Shoppers from the Bahamas and Floridians wanting a quick island getaway will soon be able to take a high-speed cruise from Port Everglades to Freeport.
Balearia group, a Spanish shipping company that has transported people and cargo for 13 years in the Spanish Mediterranean, has announced that it is expecting to begin a high-speed transport service from Port Everglades to the Bahamas on December 9, 2011. The 463-passenger Bahamas Express transport will operate daily, except Wednesdays, departing from Port Everglades at 10 a.m. to Freeport and returning at 10:00 p.m. This route will be operated by the fast ferry Pinar del Rio and will take two to three hours.
“There has been a high demand for this daily service to the Bahamas since Discovery Cruises ceased operations in September,” said Port Everglades Director Phil Allen. “Bahamas Express is a good fit for Port Everglades because the company has an excellent reputation and is growing, and the market for a daily Bahamas service from Broward County/Greater Fort Lauderdale is already established.”
The Bahamian government approved an agreement with Bahamas Express to maintain the Bahamians' daily commercial link with Broward County. While other companies have shown an interest in establishing daily cruise services from Port Everglades, none have indicated their readiness to begin service this year, Allen added.
The Bahamas Express will be operating from Cruise Terminal 1 near the Broward County/Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention Center where parking is available in the Northport Parking Garage. The fast ferry Pinar del Río, which sails at a speed of 32 knots, has a capacity of 463 people. Amenities include a bar, duty free gift shop, pet cages and family-friendly baby changing areas. Reservations can be made on the website www.ferryexpress.com, at the ticket offices in Fort Lauderdale or by calling 1-305-370-2323.Port Everglades is the cruise ship capital of the world with more than 3.66 million passengers expected during 2012 and more homeported cruise ships than any cruise port worldwide. Twelve cruise lines and 45 cruise ships sail from the South Florida seaport including: Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland America Line, ISE (Semester at Sea), MSC Cruises, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Silversea Cruises and Seabourn. The Port's wide-ranging fleet of cruise ships provides guests with an array of cruise vacation choices from the sunny Greater Fort Lauderdale area. Port Everglades, where the best cruise ships launch and the greatest getaways begin. Details on the latest cruise offerings are available on the Internet at www.porteverglades.net.