At the end of January during the Cayman Island Cabinet meeting, the members approved the extension of the temporary ban on cruise ship calls until February 28, 2022 at 11:59 pm.
At the time of publication, Disney Cruise Line has removed all but one call to Grand Cayman for the month of February. The lone call remains on the schedule for the Disney Fantasy’s upcoming February 12th 7-night Western Caribbean Cruise which is scheduled to call in Grand Cayman on February 15th.
Cayman Government and Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association Discuss Cruise Ship Return
Cruise line executives, including Disney Cruise Line met with Cayman Islands Government officials and Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association members on February 2nd to discuss the return of cruise tourism at Grand Cayman. The discussions focused on the details of how Grand Cayman can begin safely receiving cruise ship tourists again.
The Cayman Compass shared the following statement from Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan.
“At the very top of the list are our health and safety protocols that will allow cruise shops to return while keeping our community safe, because, right now, due to the pandemic, we have no cruise tourism at all, and that’s a sad day for our country. So, our immediate priority has been to discuss a way forward that will allow cruise ships to return while keeping our communities safe.”Cayman Islands Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan
The government wanted pre-disembarkation testing of all passengers tendering ashore, but ultimately this was deemed impractical by the cruise delegation. However, the idea of making Grand Cayman the first port of call on the itinerary came up as this would eliminate any passenger exposure at other ports. While possible, there is a ripple effect that may make this problematic with the countless ships sailing in the region and available berths at the other ports on the itinerary. While not impossible, it would take some work to shift around port days bases on berth availability elsewhere.
Another topic discusses dealt with the tour operators and how to generate more revenue for the local business serving cruise passengers. Interestingly enough, the Cayman Compass story points out this was not meant to get the cruise lines to share more of the excursion profits with the vendor, but elevate the product to create a higher price.
Ultimately, the Cayman Islands will welcome cruise ships and passengers ashore as soon as protocols and arrangements can be worked out between the cruise lines and the local government authorities.