Cruise berthing – Downtown or Red Bay?

| 18/10/2011

I feel compelled to write to continue the public discussion on cruise berthing in Cayman. Once again, It seems that we are going forward with another major and costly project without the full knowledge of the pros and cons of all the options available to the country, obtained through intensive research and input from the populace.

For this reason a group of persons including myself have come together to obtain, collect and weigh all the possible factors, whether negative and positive, in an unbiased manner to hopefully identify the best solution for cruise berthing on Grand Cayman. For many years these islands have struggled with indecision and political posturing and we are now seeing the result of that, declining cruise arrivals and hence the closure of some downtown businesses.

We now have another opportunity to do the right thing and do it the right way.  These decisions should not be rushed just because we have an election coming up. The correct solution for these islands going into the future should be the only concern. What is the future of Cruise Tourism and its relevance to the Cayman economy? Where is the best location for these cruise berths? What form should they take? What is acceptable environmental damage? Will an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) be completed? What are the impacts onshore and how do we pay for those impacts? How many cruise passengers should we cater to? How should it be funded? Who should influence the decision of the politicians? Will it be good for30-50 years?

These are all questions that should not be from one political party or the other, but for all Caymanians to consider carefully and then influence the decision that will benefit the country for many years to come.

Our group, spearheaded by the leading Caymanian Seamen including the legendary Captain Arlin McCoy, has looked at some of these questions to date and believe that Red Bay should certainly be considered when the other option is Hog Sty Bay.  We understand that Red Bay was identified from as far back as the late 1960s as a great potential but was not selected due to the cost at the time. Time has now come again to make a decision not just for the next four years but for the next 40 years and to overlook the possibility of creating a fully protected, expandable safe harbour in Grand Cayman should not be missed.

While the Downtown site has some port infrastructure, existing reef damage on the deep reefs and the existing retail investment, these must be contrasted with the total disruption of traffic, the destruction of the shallow snorkeling reefs and Balboa shipwreck, the continued and increasing conflict with cargo, the potential damage to Seven Mile Beach, the closure during northwesters, the proximity to the drop-off and the difficulty of building in very deep water all bring into question whether we are making a good decision for the country’s future placing a dock there. None of these issues seem to be under consideration as we rush to build there. We think they all should be considered and a rational decision made prior to investing hundreds of millions of Government money.

Our group shall be presenting a paper to Government to ask that Red Bay location be given serious consideration before we make an irreversible decision that is not in the overall best interest of these islands. I ask that should anyone have input as to either side that you email

This is not about any one person or special interest. We have one chance to get this correct and I suggest that full consideration be given to Red Bay as well. It is the least we can do for our country’s future and our children and their children.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    While all the posts on this topic are interesting, and I personally wouild like any decision regarding any cruise dock to be based on the best interests of the Caymanian people, the reality is that the relevant decisions will not be made on the basis of anything to do with sea bottom conditions, prevailing winds and currents, the environment, safety, traffic flows or anything else. The decision will be made on the basis of who benefits – and I don't mean the general public. The only way that will change is if we change the decision makers. Harsh but true.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I just read the statement on the cruise dock site that says "no new duty free retail will be developed in the facility" …..Oh course not, they want to develop it in the land around it!

    This will be the start of Emeraldana Bay!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I have just seen a comment on the new proposal web site that if the new port went ahead in Georgetown it would not be usable during 'Norwesters. Where did this idea come from? I thought one of the reason for this new port was to stop ships going to Spotts or sailing on by!

    • anonymous says:

      You have a very good question.

      The new finger piers in town will NOT be usable in a Northwesters that is why they plan to upgrade Spotts to deal with the 30-40 days a year when George Town cannot be used (like last week for instance).

      Of course Spotts cannot take the bigger ships( they cannot tender), so even with the new dock in George Town the big ships ( and they are all getting bigger) will simple still pass us.

