Harvest Caye, it was supposed to open in March of this year, but delays in construction pushed that date back. And now, it has been announced that the first call to the Harvest Caye Cruise Port will be on November 15, 2016, and there will be four calls per week. Norwegian made the announcement at a cruise industry event called Seatrade Cruise Global – the world’s largest cruise industry event. Tourism Minister Manuel Heredia and the Tourism Director Karen Bevans, were there for the announcement.
According to a press release, Senior Vice President of Destination and Port Operations, Colin Murphy boasted that his company had used up to 200 Belizeans on a regular basis during construction, and that after they start up, they will employ around four to five hundred persons.
The island will feature a seven acre beach, a 15,000 square foot pool, 15 canopy pool cabanas a 130 ft. tall Flighthouse for zip lining and free fall jumps. The release adds that to further conservations efforts, 10,000 new mangroves have been planted throughout the island.
Norwegian reveals amenities at its private port in Belize
Harvest Caye being built on two islands off coast of Belize City
Seven-acre beach, resort-style pool area are among amenities
Island will offer thrills, water sports, eco-activities
Harvest Caye, Norwegian Cruise Line’s private port in Belize, will have beach villas, a large pool area with cabanas, a variety of aerial activities including zip lining, water sports in the lagoon, wildlife programs and a shopping village.
The cruise line on Wednesday revealed details about the port and recreational area it is building on two adjoining islands off the coast of Belize City. Harvest Caye, originally scheduled to open in mid-February, is now scheduled to open in November.
The islands will have a cruise ship pier so that passengers can walk off the ship and onto land and won’t have to be tendered. It will also have a large marina, the departure point for certain shore excursions.
“Belize is one of the most ecologically and culturally rich gems in the Caribbean, and Harvest Caye will be the perfect destination for guests to experience all that the country has to offer in authentic, unique ways,” said Andy Stuart, Norwegian’s president and chief operating officer.
It also will have a variety of places to eat, although all will cost extra, unlike most cruise lines’ private islands and beaches — including Norwegian’s Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas — where dining is complimentary. Royal Caribbean, Disney and Carnival/Holland America include dining on their private islands and beaches in the cruise fare.
Guests at Harvest Caye have the option of returning to the ship for meals that don’t cost extra, a spokesperson said.
Harvest Caye’s amenities will include:
A seven-acre beach that Norwegian calls “the heart of the destination.” It will have 11 enclosed “beach villas” with air conditioning, private restroom, hammocks, indoor and outdoor showers, exclusive dining options and concierge services. The villas, available for rent, can accommodate up to 10 guests.
A 15,000-square-foot pool with lush landscaping, swim-up bar, a footbridge and waterfall near the center of the pool, lounge chairs, umbrellas and 15 cabanas available for rent.
A 130-foot tall “Flighthouse” as the central area for a variety of aerial activities including zip lining, suspension bridges, free fall jumps, a tandem “superman” style zip line and a ropes course located on a platform in the saltwater lagoon. Kayaking, paddle boarding and canoeing will be offered in the lagoon.
Eco-activities and facilities including manatee observation tours, an aviary (with a breed and release program for Scarlet Macaws), butterfly garden and educational center.
Shore excursions that will include Mayan ruins, river rafting, nature tours and more, some of them on the mainland.
Five dining and bar outlets including a two-story Landshark Bar & Grill (with swim-up pool bar) that is an expansion of Norwegian’s partnership with Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville. Other a la carte dining options: casual street-style dining in the shopping village, the Laughing Bird Bar & Grill on the beach, the Manatee Marina Bar & Grill in the marina, and the Horse-Eye Jack Bar & Grill by the pool.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ sister brands Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises will also call at Harvest Caye on select Caribbean sailings.
Norwegian announced in January that the opening of Harvest Caye, then scheduled for mid-February, would be delayed until November. At least six of the line’s ships had to change their itineraries, although most will simply go to Belize City instead. No specific reason was given, other than a comment that “We are dedicated to delivering the highest quality amenities and services to our guests in one of the richest ecosystems in the region.”
The delay was announced just before a judge ruled in a lawsuit filed in Belize that the Belizean government had taken improper shortcuts in its environmental review of the project in order to hasten development of Harvest Caye. The ruling did not stop work on the port.
