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Bahamas - Royal Caribbean's New Development Faces Backlash

Royal Caribbean recently announced it will open its new Royal Beach Club resort in 2025. The 17-acre destination experience will be located at the western end of Paradise Island in Nassau, The Bahamas. It will feature a combination of the island’s stunning beaches and the cruise line’s signature experiences.

However, while everything seemed to be ready for the cruise line to start construction, the company is now receiving inquiries about its environmental mitigation plans from one of the biggest resorts in the world.

Environmental Concerns Voiced by Atlantis Resort

Royal Caribbean International plans to open a 17-acre destination experience, the Royal Beach Club, in Nassau, The Bahamas, in 2025. However, The Atlantis Resort in Nassau has now voiced its concern over the project’s environmental mitigation plans.

According to the Tribune, The Atlantis’ senior vice-president of government affairs and special projects, Vaughn Roberts, confirmed the resort’s concerns over the proposed development of the western portion of Paradise Island in the Colonial Beach area.

Royal Caribbean's Bahamas Beach Club
Render Courtesy: Royal Caribbean

Atlantis says it’s concerned about how Royal Caribbean plans to mitigate any potential environmental concerns. In particular, the resort is concerned about how cruise lines have dumped waste in the oceans in the past:

Roberts expressed his concerns about dumping waste in the ocean by cruise lines, particular: “So we know that there are coral reefs there, we know that there has to be other environmental habitats there. So we just want to make sure it’s all done in a responsible way. Cruise lines have reports of dumping in the ocean and stuff. We’re not saying Royal Caribbean is guilty, but there have obviously been incidents in the past. We just haven’t seen enough of Royal Caribbean’s plans to know how they’re going to mitigate any risks.”

The Bahamian government does not seem to be impressed by the concerns aired by Atlantis, instead the Deputy Prime Minister of Tourism, the honorable Chester Cooper, stated Royal Beach Club is still subject to environmental assessments:

Minister of Tourism, Investments, and Aviation, Chester Cooper: The Government of The Bahamas notes the concern of Atlantis regarding Royal Caribbean International’s proposed Beach Club on Paradise Island. In my official statement dated March 7, 2023 we stated that approval is subject to Environmental Impact Assessment and an Environmental Management Plan. That remains the case.

“The Department of Environment and Physical Planning and Ministry of Works are aware of the questions raised by Atlantis and I am satisfied that these questions will be addressed as a part of the normal process.”

On top of the environmental concerns, legal disputes are still ongoing between a Bahamian entrepreneur and the local government over how Royal Caribbean’s lease contract of Crown Land was procured.

Legal Dispute Could Potentially Cause Problems for Royal

The legal dispute between Bahamian entrepreneur Toby Smith, the Government, and Royal Caribbean centers on the two Crown Land parcels sought by Smith for his project.

Read more.