      Crazy idea to build it in Town. Only Dart & Kirks would want that.


  4. Anonymous says:

    Why are we listening to these ship captains? What do they actually know about, they know about controlling ships at sea, probably very well. What we are talking about is island infrastructure and businesses on land, vechicle traffic flow, pedestrian movements, tourist facillities (yes even toilets) which have there own technical issues about which a ships captain knows as much, or as little as the rest of us. We need some experts fom other disciplines not just were to safely tie up a ship.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are too funny. Surely you don't want them to really talk about traffic and pedesstrian issues if new port goes in George Town… does not take an expert to know that is real chaos.

      Ask your government, NRA or the Chinese what is the traffic solution for pedestrians and cars downtown with their proposal…from the previous drawings I have seen, both Decco and GLF, nothing is being done East of Harbour Drive. Not logical at all.


    • Anonymous says:

      Why are we listening to the Politicians and the Merchants?

    • Anonomous says:

      Actually berthing IS about where to safely tie up ships!!

      • Anonymous says:

        But what about after they have "berthed" Who is the expert planning this section of the project? A ships Captain? An airplane Captain?

  5. anonymous says:

    It does not matter to me where it goes however I want to see how they plan to deal with traffic for the Oasis of the Seas downtown. She alone has 7,000 coming off her and with 3 more big ships we will have 20,000 plus persons entering Harbour Drive, and that is alot of buses, my friend. I am not sure it can work but the Government knows what it's doing hopefully.

    We remember what a mess it was when only 13,800 came off one day. I hope they have a solution for that or all other businesses Downtown might as well move out now. Looks like Camana Bay will get some more tenants shortly.

  6. El Capitan says:

    See Newly updated. Plans and images.

  7. Anonymous says:

    You are missing one main point, no ship would stay on engines in George town, with almost full crew on call. Too expensive. The idea is that they would all go to red bay, safetly and at berth, in all weather.

    No need to worry about your scenario.

  8. peter milburn says:

    Just a quick question re the Red Bay/Georgetown dock situation.From the diagrams I have just looked at we are looking at 5 c/ships(including one of the "Big"ones.Oasis)Here is my question.Are we then ONLY going to allow 5 ships to visit at one time(using the red Bay facility or will we ALSO allow another 2,3,4 more to anchor over in George Town?If this indeed the case then we are really going to make a complete mess of the whole island re tourist numbers.Our infrastructure cannot handle anymore than say 20,000 people sensibly let alone comfortably.The time it will take to do day trips to S/Ray city Turtle Fam etc will further add to the congestion on our limited road system. Sure some of you will say build more roads but the only way that will happen is if you have overpasses as we sure dont have much more space. I have seen that we do not allow more than 4 ships to anchor at one time in G/T but still allow them to hold position on "engine"and some may remember we had I think 11 ships in here at one time.What a "Chineese"fire drill that was.Too much crowding will not give ANYONE a true picture of Cayman especially if we want them to return as stayover visitors.You think we have madness now?Our true money makers(the stay over visitors)will gradually start to find other places to visit and I havenet even mentioned the further build up of traffic and people when our new Shetty project comes into play.We need to limit our ships to say 4 a day 7 days a week this will help to restore our stayover tourists back to a level which will bring in far more $'s than cruise ships.A lot of you have forgotten that stay overs are what put Cayman where it is today.We DO need cruise shippers but they MUST be far as numbers.

    • Anonymous says:

      Peter please look at what the captainsare proposing.


      I think their argument is that there is no sense in building the pier in town if the Red Bay one could facilitate our needs for years to come.

      Where would you prefer it?  In town (with the need to dredge town nonetheless) or in Red Bay and protected?

