Weather and environmental conditions delayed completion of dredging specifications on the channel leading to Carnival’s new cruise ship dock, Mahogany Bay, postponing the first arrival by little over a week. The complex is one of the largest tourism investments of its kind in the Caribbean, and the largest in Honduran history. Construction has taken about one year to erect the more than $60 million dollar facility.
Final touches on the facility concerned safety, the largest monetary allocation going to the dock, which is required to sustain category-5 hurricane winds and withstand earthquake tremors. Other safety specifications for the complex included 62 closed-circuit security cameras in addition to an emergency vehicle trail, required to remain clear to assist 90-second highway to dock ambulance service.
Vendors scrambled to complete their retail spaces in anticipation of the upcoming ship schedule. The first vessel to arrive was the Seabourn Legend. Despite heavy rains on that day, the ship arrived at 7a.m. on Saturday, November 28. The 62 x 438 ft. Norwegian ship was small enough to safely cruise through the channel. Specs were completed to receive the first large ship, the Crown Princess, which arrived the following Tuesday on December 1. Mahogany Bay will hold an official Grand Opening at a later date.
Anticipating about 500,000 visitors a year, Mahogany Bay representatives state that around 1,500 jobs, directly or indirectly, will be created as a product of its completion. However, controversy has resulted from the facility’s tour guide policies, which restrict independent tour operators. Visitors are encouraged to book shore excursions directly through their specific cruise ship or through the only independent tour agent in the facility, Lena Russell. Tourists are free to book any independent tours they choose online, but are obliged to walk about a half-mile outside the complex to be picked up. [/private]