Stake Bank Cruise Port - modern docking facility 10 minutes from Belize City with four berths and facilities for passengers and crew

Belize's long-awaited Stake Bank Cruise Port is a 'go.' The 25-acre island project just off Belize City will shorten the current long tender ride to Belize Tourism Village by providing berths for four cruise ships, plus expedited tours dispatch, beaches, a crafts market and retail, dining, cabanas, over-water bungalows and crew facilities.

First phase cost including piers $67m

The cost of the project's first phase—including the two finger piers, large enough to handle four of the world's biggest cruise ships simultaneously—is $67m.

Belizean businessman Michael Feinstein—who developed Belize Tourism Village years ago—told Seatrade Cruise News all permits, including environmental, are in place, and funding is guaranteed. The project, he said, has the support of both the local public and private sectors in Belize.

'All the cruise lines we have communicated with have been in favor of this project, including one [that] offered to buy us out, one [that] offered to invest and many letters of support,' Feinstein said.

2020 completion

Work has begun, with the official groundbreaking set for January. Completion is targeted for the start of the high season in 2020.

One of the western Caribbean's most popular cruise destinations, Belize City has been challenged by the need for ships to tender passengers 45 minutes to shore. Belize Tourism Village can get congested and, from there, passengers taking excursions to Belize's natural wonders face additional lengthy transfers.

Stake Bank Cruise Port will provide a modern docking facility 10 minutes from Belize City, with facilities for tenders to the mainland and tour dispatch, 'like an intermodal center,' said Mike McFadden, president of Florida-based MAC Maritime, the project's cruise industry liaison. He noted this will especially facilitate waterborne excursions.

Beaches, over-water bungalows, bars, a water park

Stake Bank itself will be developed as a beach and cultural destination with ample passenger and crew facilities. These include a swimming and snorkeling lagoon, family beach, teen beach and, in a different location, a watersports zone. There will be tranquil seaside cabanas near a beach bar, and over-water bungalows.

A separate Beach Club will feature a pool, pool bar and grill, with an ample water park and kids' play zone nearby. An oceanfront restaurant will be located near the marina where tenders connect to Belize City.

Travelers will step ashore into a grand arrival plaza, and crew will have their own area, including a pool.

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