Reinventing Dixon Cove
A fast-track, two-berth project likely to open ahead of Royal Caribbean Cruise terminal

December 1st, 2008
by Thomas Tomczyk

[private]

The site plan of Mahogany Bay cruise ship terminal on the east shore of Dixon Cove.

The site plan of Mahogany Bay cruise ship terminal on the east shore of Dixon Cove.

Carnival Corporation has signed an agreement to build and operate a cruise terminal in Dixon Cove. Work on “Mahogany Bay – Roatan” is expected to begin in early 2008 and to be completed by October 1, 2009, at a cost of $50 million.

The 22-month work schedule is likely to put Carnival ahead of Royal Caribbean, whose construction of the Coxen Hole cruise ship terminal has been troubled by permit delays and a halt in July.

The Mahogany Bay cruise ship facility will be situated on 20 acres of Dixon Cove waterfront and will consist of a two-berth cruise terminal capable of accommodating super post-Panamax vessels and up to 7,000 passengers daily. Within five years of operation, Mahogany Bay is expected to host 225 cruise ship calls and 500,000 passengers annually.

Adjacent to the facility will be a 35,000-square-foot Welcome Center with retail shops, restaurants and bars, along with a 60-foot-high lighthouse, a lagoon with cascading waterfalls and a nature trail. A transportation hub with the ability to accommodate taxis, rental cars and tour buses is also planned. A variety of shore excursion opportunities, to be provided by local tour operators, are being developed as well.

“Many of our ships, of our brands will be coming to Roatan for many years. We believe in Roatan,” said Giora Israel, Carnival’s vice-president of strategic planning, who promised that Carnival would not own any excursions, shops, or transportation companies on the island. “We would like to become residents and stay here forever,” said Israel.

Mahogany Bay will surpass in expense and scale Carnival’s biggest terminal (in Grand Turk) which in its first year of operation hosted nearly 300,000 passengers. “The Caribbean remains the world’s number one cruise destination and Carnival Corporation is always looking for ways to capitalize on many distinct attributes that make the region so attractive to consumers,” said Israel.

Strategically located, Dixon Cove has grown from an obscure cove to a maritime and tourist hub of Roatan. With this development there are voices of concern about the environmental disruption to local marine ecosystem. According to Israel the entrance to Dixon Cove is around 300 feet wide and deep enough to accommodate its widest, 120 foot wide ships. Therefore, no enlarging of entrance to the bay and change to the reef will be done. [/private]

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