A Landshark Bar & Grill will open at Harvest Caye.
Norwegian's port in Belize to have ziplines, freefall jump Norwegian Cruise Line divulged details of its upgraded Harvest Caye private port, scheduled to open in Belize in mid-November.
The port will have a pier where Norwegian ships can tie up, a seven-acre sand beach, a marina that will serve as a departure point for excursions, and a 130-foot-tall lighthouse structure that will anchor a pair of ziplines, a freefall jump attraction and several observation platforms.
“We think this is going to be a very, very popular feature," Norwegian President Andy Stuart said in a presentation at the Seatrade Cruise Global conference here.
In addition to the beach, there will be a 15,000-square-foot pool with a swim-up bar, cascading waterfall and canopy style cabanas available for rent. There will also be 11 deluxe air-conditioned beachfront cabanas that will have hammocks, private bathrooms, indoor and outdoor showers and other premium features. Pricing has not been decided, Stuart said.
Harvest Caye to Feature Cruise Ship Pier, Seven-Acre Beach, Adventure Activities & More Norwegian Cruise Line's new private island port in Belize, Harvest Caye, will have its own cruise ship port, making it the only port in the Central American country where passengers will walk off the ship rather than tender to land. The port will also boast a seven-acre sand beach, 15,000-square-foot pool, zip lining, suspensions bridges and free fall jumps, and five dining and beverage venues. Passengers seeking an exclusive beach experience can rent one of the Harvest Caye's 11 beach villas, each of which can accommodate up to 10 people. The villas are equipped with air conditioning, a dedicated lounge and dining room, a private bathroom, indoor and outdoor showers, hammocks and exclusive dining and beverage options with dedicated concierge service so passengers never have to leave the beach to get food or a drink.
For those who prefer pool fun to beach fun, Harvest Caye will offer a 15,000-square-foot pool featuring swim-up bar with stools and lounge tables in the water. The pool will be encircled by lounge chairs and umbrellas, along with 15 canopy pool cabanas available for rent. In the cabanas, you'll find upscale lounge furniture, privacy drapes and beverage service.
Harvest Caye Opens Next Week; Will Opponents Relent?
After extensive debate and more than a few hurt feelings, Norwegian Cruise Line is finally ready to get its cruise port at Harvest Caye in the Stann Creek District off the ground. An inauguration of the multimillion dollars tourism project is being planned as the first ships come into harbour next week. We hear more from Tourism Minister Manuel Heredia.
Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation
“With the Harvest Caye yes, I can inform you that on the seventeenth, that is next week Friday if I am not mistaken, the first cruise ship is supposed to be docking over there – Norwegian Cruise Line will be docking over there. And I believe that again, there will be a formal inauguration; I am sure that you all might be there to witness that milestone. I know there were many people critical of that project; I know that even today, there are a few local stakeholders that are not so happy about what is [it]; but we are still continuing the negotiations and at the end of the day after a few months from now, I believe that we will have practically most Belizeans happy about what will be happening.”
Animation video: Harvest Caye, opening November 2016
Take a peek at paradise! Harvest Caye, the Caribbean’s premier resort-style destination in Southern Belize will begin to welcome guests this November. Enjoy the natural beauty and culture of Belize along with lush native landscaping, a swim up pool bar, luxury cabanas, thrilling aerial activities, water sports and more!
Sneak Peek At Norwegian Cruise Line’s Exclusive Harvest Caye Port
Two days before Norwegian Cruise Line’s Harvest Caye Cruise Port officially opened #MyTravelingFeet were given a sneak peek of the island’s facilities and a chance to enjoy its charm before the masses did. It’s gates opened today, Thursday, November 17, to over 2,000 passengers eager to visit one of the most beautiful ports and destinations in the world,
The island was not running at 100%, a few of the facilities were operational with the exception all the food and beverage stalls, gift shops, the Macaw Aviary Exhibit, the kiddie activity pool and to my disappointment the big zipline. Even though I am in post-surgery recovery, I was willing to take the leap and fly headfirst like Superman across the island on the 3,000-foot zipline. Oh well, I might get a chance some day; should I book my cruise now?
