Two days before Norwegian Cruise Line’s Harvest Caye Cruise Port officially opened #MyTravelingFeet were given a sneak peek of the island’s facilities and a chance to enjoy its charm before the masses did. It’s gates opened today, Thursday, November 17, to over 2,000 passengers eager to visit one of the most beautiful ports and destinations in the world,
We were excited for the invitation knowing that not many locals will have the opportunity to experience the island. Harvest Caye is exclusively for Norwegian Cruise Line passengers and guest ships.
The island was not running at 100%, a few of the facilities were operational with the exception all the food and beverage stalls, gift shops, the Macaw Aviary Exhibit, the kiddie activity pool and to my disappointment the big zipline. Even though I am in post-surgery recovery, I was willing to take the leap and fly headfirst like Superman across the island on the 3,000-foot zipline. Oh well, I might get a chance some day; should I book my cruise now?
The lighthouse that towers 130 feet is one of the island’s most impressive structures and an activity hub where guests can also take free fall jumps and marvel at stunning panoramic views of Belize’s Maya Mountains and the Placencia coastline on the observation deck.
What we did get to do was ‘speed’ at 2mph around the lagoon on an electric boat perfectly fit for two. A great time to slow down, cool off and relax – it was quite romantic too. There are plenty of water activities, like kayaking, paddle boarding and canoeing, and manatee observations led by tour guides.
Harvest Caye is the only Belize port that features a cruise ship pier, so guests can walk from the boat right to the resort. Like we pretty much did, they can spend their time under the sun in lounge chairs that have been spread out on seven acres of beach. You can also frolic on the white sandy beach or soak in the 15,000 square-foot pool. It’s an impressive pool, one of the largest in the Caribbean according to them. It has a swim up bar!!!
We have been ‘busily tired’ so relaxing was our main goal, not at all difficult to do. There are personal cabanas that feature concierge food and beverage service and even luxury villas for guests who want some additional privacy and pampering. We got to check them out. They are equipped with air conditioning, lounge and dining areas, a private restroom, indoor and outdoor showers, hammocks, and exclusive dining and beverage options with dedicated concierge service. Posh!
Then, for those who would rather shop till they drop, the port offers name-brand retailers at their shopping village and Belizean owned shops with local crafts and gift items.
To our surprise, we met up with over ten staff members in the food and beverage division who were from San Pedro. Friendly faces of bartenders, waiters and managers we have come to know in the hospitality sector on Ambergris Caye.
Local business man, Dustin Bowen, has his hands full with a staff of over 120 people who work at Landshark Bar and Grill. All his employees have been receiving training to meet international standards, even those of Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. The food, local beer (Belikin) and cocktails were amazing and the staff at attention. There will be a total of five dining options and bars including the two-story indoor/outdoor Landshark Bar and Grill.
Over 85% of Harvest Caye’s employs are Belizeans. Most are gaining knowledge and experience from the high level of training they are receiving at the cruise port. None of them live on site, but commute from and around the area. Local labor, food and construction supplies have all contributed to the development of the cruise port. More jobs are in the horizon as tenders will soon join the workforce to offer mainland tours for cruise ship guests who are interested in exploration off the island.
It’s beautiful; it has charm; it has a touch of Belize! Norwegian Cruise Line’s Harvest Caye is impressive in so many ways – it offers luxury, relaxation, adventure, conservation, but most importantly the Belizean experience with its natural beauty and human touch that only we can offer.
Alas, our time at Harvest Caye was too short for us to have experienced all of the island’s amenities. We did not have time to jump into the pool, go parasailing or walk into the butterfly nursery; there are plenty of options for everyone. One thing’s for sure, cruise ship passengers visiting Harvest Caye will have an amazing and authentic local experience.
This new Norwegian Cruise Lines port of call will accommodate their Western Caribbean Cruises and the Escape, Getaway, Dawn, Pearl and Jade cruise ships. It is also available on their sister brands Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises, which will also offer calls at Harvest Caye on select Caribbean cruises.