The diversion of Norwegian Cruise Line to Harvest Caye has created a huge dent and has negatively affected business in the Belize City cruise tourism zone. Many people in the industry now realize how valuable the passengers off that ship were, as they were more willing to venture out and experience Belize with the local and independent tour operators and guides.
The biggest point that seems to get lost in this latest quagmire in cruise tourism in Belize is that about 3 to 4 years ago the cruise lines warned the Government of Belize that if they don’t install a docking facility in the Belize City harbor, they will cancel their calls to Belize. Tendering passengers to shore in smaller boats in the cruise ship business is a tedious process and will become a thing of the past.
The Government solution to that warning is Harvest Caye, owned by N.C.L. The crux of the matter is that, just as how the other cruise lines like Carnival are able to rent or lease space here in Belize City at the Fort Street Tourism Village owned by Royal Caribbean and Diamond International, the same way they will be able to rent Harvest Caye, eliminating the entire tendering process for their guests. This may not be felt immediately but it is a high possibility, especially during the slow season.
Until there is a proper docking facility in the Belize City harbor for ships, cruise tourism in this part of the country will slowly fade away into oblivion.