Barbados announced plans to build a $300 million cruise terminal in Bridgetown, capable of berthing the largest ships in the industry.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Barbados-based SMI Infrastructure Solutions will partner with Barbados in the venture.
The project will be done in two phases and involves reclaiming 15 acres of land from the sea, according to George Hutson, minister of international transport and international business. Dredging is slated to begin in November.
The development will take place along Trevor's Way, a bit south of the existing Bridgetown Cruise Terminal and a 10-minute walk from the capital of Bridgetown.
The initial phase will include two cruise piers, arrival and departure facilities, and parking lots.
The proposed Sugar Point facility will separate cruise and cargo facilities, and the new terminal will include retail space and ground-transportation support.
Cruise tourism in Barbados grew from 127,000 passengers in 1985 to more than 725,000 in 2011.
"If we are going to remain relevant, if we are going to capitalize on the opportunities available from cruise tourism, we must renew our plant from the basic existing infrastructure to one which will accommodate and service the increasingly large cruise ships," Hutson said.
"The number of cruise ship calls have declined as ships have become larger and require more dedicated berths with specialized infrastructure." Follow Gay Nagle Myers on Twitter @gnmtravelweekly.