NCL Plans Makeover for Private Island

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Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian Cruise Line's private island in the Bahamas, will soon receive its first comprehensive makeover in more than two decades.

The line announced the renovations yesterday at the annual Seatrade Cruise Shipping Miami convention, noting that they would spend $20 million to overhaul the 250-acre island.

Renovations will be done in a two-part process, and are expected to be completed by the end of 2011. Over the course of 22 months, the island will receive an expanded beach front, new restaurants, private beach side cabanas, and a new play area for children.

Norwegian hopes that the transformation will revitalize the locale, which became the first private island offered exclusively to cruise ship guests in 1977, and give visitors an improved experience.

"We have one of the best private islands, particularly for swimming and snorkeling," NCL's chief executive officer, Kevin Sheehan, said in a press release. "With these improvements, we can provide an even more enjoyable island experience for the more than 9,000 guests who visit Great Stirrup Cay weekly during the height of the season."

Improvements are already underway, with the island's entrance currently being excavated to create a new passage for ships, complete with marina basin and a welcome pavilion.

New island activities and shore excursions will also be added during the renovations. Visitors will be able to splash at a floating aqua park, get up close and personal with stingrays, and even take kayak tours on man-made rivers that stretch throughout the island.

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