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Carnival’s Mahogany Bay seen as "game changer"

Work on the $62m Mahogany Bay project in Roatán -- which one industry executive sees as a game changer in the Caribbean -- is proceeding smoothly despite the political unrest in Honduras, said Giora Israel, svp port and destination development for Carnival Corp. & plc.

"Construction is full speed ahead. Several hundred people are working.
We have not felt any impediment in the development", Israel told Seatrade Insider.

The Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association recently took its Platinum Associate members for a preview. Henry Yaniz, a Miami-based destination marketing consultant, described Mahogany Bay as ‘breathtaking.

‘It’s a game-changer", he predicted.

The first call is scheduled for Nov. 19 when Carnival Miracle arrives from Tampa. The site provides two post-Panamax berths and ample passenger facilities spread across nearly 20 acres.

Among them: a Dufry International store, food and beverage outlets including an Italian-style ice cream/coffee bar, a spacious market selling local products like wood carvings, textiles and cigars, and a long, private beach with non-motorized watersports and a large theme bar and restaurant.

Shore excursion participation in Roatán is among the highest in the Caribbean, Israel said, so Mahogany Bay’s transportation center stretches across almost four acres, with space for up to 70 buses and 80 taxis, plus car and Jeep rentals. A separate excursion pier will dispatch water-based tours.

Israel, who developed Grand Turk Cruise Center, Cozumel’s Puerta Maya and California’s Long Beach Cruise Terminal, expects 520,000 passengers and slightly more than 200 calls during Mahogany Bay’s first fiscal year. Roatán can be reached on seven-day cruises from South Florida and is likely to become a cornerstone of weekly Western Caribbean itineraries.

Meanwhile, ships from non-Carnival brands are expected to continue frequenting the separate, recently upgraded Roatán facility where Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has made significant investments in new ground transportation, shopping and entertainment facilities.

Mahogany Bay is a joint venture between Carnival and local Roatán business partner Jerry Hynds. Hynds provided the land, and Carnival arranged the financing and is overseeing design, construction and operations.

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