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said someone who speaks sense

  9. Concerned SS Citizen says:

    My main opposition to this proposal is that in my eyes,XXXX

    The home owners of South Sound, Red Bay and Prospect will face huge property devaluation in what is currently a beautiful, natural setting.  The opposition that came to the proposal for one small canal into the Emerald Sound development would be multiplied by thousands and could potentially lock up the possibility of moving the cruise dock forward which this country cannot afford.  We have lost way too much time business and jobs by delaying the development of a cruise berth.

    The South Sound/Red Bay area that would have to be dredged to approx. 50' isnow zoned as an "environmental replenishment zone" not just a marine park.  This may not mean a whole lot to someone trying to make the quick buck, but to true Caymanians (those that love this country and its natural beauty) this type of environmental "raping" is an absolute disgrace.

    The entire reef around this development would have to be capped with reinforced cement. Completely killing the coral reef along an area designated by the department of environment as a place that needs to be protected just doesn't seem to make sense.

    The amount of infrastructure that would have to be developed (and paid for by our government with our tax/duty money) is no small cost.  Currently the cruise ships dock in town and traffic flows outwards (to tours etc.). Suddenly reversing this traffic flow,  bussing thousands of tourists through the already backed up, roads during peak traffic hours does not seem to be a good plan to make anyone's lives easier.

    All the land owners and businesses in town have developed, nurtured and invested into George Town for over 40 years.  Trying to move the cruise dock out of town so that a couple of guys with their own interest and not the country's best solution is just not right.  All of the property owners in town have paid premium prices and developed long term business plans over generations.  This is just an attempt to take undeveloped land and hit the jackpot no matter who it hurts.

    The South Sound cruise idea may have been a great possibility 30 yrs ago.  You simply cannot abandon 40+ years of investment and development, it just does not make sense.

    To show the mentality we are dealing with.  Rainbow developed and sold the "Villa Emerald" to a customer for close to $4M.  Now they are trying to put a cruise dock in that poor guys back yard. I'm sure he'll love the view, traffic and hundreds of busses that will be lined up outside his door.  All for love of money.

    When I first heard the proposal for this development, I paid it little mind as I thought there could be no possibility that such a ludicrous proposal could gain any traction.  XXXX The proposal pipes the cruise tourists straight into and through theEmerald Sound development.  XXXX

    • Anonymous says:

      I understand that Hislop also owns the 20 house lots beside Villa Emerald. Cannot believe he would be behind this. Captain Arlen McCoy said he and Capt Paul designed this port in 2004 from an idea captain Theo Bodden had mooted. they brought it up again at an emerald sound meeting recently. That’s why it resurfaced.

      But even so, why should the country not look at a proper solution just because Dart and the Kirks bought up all of downtown? Don’t think your argument is valid.

      The road over emerald sound property and down south sound is already gazetted there by the NRA. Look at NRA maps Nothing new there. they captains just tapped into it it looks like.

      • Anonymous says:

        I understand that if Hislop owns 20 house lots next to villa Emerald he would understand that they would be worth a lot more as the "new waterfront" and center part of a new town.  I also understand that if the port moves to South Sound Dart will by the land around it, and I doubt that the land owner there will have any problem selling it out to him.

        • Anonymous says:

          So are you saying the port will actually INCREASE land values in South Sound.  That might take away the local resident's argument that this is bad for them.  Interesting twist. So much for that argument that this is bad then. Sorry I don't own any land there.

          I am sure Dart will "by" the land there, as in 'bypass'. He has enough Cayman real estate that people don't want him to build on now. Not sure he will want much more as time goes on.

          • Anonymous says:

            It WILL Increase the lan value around Emerald sound, because that is where it all come in to! WILL decrease all other residential land unless those that build their long time homes decide to bulldoze and create commercial. 

            Especially the ocean front land where they will all get eroded into the sea!

        • Anonymous says:

          Nice try with the "Dart" card – we are smarter than that.  Surely DART will want it where they have their buildings and exisiting investments. Why would they move it from their front door at Westwind Building? Not logical. Maybe you ARE Dart throwing us a line now!?

