Norwegian Cruise Line has contracted Orlando-based IDEA to design and develop a $50 Million Eco-Friendly cruise destination in Southern Belize.

“With an emphasis on indigenous local culture, this new cruise destination will tell the unique story of Belize, and set a new standard in the development of an eco-friendly destination,” said Hugh Darley, president and executive producer. “Rather than an imposed plan, we are focused on a design approach that is determined by the local environment to ensure that the unique surroundings and features of the area will be protected and showcased for all to enjoy.”

Darley, an ex-Disney Imagineer, and developer of guest experiences for destinations, hotels and cruise lines emphasized the need for a world class guest experience and sense of arrival at Belize;

“This new port comes at the perfect time," he said. "More than 600,000 passengers arrived through the port last year, and Norwegian alone is predicting passenger growth in the Western Caribbean to more than double over the next four years. For Belize to grow its tourism, an upgraded experience is necessary. This new destination will be designed to not only take pressure off the City port, but give visitors the best first impression a destination can give.”

While the master plan for the 75 acres is still under development, the vision is to create a world-class cruise destination, consisting of two locations: an island destination with docking/tendering facilities and a mainland connection point for inland tours. Major components of the project are anticipated to include a floating pier, island village with open-air structures on raised platforms, marina, transportation hub for tours to the mainland, a lagoon for a variety of water sports and a relaxing beach area. The goal is to design an authentic experience grounded in the storyline of nature, ancient culture, art, adventure and music that celebrates Belizean, Mayan and Garifuna history and culture.

Among IDEA’s previous work is the design of Falmouth in Jamaica.