ROYAL CARIBBEAN LOOKING TO PARTNER WITH THE BAHAMAS NATIONAL TRUST
Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd. is exploring a partnership with the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) in ongoing efforts to provide new experiences for cruise visitors to The Bahamas and to re-affirm its commitment to marine conservation and preservation.
The announcement followed a meeting between BNT Executive Director Eric Carey and RCL Vice President Russell Benford. Among the topics of discussion – introduction of national park tours as a potential option for the 1.2 million cruise guests RCL delivers to The Bahamas each year and for ships to host BNT’s environmental youth group arm, the 1,300-member strong Discovery Club.
“At RCL, we are always searching for ways to create a guest experience that exceeds expectations and when we are able to combine that goal with our commitment to sustainable tourism, we know we are where we should be,” said Benford. “It is very exciting to learn about the amazing national parks of The Bahamas, including Bonefish Pond, The Retreat and the Primeval Forest right here in Nassau where we are striving to increase the percentage of guests who disembark and enjoy the destination.”
Finding common ground with BNT is a natural outgrowth of RCL’s environmental protection position. The cruise company partners with the World Wildlife Fund around the globe. In Cozumel, Mexico, RCL has committed to offer sustainable tour offerings to its guests, certified to the Global Sustainable Tourism Council standard and in other destinations, the cruise line is tailoring programs toward education and preservation as well as conducting environmental immersion programs onboard.
BNT applauded the industry’s commitment to marine protection and preservation.
“Environmental organisations and cruise lines had been at opposite ends of the spectrum for years,” said Carey, “Twenty years ago, I would have perhaps been reluctant to meet with you but in recent years, I have been impressed by how the cruise industry has taken the lead in marine protection. We share environmental principles, we share our waters, we are literally a step away from your headquarters in Florida, separated by a current. We share species, we share commitments of conservation and we are delighted to be talking to you now about finding ways for your guests to enjoy our incredible national park system managed by the Bahamas National Trust.”
The meeting with BNT executives, including Director of Development Dominique Martin, was part of a series of meetings the award-winning cruise company is conducting in The Bahamas as it contemplates further investment and expansion in the region’s number one cruise destination. RCL hopes to increase passenger capacity to The Bahamas by nearly 20%, bringing 1.75 million people to the islands by 2020.