to the facility’s retail and restaurant complex.
“We believe we can complete repairs to the cruise center within a 30-day period and bring cruise ships back to Grand Turk,” said Giora Israel, Carnival’s vice president of strategic planning and port development. “We will be able to provide many of the wonderful beach, snorkeling and watersports experiences that Grand Turk is famous for, along with the oversized pool and food and shopping opportunities at the cruise center, including the extremely popular Margaritaville restaurant.”
Israel added that returning cruise ships quickly will provide important economic benefits to Grand Turk while the island moves forward with its recovery efforts. In addition to its existing staff on the island, Carnival Corp. will bring in a number of additional skilled workers who will be housed and fed by the company. Those individuals will not only repair the cruise center complex, but also assist in the repair of some of the island’s key attractions.
“We will be investing millions of dollars in the coming months to help Grand Turk quickly re-build its cruise-focused tourism. Bringing tourists back to the island as quickly as possible will play a major role in driving the island’s overall recovery,” said Israel.
The Grand Turk Cruise Center is the largest private employer on the island, and the cruise center staff, combined with shore excursion operators, comprises approximately 80 percent of non-government jobs in Grand Turk.
Carnival Corporation will also be providing financial and logistical assistance to shore excursion operators to enable them to resume their businesses. Cruise passengers and crew members will be provided the opportunity to participate in volunteer-oriented excursions for those who wish to assist in the island’s recovery effort.
The Grand Turk Cruise Center, which opened in 2006, has become one of the cruise industry’s most popular Caribbean cruise destinations. The $60 million, 13-acre complex features an 800-foot-long private beach, swimming pool and FlowRider attraction, which offers body boarding and stand-up board surfing, in addition to multiple retail outlets. The FlowRider, which was not damaged, will re-open pending the status of power supply on the island. The cruise center’s lush landscaping, much of which was lost as a result of the storm, will be replaced on a gradual basis over the next several months.
The Grand Turk Cruise Center serves as a gateway to the pristine island of Grand Turk, which is world-renowned as a diving and snorkeling jewel, and also features magnificent beaches, striking aqua-blue waters and a variety of fishing and watersports activities.
The first cruise ship scheduled to call at Grand Turk will be Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Destiny on October 8. Carnival Cruise Lines is the largest cruise-line user of the Grand Turk facility. Several other cruise lines, both from within the Carnival Corp. family of brands and from other cruise operators, also regularly call at Grand Turk.