Resorts World Bimini has completed construction of a pier near its resort where guests on the ferry from Miami will be able to disembark directly onto North Bimini Island and spend more time there, the company announced Thursday. The ferry will start using the new pier Sept. 18.
In addition, Genting Group, which owns the resort and the ferry, announced Thursday that it will begin ferry service from Fort Lauderdale to Bimini Oct. 14. The ship will depart from Port Everglades Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, in addition to its departures from PortMiami on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Genting has been tendering passengers from the ferry to the bay side of the island, a process that takes about an hour each way. Guests then take a shuttle to the resort or to Alice Town for sightseeing. Time on the island for a day trip totals only about 2 ½ hours.
However, with the new port, which was built on the ocean side, guests will disembark directly from the ferry onto land and be able to spend five to six hours on the island, Genting says.
The ferry — a 13-year-old cruise ship renamed the Bimini Superfast — began sailing from Miami to Bimini just over a year ago after Genting bought the former Bimini Bay Resort, built a casino and started work on a 305-room marina hotel, to be completed this fall.
Although some passengers stay on the island overnight, a large majority are daytrippers on the ferry, which leaves Miami at 9 a.m. and returns around 7 p.m. The ferry has two casinos, a sports book and VIP rooms for high-rollers, and many of the daytrippers play at Genting’s casino on the island.
Although construction of the dock was approved by the Bahamian government, it ran into opposition from people who complained that it would damage coral and the rest of the underwater environment.
The new dock includes a temporary Customs and Immgration facility; permanent facilities are the next phase of the project. Genting also will build new beach amenities including a restaurant, beach club and craft market.