          In fact, ONLY Kirks and Dart ( and Tortuga Rums) would WANT it to stay in town. The other businesses are going to be locked in traffic gridlock and come to a standstill while the hordes  and masses shop at Freeport and Island Companies( and eat free samples of rum cake). We will all have to pay for those groups pushing it downtown, just watch them come to the surface shortly.

          • Anonymous says:

            Dart own all over bobo, you think he care where it is, he soon own the whole lot!

            • South Sounder says:

              If Dart does own it all, there will no longer be any need for mckeeeeever and his cronies.
              For once, we will have someone qualified, solvent and interested enough in these Islands, to protect them and attract the visitors with money… least he has a plan and money,which is more than the current Government have!

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s never too late to do the right thing. The captains are correct and they are all retired- nothing to gain from this. We need more folks like them.

    • anonymous says:

      The "Replenishment zone" designation only means that you cannot take lobster, conch or fish from it.  You can do anything else including runnin jet skis, boats, build docks even digging the ship basin theoretically.

      It has been done already in North Sound's two 'replenishment' zones so the way I read it they could actually build this as long as they do not take some lobster while they do it.  While clearly it would not be logical they could actually build this in there. I know it sounds crazy but not sure its actually against the Marine Parks law.

      This is what the law says about Red Bay & South Sound

      – No taking of conch or lobster by any means 
      – Line fishing (See Fishing Licenses section in Summary of Cayman Islands Marine Conservation Laws) and anchoring permitted 
      -Anchor, chain or line must not touch coral
      – Spear guns, pole spears, fish traps and nets prohibited, except that fry and sprat may be taken with a fry or cast net 
      NOTE: These zones include the outside edge of the reef to a depth of 20 feet. "


      • Anonymous says:

        I would imagine the point would be that there will no long be a "replenishment zone" if its all dug out to 50 feet deep and mega ships plow their meag props through it!

        Not much sense in your argument if you don't know the difference betwenn a cruise ship and a sea doo!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Guys, the main point of all this is being mostly overlooked – any development of a Cruise terminal will be subject to the pre-approval of the Cruise Lines (and maybe the FCCA)…..there is no point being upset about this, its simply the way of the cruise world…they own us, we dont own them….we need them, they dont need us……do you really think RCCL/Carnival will jump at the chance of sending millions of people to a port in the red bay, miles from anywhere that the majority of their customers seek (i.e. SMB and Shopping)….further, do you think they'll greenlight a design that has passengers walking for 30 minutes to get to the land side??!!  have you seen these cruise passengers? they currently won't walk 100 yards to get water………

    the port must go in GT…..whats with all this protection of shipwrecks like they were part of the Lord's plan? seriously…..we can relocate the wrecks or even drop new, better ones…..there's no real selling point in that fact  a wreck is there a long time, the selling point is that there is something/anything to snorkel/dive/submarine/glass bottom around/etc/etc

    lets get real…..before the Cruise lines finally say enough is enough…….the fact the ships still sail here is tantamount to whatever political powers that be are achieving……because you can bet the customers aint thrilled with the place, they're not asking to come here anymore…….like it or not, cruising to cayman is awful…….people want ease of access (a pier), they want tourist sites (we have them all), they want to shop and have a good time (we have that as well)….

    the EIA is going to tell us SMB will get damaged, this is no surprise…..but at some stage we have to stop huggin trees and start feeding our babies

    or does someone know of another way that cayman can survive as a viable commercial entity without the cruise industry or the financial sector (which is slowly dying and will go away over the coming decades as a sense of fairness globally resulting from these economic times causes tax shelters to be as attractive as syphilis…)

    • Anonymous says:

      And what happens Spotts? Three times the distance.

      As ships get bigger they cannot even use Spotts. So crowd four ships in town but lose more and more passengers on those “Spotts days”??

      Even the shop owners when they think this through will realise they are better off at Red Bay!

