Haiti’s most recent flag

Carnival Corp. announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Haitian government to exclusively develop a cruise port on Ile de la Tortue on the north coast of Haiti. The deal is said to be just north of $70 million.

Carnival is no stranger to port development. They were instrumental in the development of both Costa Maya, Mexico and Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos. Both are now destinations in themselves. Costa Maya is almost essential on any Western Caribbean route.

Carnival never built their own private island like NCL, Princess, Disney, Royal Caribbean, Holland America did. They never saw the return on investment with the steep initial costs. Now that Carnival has by far and large the most ships sailing to the Caribbean, there is now a need to add some variety to their itineraries. They partnered with their sister line Holland America for the use of Half Moon Cay on some itineraries. Frequent CCL callers to the Bahamian island are Carnival Victory, Pride, Fascination, Splendor, Fantasy, and the Liberty. More recently, as of this season, Carnival is buying slots from rival Royal Caribbean to use their Bahamian island; Cococay. When a CCL ship calls there, interestingly enough they change the name to Little Stirrup Cay. The Fascination and Fantasy call there occasionally during the month.

Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas moored in Labadee (wikimedia)

To add even more Rival Royal Caribbean has been using Labadee, Haiti as one of their exclusive ports of call. They’ve found that its only a day’s sail from any Florida port and is right by the normal southwardly routes to and from the Virgin Islands. It’s no surprise that if its economical and makes sense, Carnival will bite. It seems they just did.

Carnival stated that this development will create “tremendous economic impact” to the locals. Concerning cruisers, “The development will create an exciting opportunity for our guests to enjoy a new, secluded and stunning destination.”

There’s still no word on when Carnival will start to feature their new port on calls.

Their other rival’s NCL announced eariler this year that they intend to build their own off the coast of Belize valued at $50 million.