Five years ago the Grand Turk Cruise Center (GTCC) was dubbed the “Caribbean’s newest cruise port facility,” destined to become a favorite of vacationers from around the world. With its state-of-the-art facilities and convenient access to the island’s breathtaking white-sand beaches, the Grand Turk Cruise Center has far exceeded those expectations.
The 2010 cruise season was a record for the GTCC with a total of 248 calls from 40 cruise ships representing 14 different cruise brands. The Grand Turk Cruise Center hosted a record 622,720 passengers, representing a 19 percent increase over the previous year and a whopping 113 percent increase over 2006, the center’s first year of operation.
The Grand Turk Cruise Center continues to evolve with more retail outlets and attractions than ever before. New stores within the GTCC’s 45,000-square-foot shopping district include Colombian Emeralds, Effy Jewelers, Diamonds International and Silver Sun.
These retailers joined an array of popular merchants, including Dufry, Milano Diamond Gallery, Ron Jon Surf Shop©, Piranha Joes, Dizzy Donkey, Del Sol, Rasta Pasta, Royal Jewels, Indigo Pearls, Goldsmith and The Trading Post, as well as a variety of local craft stands and souvenir kiosks.
The GTCC has also joined forces with NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in developing a new attraction that commemorates the National Aeronautics & Space Administration’s (NASA) Mercury space program and the historic 1962 splashdown of the Friendship 7 capsule off the coast of Grand Turk. Opened late last month, Splashdown Grand Turk is a 3,500-square-foot attraction that celebrates the unique relationship of the American spaceflight mission and its importance to Grand Turk’s history with interactive exhibits and authentic spacecraft replicas.
In addition to these new features, the GTCC enhanced the 1.25 square acres of beach located on the south side of the facility, making it even more appealing to visitors. The area now features upgraded beach furniture, coconut palms and other landscaping, and a new Turquoise Beach Bar serving drinks and light refreshments. A “cool zone” with various misting machines is scheduled to open soon.
“In just five years in operation, Grand Turk Cruise Center has become one of the most popular cruise facilities in the Caribbean, more than doubling its passenger counts and adding a host of new amenities and attractions, while serving as a gateway to one of the world’s most breathtaking and beautiful destinations," said Giora Israel, senior vice president of port and destination development for Carnival Corporation & plc, which operates the facility.
Covering more than 14 acres, the Grand Turk Cruise Center can accommodate up to 7,000 passengers per day and features a private beach, swimming pool, and an expansive recreation area that includes a FlowRider® surfing adventure and the Caribbean’s largest "Margaritaville"-themed bar and restaurant.