Last week, members of the Cayman Islands Cabinet made the decision to extend the closure of the Grand Cayman cruise port to cruise lines through August 31, 2020, at the earliest. The decision does not guaranteed the port will open on September 1st. In fact, the official statement by Deputy Premier, Hon. Moses Kirkconnell stated “there is no guarantee that the ports will open to cruise ships in the third or fourth quarter.”
The Cayman Compass reported on the May 7th meeting that Kirkconnell said the cruise business “is extremely fluid” and it may be some time before those ships touch local shores.
“I don’t think that we’re going to see cruise vessels back in Grand Cayman [for the] second, third quarter or fourth quarter, to be quite honest. We will continue to dialogue and see what’s the best for the tourism industry and product”Deputy Premier, Hon. Moses Kirkconnell
Premier Alden McLaughlin said previous announcements from the cruise lines were made without consulting the Grand Cayman government. Unlike other ports of call, tourism, isn’t the primary economy in Grand Cayman. Tourism, is third behind financial services and construction. Simply meaning, they are not a rush to welcome back cruise passengers. The first phase to bring back the tourism sector will be domestic tourism with staycations.
According to Kirkconnell, Grand Cayman is still in the process of formulating medium-term and long-term plans for tourism.
What does this mean for Disney Cruise Line? On paper, it means the Disney Fantasy will not be able to visit Grand Cayman during the currently scheduled 7-night Western Caribbean sailings listed below through August.
- Saturday June 20, 2020 7-Night Western Caribbean Cruise from Port Canaveral
- Saturday July 18, 2020 7-Night Western Caribbean Cruise from Port Canaveral
- Saturday August 1, 2020 7-Night Western Caribbean Cruise from Port Canaveral
- Saturday August 15, 2020 7-Night Western Caribbean Cruise from Port Canaveral
The Fantasy was previously scheduled to switch to 3- and 4-night Bahamian sailings in late-August to allow for the Disney Dream’s dry dock which was eventually rescheduled following an accident at the Freeport shipyard. It was almost like Nostradamus consulted with Disney Cruise Line years ago when they shifted the Fantasy to shorter sailings as these are the itineraries we expect to be the first to resume following the shutdown.
As for Grand Cayman, the next scheduled stop for the Fantasy after the September 1st potential reopening the port would be during the 2020 TCM Classic cruise departing Port Canaveral on October 4th. I reached out the the organizers of the chartered cruise and at this point in time, the TCM cruise is still planning to move forward as scheduled.