The lighthouse that towers 130 feet is one of the island’s most impressive structures and an activity hub where guests can also take free fall jumps and marvel at stunning panoramic views of Belize’s Maya Mountains and the Placencia coastline on the observation deck.
Then, for those who would rather shop till they drop, the port offers name-brand retailers at their shopping village and Belizean owned shops with local crafts and gift items.
Click here to read the rest of the article and see LOTS more photos in the iTravel Belize Blog
HARVEST CAYE: THE NEW TOURIST MECCA IN SOUTHERN BELIZE
The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE), under the auspices of the Ministry responsible for Investment, Trade and Commerce, is mandated to facilitate and promote investment in Belize. The massive investment happening at Harvest Caye in the southern part of the country is yet another vivid example of BELTRAIDE’s efforts to foster investments.
On Tuesday November 15, 2016 Belize Island Holdings Limited, a subsidiary of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, held a soft opening for its Eco/Adventure Cruise Port at Harvest Caye.
Harvest Caye sits a few miles south from the Placencia mainland and it takes only eighteen minutes to get there by boat. Upon arrival, the visitor cannot help but to enter in a state of wonderment as the vast beauty of the island unfolds.
Its turquoise water, sandy beach lined with beach beds, huge pier, and array of restaurants and bars, butterfly farm, nature trails, the welcome center, shopping centers, massive lighthouse tower used for zip lining, water sports facilities and its condescending giant pool all infuse the visitor’s amazement.
The Eco/Adventure Cruise Port will allow cruise line passengers to experience Belize at its finest on the island that has all the imaginable amenities to pamper the discerning tourist.
Harvest Caye is stunningly spectacular! But so is the continuous support the project received from the Government of Belize.
Like Harvest Caye there are also other projects that are benefiting from the Government’s keen commitment to foster investment.
Hola! Harvest Caye, 7News Forced To Take In The View From The Sea
Norwegian Cruise Line's Harvest Caye Cruise Port was opened today, and their first ship docked at their island getaway. That first vessel, the "Norwegian Dawn" brought approximately 2,000 guests for this opening day at the island which is just off the cost of the Placencia Peninsula.
And so, four years after it got off to a rocky start in 2013, the south is now opened to mass cruise tourism, after a long and bumpy journey for Norwegian Cruise Line.
According to the BTB, the opening ceremony was a gala event attended by Tourism Minister Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Transport and NEMO, Edmon Castro, and the Special Envoy for Women and Children.
But, we only have second hand information on that because none of the local media was invited. That's despite our repeated requests to the Tourism Ministry, the BTB, and Norwegian.
But, undeterred, camera-man Codie Noralez, and reporter, Daniel Ortiz, crashed the party anyway. They started a very early morning journey to be there for that moment when the "Norwegian Dawn" docked on Harvest Caye. The island is private property, which means that they were only allowed get as close as NCL allowed. Here's what they saw:
Daniel Ortiz reporting
Early this morning the 950 foot "Norwegian Dawn" cruise ship slowly approached Harvest Caye. That's where it would remain for the entire day. On this Thursday, she would offload her two thousand plus passengers onto NCL's private island getaway, probably making history as the first major cruise ship to land in harbor in Southern Belize.
The captain skillfully navigated the channel created after months of dredging, and after about 15 minutes of reversing the boat, it finally came to a stop right at the facility's docking area. It looked almost routine, however, it is anything but. What you're actually observing is the use of the only berthing facility in the country, which allows vessels of the Norwegian Dawn's size pull right up to a land mass. It eliminates the need for cruise ship tendering, meaning that no other vessels were needed to ferry the tourists from the ship to dry land.
Now, keep in mind that this is private property, and even though we asked, Norwegian didn't give us any invitation to observe this important first for the country. So, we were about as welcomed as a negative guest review of Harvest Caye. For its part, Norwegian Cruise Line needed this launch to go off without a single hitch.
The first sign of that came from the Belize Port Authority who sped in our direction to investigate who it was that was in proximity of the vessel and the island. They quickly left us to our own devices when they realized that we were media. Also in the distance, from the island's berthing facility, Collin Murphy, NCL's Vice President of Destinations - the same one whose been ignoring our emails - spotted our chartered vessel and signaled for us to retreat further back. We did, and an NCL security vessel, approached to lay down the rules about proximity if we were going to be allowed to stay - seems this corporation has its own territorial waters.
