As it glided into port, Holland America Line’s newest cruise ship, the 1,848 passenger Noordam, made history when it arrived at the Caribbean’s newest port facility – the Grand Turk Cruise Center, British West Indies – on its inaugural call. After departing from New York City on Wednesday, the Noordam made a direct sailing for Grand Turk, marking the official opening of the new state-of-the-art, multi-million-dollar facility. The arrival of Grand Turk’s first cruise ship went very smoothly, to the full satisfaction of the cruise line’s management, port operators, and hundreds of cruise passengers. The new Grand Turk Cruise Center features a state-of-the-art pier that can accommodate two large Super Post Panamax vessels and a 13-acre complex that serves as a gateway to one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful islands. With its recreation area, including an 800-foot white-sand beach, a swimming pool, cabanas, an array of retail shops and the Caribbean’s largest “Margaritaville”-themed bar and restaurant, owned by music superstar Jimmy Buffet, opportunities abound for cruise guests to discover the Caribbean’s newest destination. Cruise ship passengers can select from nearly two dozen shore excursions, everything from a unique “Hop On, Hop Off” tour visiting famous island attractions to horseback riding, kayaking, and snuba. In more recent years, Grand Turk has been used as a base for the U.S. Navy and NASA, and served as the landing spot for Senator John Glenn’s splash down following his orbit of the Earth as part of the Mercury space launch.