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.
Last edited by Marty; Yesterday at03:14 PM.
#519082 - 11/17/1609:51 AMRe: Harvest Caye Opening Slated For November
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.
A familiarization tour of the newly opened Harvest Caye, Cruise Port.
Click photos for more pictures!
Just Back From Harvest Caye
10 Things Cruise Passengers Will Love About Norwegian's New Island
We've just spent a day at Harvest Caye, Norwegian Cruise Line's new purpose-built port, and we're impressed. Nearly four years in the making and still a month from completion, the island, located in southern Belize, is receiving its final polish as local workers finish paving walkways, installing fixtures and training for cruise passenger-facing jobs.
Although Harvest Caye was designed specifically to receive cruisers, it doesn't feel forced. When it officially opens its gates to its first ship -- Norwegian Dawn on November 17 -- passengers won't find high-end jewelry stores or pushy shore excursion vendors hawking tours. What you will find is a glittering oasis that's well thought out, easy to navigate and eco-friendly.
Don't call it a private island, though. What differentiates Harvest Caye is that, like Grand Turk, Amber Cove or Mahogany Bay, it's not necessarily an extension of your cruise. When you visit, you'll find the island staffed by Belizean locals, rather than the ship's crew, and you'll have to pay for lunch, just as if you ate ashore in any other port that's not a private island. Although nothing official is in place just yet, Norwegian also plans to allow other cruise lines to use the port once it's up and running.
Overall, it's clean and modern with interesting details and just the right amount of classy kitsch. Here are 10 things we think you'll love about Harvest Caye.
1. Support for Belize
When Norwegian committed to creating Harvest Caye, the line decided to stay as local as possible by sourcing many of its building materials from within Belize. Hundreds of Belizeans were employed during the construction of the island, and more than 400 others will work there when the port opens. Norwegian tells us that employees will also be paid to perform various community service projects throughout Belize on days when ships aren't in port. Don't expect Diamonds International, either. Visitors will find local artists and vendors manning the stores and kiosks of the island's small shopping area, and much of what makes the island aesthetically pleasing -- everything from the art and vegetation to the hardwood that covers the building exteriors -- came from within the country. This means visitors will feel more like they're visiting Belize and less like they're visiting an amusement park. "The way it connects with Belize is impressive," says Andy Stuart, Norwegian Cruise Line's president and CEO. "You discover the destination as you work your way around the destination."
2. Attention to Detail
The amount of expertise brought to the table by the team responsible for the island's creation is stunning. Among the individuals are two local restaurateurs, a former Disney Imagineer, an 18-year veteran destination strategist, an engineer who previously specialized in roads and bridges, and a developer who worked on two purpose-built islands for another cruise line. We're told the goal was to make Harvest Caye reminiscent of a British colony, and it sure does feel that way. In fact, next to the island's enormous pool stands an outpost of Jimmy Buffet-affiliated LandShark Bar & Grill, designed to look like a governor's mansion. Staging and shore excursion embarkation are handled on a separate island, Malacate, which means there's less congestion on Harvest Caye. Little touches also matter: shade canopies and mist-blowing fans have been added in all the right places, two tiny cannons flank the island's entrance gate in memory of the Battle of St. George's Caye, and during our visit, executives were chatting about the need for hooks on the backs of bathroom doors so people can hang purses and towels.
3. Private Retreats
It seems cruisers go crazy for tropical huts; they're in luck on Harvest Caye. Eleven beachfront villas (including one ADA) are available for daily rental. Each has air-conditioning and its own living area, private bathroom, outdoor shower and loungers. Prices start at $475 for up to six people. Fifteen poolside cabanas are also offered from $199 for the day.
4. Nature Center
As part of its commitment to conservation and eco-friendly tourism, Norwegian has included a nature center on Harvest Caye. You can walk through it for free and check out boa constrictors, toucans and scarlet macaws. There's even an enclosed butterfly garden that's also home to several dozen iguanas. To care for the animals, the cruise line has enlisted the help of a naturalist who boasts 25 years of experience with the Belize Zoo.
One of the most noticeable landmarks on the island is a giant lighthouse, housing Harvest Caye's for-fee zipline. Two separate runs are offered. The first is split into segments, and the second covers a 1,300-foot-long expanse between the lighthouse and the beach. Cruisers who want even more adventure can also take on the island's ropes course.
