Grand Celebration service returns to Grand Bahama; Grand Classica to begin in April


FREEPORT, Grand Bahama – Prime Minister Dr. Hubert A. Minnis, declared on Saturday, November 25, that “Grand Bahama will rise again.”

Minnis was at the agreement signing between the government of The Bahamas and Bahamas Paradise Cruises at Grand Lucayan resort for the return of the Grand Celebration cruise vessel to the island on December 24, and the introduction of a second vessel, the SS Grand Classica, which is scheduled to begin cruises to Grand Bahama in April, 2018.

The Grand Celebration, which traveled between Port of West Palm Beach and Freeport, Grand Bahama, was contracted by the United States’ Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assist with hurricane relief efforts in September 2017.

Just before the signing of the agreement, the prime minister said that he was pleased to be present for the occasion, adding that governments in the past have focused on Nassau. The relaunch of the Grand Celebration is coinciding with the relaunch of Grand Bahama, and as he has said in the past, “what is good for Grand Bahama, is great for The Bahamas.”

Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, Grand Bahama, Senator Kwasi Thompson described the day as “very important” and added that things are moving on the island.

“Next year may prove to be one of the most significant years for Grand Bahama,” he said. There are a number of stipulations the agreement includes: the use of businesses in Grand Bahama by Grand Celebration and Classica when possible; employment for Bahamians; and funding of training for those Bahamians.

Oniel Khosa, CEO of Bahamas Paradise Cruises, said that the company has been cruising to The Bahamas for the past 12 years, beginning in Nassau for seven years before moving to Grand Bahama. The service provided, he said, is significant because even though the ship is not the largest, bringing visitors to the island every other day has made a significant impact on tourism.

With the introduction of the new ship next year, there will be a ship in Grand Bahama every day.

Three thousand Bahamians and residents traveled to Florida on the Grand Celebration, and the company is happy to consider Grand Bahama their home. “Grand Celebration is a part of Grand Bahama,” said Khosa, continuing, “We have no other port of call. This is it. We come to Grand Bahama and we go back.”

This means, he said, people who travel their vessel know that Grand Bahama is their only destination.
Also present during the signing were: Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Michael Pintard; representatives from the Ministry of Tourism; senior government officials and industry partners.

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