According to a report from the Cayman Compass, Premier Alden McLaughlin announced revealed that Disney Cruise Line is officially joining Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Lines in joint effort to help finance the development of cruise pier in George Town, Grand Cayman. Premier McLaughlin made the announcement during Thursday’s Chamber of Commerce’s legislative luncheon at the Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa.
Royal Caribbean and Carnival were both announced as backing the project in December. As a result of the cruise lines’ commitments, McLaughlin confirmed that no public money would be required for the building of the project. However, details regarding the financial commitments were not provided. The government looks at the cruise pier as a public-private partnership, where the selected bidders and cruise lines will finance and build the facilities and then collect passenger fees over 20 years.
Bids for the project are expected to be submitted by the end of the Q1-2019 with a preferred bidder chosen by the summer. Once a contractor is selected the details about the cruise pier construction costs and design will be finalized and made public.
Grand Cayman is a regular of call for Disney Cruise Line, and is also frequently skipped due to high winds and seas which make the tendering operations unsafe. A cruise pier would eliminate the need to tender to shore making the port even more accessible to guests. As with all cruise development there is opposition, a major objection is why it is needed given record tourism numbers in recent years.
Premier McLaughlin attempted to address some of the concerns towards the cruise pier project mentioning the berthing facilities are required because the cruise lines are building bigger and bigger ships which result in a higher number of cruise passengers visiting the island.
The current controversy over the cruise dock is not something that can be seen in isolation. Cayman’s tourism sector is flourishing. Last year we received nearly 2.4 million visitors; the highest number in our history. The number of stay-over visitors broke previous records and cruise visitor numbers would have also seen a record year but for bad weather in December that prevented 12 ships from stopping here. – Premier Alden McLaughlin
Premier McLaughlin went as far to compare Cayman’s current situation to Kodak, yes the camera company. McLaughin pointed to Kodaks failure to innovate as digital photography gained in popularity. Kodak failed to adapt to customer trends, resulting the company’s eventual downfall.
McLaughlin spoke to the environmental concerns surrounding the project by saying project developers will do their best to keep the environmental impact to a minimum, but the government would need to take into account the massive economic gains the project will bring.
T development is expected to create 500 construction jobs immediately, and then decades of increased employment and business opportunities totaling some $245 million in economic benefits, according to Mr. McLaughlin.
Basically, McLaughlin does not want Grand Cayman to sleep on this opportunity with the ever increasing cruise popularity. In this case, he fees the benefits outweigh the costs.
This likely an outdated proposal, but I did manage to find a copy of the Proposed Grand Cayman Cruise Berthing Facility Environmental and Engineering study by Baird.
What are your thoughts on the idea of a cruise pier being built in Grand Cayman?