I wish this was an April Fool’s joke, but I unfortunately cannot say that it is.
According to various reports, the Norwegian Epic was apparently turned away from the Port of Nassau this morning after the port authority overbooked the port. Yes, you heard that correctly. An employee at the Nassau Port Authority scheduled 6 cruise ships in a port that can only accommodate 5 cruise ships. How did this happen? I have no idea. Regardless of how did it, Norwegian, Atlantis Resorts, and local business owners are furious at the port over this huge scheduling error.
For those who don’t already know, Atlantis Resorts is located on Paradise Island, which is only minutes away from the port. The resort is very popular with cruise guests as they offer a day pass to the resort’s extensive water park. It is no doubt one of the most important tourism attractions in the Nassau area both for the community and cruisers. According to one of Atlantis’ public relations representatives, at least several hundred cruisers from the Epic were scheduled to use the Atlantis Resort’s facilities today. Atlantis Resorts confirmed that the losses from the ship not calling in port amounted to around $100,000.
Local small business owners are taking a similar hit in revenue and are definitely not happy with the port authority. One local business man told a local Bahamian newspaper, “This is one of the biggest cruise ships in the world, how can they just allow it to be turned away? Whatever boat replaced it could not have been as big and could not have brought as many tourists to town. How do you overbook a [port] anyway?”
It is a very good question and you would think that the port authority would feel sorry that the Epic was turned away wouldn’t you. Well, you would be wrong. Bahamian Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe was quoted as saying, “It tells you that there is a demand for the berths out there. But when you are in demand you expect that to happen. Of course with our berthing schedule we intend to perfect it and to make sure that we don’t have those kinds of situations again.” So they are apparently pretty arrogant when it comes to having a busy port and too proud to issue a formal apology to Norwegian or the Epic’s guests. Classy.
In the end, I think it is only proper that we give the Port of Nassau a new slogan. The Port of Nassau: We’ll see if we can squeeze you in.
Header photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line.