Carnival Magic – Help and Hope For Grand Bahama
The island’s economy got a major boost yesterday as 3,900 passengers arrived in Freeport during the Carnival Magic’s inaugural trip to Grand Bahama.
The latest in Carnival’s line of ships began operating on April 29, sailing the Mediterranean Sea during the summer months, but Freeport will act as one of the ship’s ports of call this season.
Captain of the Carnival Magic, Giovanni Cutugno said Grand Turk was initially chosen as the port of call, but the destination was switched with him personally choosing Freeport.
“When the opportunity came I did not really hesitate one second to chose Freeport, not only for the assistance and whatever we need, but I know that we are always welcome here,” Cutugno said.
He said Freeport would be a regular part of the Carnival Magic’s itinerary when it sails from its home port in Galveston, Texas.
“I can see actually that every time I come I see something new and it is a great pleasure to contribute to this growing industry as the cruise industry is,” Cutugno said.
Minister of State for Finance, Zhivargo Laing was present for the ship’s inaugural visit where he noted he was pleased with the addition of the ship and the impact it is expected to have on the local economy.
“When you are in the Ministry of Finance you are watching revenue very closely and nothing helps revenue like economic activity and so having this ship call on us here in Grand Bahama is an absolute delight,” Laing said.
He noted that whether the ship’s presence on the island was by accident or whether it was deliberate, the Carnival Magic is free to come as frequently as it would like.
“We will welcome you each and every time and we appreciate the contribution that Carnival makes to the overall tourism sector of this country,” Laing said. “The cruise business is our fastest growing sector of the tourism business here in the country and Carnival is a big part of that.”
He noted that everyone in the tourism industry would make themselves ready to accommodate the ship’s passengers and do their best to keep them entertained.
“I have a prediction to make that in the not too distant future that this already good jurisdiction will become an even better jurisdiction to call upon,” Laing said.
Karen Seymour, director of tourism on Grand Bahama said the Carnival Magic’s inaugural visit was a special occasion that marked the deepening partnership between the island and Carnival Cruise Lines, which has been a huge contributor to the local economy.
She noted that Carnival is the island’s strongest tourism cruise partner and delivers the largest number of passengers to The Bahamas each year.
“It is our hope that as the nearest offshore port of call, Grand Bahama island will qualify for more overnight calls by the Magic and other Carnival ships in the future,” Seymour said.
By Cleopatra Murphy
Freeport News Reporter