We did abide, and we were allowed to observe the offloading of Harvest Caye's first visitors. Since this is an official port of entry into Belize, Immigration Officers boarded the vessel, processed the documents of those who would get off the ship and explore the island.
Moving on to other side of Harvest, we got a chance to look at the beach front, and the completed look was far more luxurious than when we visited a few months ago.
From the distance, we could see lawn chairs, a long line of tents, stationary umbrellas, all on one side, and on the other, there were several cabanas with guests already enjoying the seafront. Harvest Caye's sprawling beach did not appear at all diminished by the real estate repurposed for those amenities.
From the distance, we could make out life guards, and on-duty police officers all keeping an eye out for danger. Off to the side, there was a clean up crew on permanent standby.
As for the cruise guests themselves, they immediately took on the recreation packages that came with their visit to Harvest Caye. We saw some of them taking a dip in the sea, while others immediately signed up for zip lining, or rappelling, while some went Kayaking. Others explored the beach, and still, other left Harvest Caye on smaller vessels, most likely off on some diving, snorkeling or land tour. Others were congregated at what looked to be restaurant or bars on the island.
Taking in all of the island's polish from this distance required a bit of time, and every so often, we were reminded that the tolerance of the island's owners was wearing thinner by the moment. Having observed all we could from the sea, we ended our Harvest Caye escapade.
For a look at today's event from the inside, we'll have to wait until tomorrow, when the Government Press Office - which was the only media entity allowed to participate - will make the footage available to the press. A photo provided by the BTB shows Kim Barrow cutting the ribbon. In an accompanying press release, Heredia is quoted as saying that Harvest Caye will generate 500 direct jobs and over 1,500 indirect jobs by the year 2020." The island is said to have quote, "7 acre white sandy beaches, luxurious villas, a 1500 square foot pool…and a shopping village.
Brand new Norwegian cruise line terminal in Belize C America
Honored to be there for the inauguration..ENJOY
Harvest Caye Coming In From The Cold
In last night's headline, we showed you how Norwegian Cruise Line's Harvest Caye island getaway welcomed its first cruise visitors. It's a multi-million dollar investment in Southern Belize, and it comes with the only berthing facility for cruise ships in the country.
As we told you, we were refused an invitation to cover the opening ceremony, and the Government Press Office was the only local media entity there.
So, while we were only able to show you how the island looked from the distance on the sea, with the Press Office video from the island, we get to see all the pageantry that Norwegian refused to let us capture for Belizean viewing audiences.
And if Colin Murphy, NCL's Senior Vice President of Destinations and Strategic Planning, looked to be fighting back tears at during his speech - it's not because he was missing us!:
Colin Murphy, Sr. VP. Destinations and Strategic Dev., NCL "We put a team of 400 people, give or take, between us and Food & Beverage and we have one of our corporate trainers do a lot of training. I'm going to say 95% of the folks that you see working here have zero hospitality experience. We were so impressed by the quality of the people, by the attitude, by the big smiles and their willingness to learn so I'm very grateful. Finally, I've got to thank the government of Belize from the Prime Minister on downwards. To Minister Heredia my friend, and to every other minister in the government. Karen Bevans of BTB and her team, thank you very much for giving us this opportunity. We've all been doing this for what reason? So that you can come here for 7 hours and have a wonderful time right? That's all you've got to do."
Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism "On behalf of the government and people of Belize, I would like to welcome you all to this important occasion. The arrival of Norwegian Dawn to Harvest Caye today is a milestone in the cruise tourism industry, but for this to happen, it needed a lot of people with open minds, it needed the support of a lot of people in particularly one person that comes to mind to me who was up and down, back and forth never giving up is Mr. Colin Murphy from Norwegian Cruise Lines. I believe we owe him a big round of applause. Many times I thought that he would leave because of little hurdles that were around but he never gave up."
The man who's going to provide all the food and beverage for the islands 4 restaurants and 9 bars is Dustin Bowen. He's the step-son of the late bottling magnate Sir Barry Bowen.
