Norwegian Dawn opens Harvest Caye in Belize

Norwegian Dawn opens Harvest Caye in Belize
LandShark Bar & Grill offers a scenic upper deck and a swim-up pool bar

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Dawn was the first ship to call at Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings’ (NCLH) new Harvest Caye cruise destination in Southern Belize on 17 November.

NCLH’s senior vice president of destination and strategic development Colin Murphy led a ribbon cutting ceremony and official grand opening. He was joined by the Honourable Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation for Belize, Honourable Edmond Castro, Minister of State for National Emergency Management for Belize, and Kim Simplis Barrow, wife of Belize’s Prime Minister Dean Barrow.

“Today is the product of the government’s continued pledge to entrench tourism as a top national priority and to promote tourism as a main engine for overall economic growth of the country,” said Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation for Belize. “. This investment alone is projected to generate 500 direct jobs and over 1,500 indirect jobs by the year 2020. We have embarked on an unprecedented and incomparable journey. The growth in cruise tourism over the past 20 years proves that Belize is a destination of choice for those seeking adventure, a host of natural wonders, and most importantly friendly and hospitable people.”

Harvest Caye is the only port in Belize to feature a cruise pier and also has a large marina, a shopping village with outlets for well-known brands and local Belizean craftsmen, and a 15,000sqft pool with a swim-up bar, poolside tables and 15 canopied cabanas with a beverage service. There is also a seven-acre, white sand beach with 11 beach villas that can accommodate up to 10 guests and offer air conditioning, dedicated lounge and dining areas, a private restroom, indoor and outdoor showers, hammocks and exclusive dining and beverage options with dedicated concierge service.

Bar and dining options include the beachside Laughing Bird Bar & Grill, the Manatee Marina Bar & Grill in the marina, the Horse-Eye Jack Bar & Grill, which will service the island’s cabanas and deliver food and beverages to the pool area. Another dining highlight will be the two-storey indoor and outdoor Landshark Bar & Grill, an expansion of Norwegian’s partnership with Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville. This venue features a swim-up pool bar.

Other island highlights include the 130ft-high Flighthouse, which serves as a central area for various aerial activities including 3,000ft zipline course with three platforms, suspension bridges, free fall jumps, a tandem ‘superman-style’ zipline and a ropes course on a platform in the saltwater lagoon. The shallow lagoon also offers watersports such as kayaking, paddle boarding and canoeing.

Norwegian has worked in collaboration with award-winning author and wildlife expert Tony Garel to develop Harvest Caye’s conservation programmes and educational tours. These enable guests to see manatees at the lagoon, insects in the Butterfly Garden, indigenous reptiles at the educational centre, and endangered Scarlet Macaws and Toucans (Belize’s national bird) in the island’s aviary.

The aviary houses a breed-and-release programme for Scarlet Macaws to increase the population of the native birds. To help further the island’s conservation efforts, more than 10,000 new mangroves have been planted across the island.

“Harvest Caye is truly the ultimate Belizean experience and we are delighted to welcome our first guests today,” said Frank Del Rio, president and CEO of NCLH. “We have worked closely with the government of Belize to ensure that that this spectacular destination was authentic for our guests, provided economic opportunities for the local community and preserved and protected Belize’s incredible natural beauty. We’re overjoyed with the results of this four-year development project, and we look forward to seeing Harvest Caye and Southern Belize grow as we delight the many guests that will call on the destination.”

Guests will be able to visit Harvest Caye on any of Norwegian’s Western Caribbean itineraries, while Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ sister brands Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises will also offer calls at the island on select Caribbean sailings.

 

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Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
Monday, November 21, 2016