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    Belize rejects NCL port proposal. Surprised?

    Belize’s government this week turned down a proposal from Norwegian Cruise Line to build a cruise ship terminal on Crawl Caye, a small island near Belize’s Placencia peninsula, citing unacceptable environmental impact, according to a government statement. The project had been opposed by some local environmental and tourism organizations. Despite rejecting the proposal, the government will continue to work with Norwegian Cruise Line on identifying “alternate sites” for a cruise ship facility, according to the statement.

    “Cabinet accepted the recommendation from a technical team working with cabinet’s sub-committee, examining Norwegian Cruise Line’s proposal for a cruise terminal, that Crawl Caye in the southern waters cannot be developed as a cruise terminal because of numerous environmental considerations,” read the statement, published June 5 on the Belizean.com website.

    “However, in an effort to stimulate employment and open up other economic benefits for Belizeans in the south, Cabinet did support Norwegian Cruise Line’s request to search for an alternate site in Southern waters. Any new site and project proposal will be presented to the current Cabinet Sub-committee chaired by Minister Godwin Hulse,” the statement added. Hulse is Belize’s labor minister.

    “We appreciate the consideration given to our proposal by the government of Belize and we respect their decision,” said Norwegian officials in a statement. “Norwegian Cruise Line understands that protecting our oceans is vitally important. Going forward, we will continue to look for development options both in Belize as well as other areas in the Caribbean.”

    By Brian Major, Travel Pulse

    For more cruise news & articles go to http://www.cruisecrazies.com/index.html

    Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more


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    Even though I enjoy cruising, I don't think that every island in the Caribbean needs to open a cruise port. My internet search of Crawl Caye indicates that it is a 45 acre private island, that looks undeveloped, and is also within the UNESCO World Heritage site. The article didn't say, but I wonder if they considered an agreement that involved tenders.

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    I think the Belize government is wise to turn this down. There would seem to be a huge environmental impact in bringing a large cruise ship. Saw this quote at ambergriscaye.com:

    Dr. Melanie McField, Environmentalist

    “The first thing would be to look at the island itself and it’s primarily wet mangrove so anytime you want to do a large-scale development in mangroves that typically involves dredging and filling. Now I’ve understood that they say their going to build some walkways because they’ve said they want to minimize that but there is still a lot of infrastructure to be able to service bathrooms and changing rooms and just facilities, gift shops. I’m sure this would be, you know, there’s a lot of land surface you need to service thousands of people at once. These are large boats, so they would be dredging and filling and creating land and I’m told that they’ve said they need seventy acres of dry land and that is not there right now. So the actual dredging of the seabed is obviously, you know, an environmental impact that you can’t mitigate because you’re removing what’s there, it’s often sea grass. There’s a lot of coral reef around this area, shoals. There’s banks with shallow shoals that will have to be entirely removed for the ship to be able to get through there and on those shoals there’s sea grass bed sponges, coral reef. Ringing the island is apparently a very healthy coral reef.”

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    It sounds to me with the info provided by Kevin, the NCL was more shooting towards developing Crawl Caye as a private island considering it is about 45 acres big. Since Belize has refused this proposal citing the possible environmental impact, maybe now Belize should give some attention to the port where the tenders from the ships currently arrive. For anyone that has been to the port of Belize, you already know of it's unorganized state. You ride a tender for 20 to 30 minutes and are taken to a port that is more of a "Flea Market" then anything else. We went to the "Restaurant" right at the port entrance just to find that half of the items on the menu were no longer being offered. We walked around the garage sale environment and were greeted by sales people that would give you an attitude if you walked out of their shop without buying anything. There were people hanging over the perimeter walls of the port yelling and with signs trying to get you to come outside for a horse and buggy ride. I was NOT impressed by ANY means by this port of call!! I know that many enjoy the scuba and snorkeling Belize can offer but some passengers like to just venture out on their own (as we have done in Bermuda). We spent maybe 2 hours in the port before returning to the ship. If any of our future cruises include Belize as a port of call, we have already agreed to stay on the ship. UNLESS, they do something about the port.

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    If I recall, Belize was one of the ports that said, "you need to use our tenders". If there's a port, no tender service.

    Also, they had a lot of "straw markets" by the dock. If there's a port with cruise shopping, the locals are cut out.

    I can really see both sides.

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    I wonder why Belize doesn't just finish the port project they started about 6 years ago, about 3 miles from the current tender port. It's right next to the container pier just outside of the city and if you look at it on Google Earth, it's the U-shaped area that projects out into the bay. They used to have a website with drawings for the 2 piers that they were going to put there.

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