Harvest Caye's 7-acre beach features some 3,000 sun loungers, which are free for passenger use. Some offer shaded clamshell-style awnings, but they're expected to be at a premium, so snag yours early in the day.
7. Splash Zone
If sandy beaches and a massive pool aren't enough for your kids, check out the small, shaded, brightly colored Splash Zone, featuring sprayers and a dump bucket.
8. Bars and Restaurants
On the island, visitors will find five bars and several restaurants, the most anticipated of which is LandShark Bar & Grill. The two-story eatery, overlooking the largest pool we've ever seen, will offer both indoor (air-conditioned) and open-air seating and a menu with some delicious burgers. Beer served includes LandShark and Belikin, a Belizean brew; just next to LandShark will be the Belikin Beer Garden, featuring self-serve beer machines that passengers can access with their cruise cards.
9. Water Fun
For those who wish to stay active in the water, Harvest Caye has a lagoon with kayaks, paddleboards and small motorized boats for rent. In case we haven't already mentioned it enough, there's a gigantic pool, too, with a swim-up bar, in-water seating and a food service window.
Unlike the port in Belize City, which requires passengers to ferry ashore in tender boats, Harvest Caye has its own one-berth dock, which means ships can pull right up to the island to offload cruisers. The pier is long, but it will be completely shaded by a canopy.
Behind-the-Scenes: Norwegian Cruise Line Impresses with New Harvest Caye For the most part, the concept of cruise line private islands has been the same for years – a controlled shoreside experience mostly insulated from the surrounding region – so it’s refreshing to see Norwegian Cruise Line expand on it to craft a whole destination experience that embraces the mainland and its local operation with the brand new Harvest Caye (pronounced “key”) in Belize.
Before Colin P. Murphy, Senior Vice President, Destination & Strategic Development for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., and Dan Drahozal, Guest Services Director, offered a select group of journalists an exclusive tour of the Belizean port-of-call, I had high hopes for the island development based on beautiful renderings, but only after experiencing the stellar island for myself can I confirm that it is set to give the competition a run for their money.
"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."
What about Harley Davidson and Jimmy Buffett's landshark are Belize?
The only Belizean parts seem to be those serving you.
The recent tendency of the cruise lines to eliminate port stops in actual cities inhabited by local residents — replacing those ports with stops in phony, artificial "private islands" or "private beaches" — has now escalated. By creating a phony island for their passengers on Caribbean cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line has given us the phony island to end all such fakes.
It's called "Harvest Caye," and it's a separate small island developed by the cruise line, reachable by a 15-minute boat ride from the mainland of southern Belize. Passengers are disembarked on Harvest Caye, from which they walk under a canopy shielding them from the sun to the various facilities on this private island. If travelers want to experience the real Belize, they could take the boat ride to the mainland, but I would assume that this further trip primarily is for people signing up for an escorted sightseeing tour of the mainland. I am guessing that few passengers would board that boat and, after arriving, walk close to 3 miles to the Placencia Village on the mainland.
Rather, the facilities on the private island are designed to keep passengers rooted there, spending money at the various enticing comforts and attractions of Harvest Caye.
The island has hundreds and hundreds of chaise lounges, several villas for daylong rent, several restaurants charging for their meals, an entire shopping village, a giant swimming pool, a zoo (of all things) and every other artificial attraction meant to keep passengers from ever experiencing the nature and community life of Belize.
And what about Belize itself? Is it worth visiting? The answer to that would cause long-time visitors to Belize to sputter with indignation. Belize is one of the great ecological adventure areas of the world. It sports caves for tubing, waterfalls for swimming under, exotic birds and every sort of sealife — manatees, particularly, and lobsters as well. Several organizations seeking to protect the unique and enthralling environment of Belize are apoplectic with anger over what developments like Harvest Caye will do to their cherished area.
The Norwegian Cruise Line passengers spending their day at Harvest Caye see and experience nothing of Belize — they might as well have stayed at home and visited a heated day spa or steam bath. They have not experienced any kind of foreign travel, an experience that, to me, is one of the chief rewards of booking aboard a traditional cruise. I, for one, will avoid those cruises that substitute so-called private islands for actual real-life islands and communities.
— Arthur Frommer is the pioneering founder of the Frommer's Travel Guide book series. He co-hosts the radio program, The Travel Show, with his travel correspondent daughter Pauline Frommer. Find more destinations online and read Arthur Frommer's blog at frommers.com.