Dustin owns the popular Belize City restaurant and bar, the Riverside Tavern, and his company, Provisions Belize, will cater to all of Harvest Caye's guests. He gave the Government Press Office an interview and spoke about how he and his team have prepared themselves for the opportunity which Harvest Caye's tourist traffic will bring:
Dustin Bowen, CEO, Provisions Belize Ltd. "We have the entire contract for all the food and beverage units on Harvest Caye. We've been involved since the inception for about 4 years. We've been very fortunate that Mr. Murphy has included us from then. It gave us an opportunity to really be a part of the development process of all the F&B venues here. So even from an operational standpoint, that helps us out a lot. Knowing what we need as operators and not just developers. We have Landshark Bar & Grill which is behind us, we have the Horseside Jack which stand in the villas, LaughingBird bar & grill which you saw today that was very busy on the beach in front of all of those lounge chairs, then Manatee Bar & Grill which is the village bar. We also manage the Kiosks in the village, Ice Cream, Daiquiri, Rum Coco, that is soon to be open as well. Not all Belizeans have the opportunity to go abroad, study and get the exposure. My commitment as a Belizean has, from the very beginning, I have a passion for people, I have a passion for food and culinary, and after my studies my intention was to come back to the country and spread that knowledge and wealth to give my people the opportunity to do the same. The intention is always to have them grow with me and eventually if they'd like to start their own business and become something else not just work under the provisions Belize Company, that's really the intention for them to own their homes, their own vehicles, whatever they want in life I really try to guide them that way. We employ over 150 people today now with Admin and all the service people on the island today. To finally have this come to fruition after being involved for 4 years, I had goosebumps walking up seeing the ship, being really close up and then watching all the people kind of spread out and enjoy the venues. We've had nothing but encouraging compliments and comments coming from all the cruisers. They say they've seen nothing like it before. The Zip lines, the activities, the food and beverage, everybody's very happy. Of course we're learning a couple of things they're going to request and like for their amenities, but it's all building data and knowing how to accomplish that within the next ship visit. This will definitely give Belize the justice it deserves because of the layout, the authenticity, when somebody visits Harvest Caye now you can truly say 'I've been to somewhere in Belize that represents Belize'."
With the opening of Harvest Caye, Cruise Tourism will now - for better or worse - become a key tourism feature of Southern Belize, which, prior to its arrival, depended exclusively on overnight tourism.
Tourism Minister Speaks About Harvest Caye Investment
Minister of Tourism Manuel Heredia was on hand for the ribbon cutting and represented the Government of Belize. According to Heredia, the project falls within the sustainable tourism master plan.
Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism
“On behalf of the government and people of Belize, I would like to welcome you all to this important occasion. The arrival of Norwegian Dawn to Harvest Caye today is a milestone in the cruise tourism industry. But for this to happen, it needed a lot of people with open minds; it needed the support of a lot of people, in particular one person that comes to mind to me who was up and down, back and forth, never giving up, is Mister Colin Murphy from Norwegian Cruise Lines. I believe he deserves a round of applause. Many times I thought that he would leave because of little hurdles that were around, but he never gave up. The arrival of this cruise line today is so important to many Belizeans because of the job creations, because they will be able to showcase their cultures, their traditional products, and I believe that this government has done its fair share and we welcome investment to Belize. I also have to applaud the nine agencies that work together with the project and that is the Ministry of Investment, Petroleum; it’s agencies: BELTRAIDE, the Ministry of Tourism, particularly the Belize Tourism Board of which my director, Karen Bevans, did a fantastic job along with her team. Also Customs Department, Immigration Department; BAHA. The southern Belize people; those are the ones that we must congratulate because they are the ones that we must congratulate because they are the ones that will be living the day-to-day experiences over here. And I believe that the type of product that Norwegian has created today is one of the best in the Caribbean. They have tried to customize our Belizean products rather than having international franchise from around the area and we are very proud of them for that initiative. This particular project will be employing by the year 2020 at least one thousand one hundred and seventy-five workers directly and another seven to eight hundred indirectly. So it’s a big, big help to Belize. Also the project was constructed in line with our Sustainable Tourism Master Plan. Norwegian has been kind enough and working together with us to create the type of sustainable ecotourism that is needed and is welcomed in Belize.”