    • anonymous says:

      "but at some stage we have to stop huggin trees and start feeding our babies"-well said!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    How about a monorail to SMB via GT? Then on to the spaceport…

    • anonymous says:

      You make fun so I know you are obviously not a store owner nor taxi or Bus driver (certainly not Port Authority because they/we lost money too)….those folks made nothing yesterday as 3 cruise ships bypassed. One stopped because they had been at sea for 7 days and had had all other stops cancelled due to weather.

      Today one little Carnival ship managed to stop at Spotts. Traffic is a mess there, just drove through it. Passengers upset.

      Days like yesterday and today where downtown can't be used, Spotts will not be usable either because of the new ship sizes. With berths in Red Bay, this would not be the case.

      Think for the benefit of all not just Dart & Kirks.

      • Anonymous says:

        OK, so the spaceport bit wasn’t that funny… but come on – a light rail transit system would do so much good in Cayman to clear up the traffic and may it easier to get around. Who’d drive if they could hop the train? Less drunk drivers, less traffic jams, better for tourists to get around, it would create a commercial corridor up and down the line at all the stops on SMB and elsewhere…

        …and when Herr XXXXXXXXX does build his spaceport, it can run right up to WB! HAAAA!

  12. Anonymous says:

    According to the most recent statistics from the ESO, in 2010 there were a shade under 1.6 million cruise ship visitors. As I understand the statistics, not all of them came ashore. Based on previous years' numbers, the number of actual visitors who step off the boat seems to be around 90%.

    Now, the whole point of the exercise in building the berth is to increase numbers. But, let's be charitable and assume that the number of visitors stays the same. Let's be more charitable, and pretend that the number of people who get off the boat decline, to around 70%. So, that gives us just over 1.1 million people. Let's be even more generous, and round that down to a million.

    How many ships call a day? Well, it varies over the year, but a rough average would be that there are ships here on around 260 days a year. That, over the year, gives a daily average of 3846 visitors. Some days will be more, some will be less.

    Now, as things stand, if 3846 people come onshore in George Town, they are dissipated through the town. Some get service buses to 7MB, some get taxis, some join organised tours, some hire cars or scooters, and some just wander round town. If those same 3846 people get off the boat in Red Bay or South Sound, or anywhere else that isn't GT, then they need to be transported somewhere. There would simply be nothing to do at the dock. Transport therefore needs to be provided.

    Continuing in the charitable mood, let's assume that we can get 100 seater buses. Never mind the size of those things versus the size of the roads. The majority of the visitors will want to go to GT or 7MB. No doubt about it. Let's say that 346 won't, giving us a round number of 3500 people to transport from the south to GT (or onwards to 7MB). That means 35 round trips. By very big buses. At rush hour. With no facilities in GT to recieve that many buses.

    Ah, but no-one is suggesting a fleet of 35 buses, you might say. In that case, with a more realistic fleet of 5 and a rough turnaround time of 20 mins (rush hour, remember, and 100 people take time to embark and disembark), you are looking at 140 mins to clear the dock of people, and a similar (albeit more spread out) time to re-board the ship.

    So, if one of the points of this whole exercise is to stop people having to waste time tendering to the shore, thus spending more time on-shore, then all you would be doing is doing away with off-shore tendering and introducing on-shore tendering. Pointless.

    Remember the charitable assumptions. If the cruise ship market grows, if more people come on shore, and more people land on a given day, then the problem gets worse.

    • Anon says:

      Your calculation misses two salient points. First, not all passengers are going downtown (island tours, north sound trips, etc) and secondly onshore tendering much faster than offshore tendering and significantly safer. That’s what the FCCA wants, safety for their passengers.

      10-12 large 100 pax flexibuses doing 8-10 min trips will handle standard shoppers flow up to 20,000 pax.per day. That’s more that Kirks and Darts get now redo your math.

      • Anonymous says:

        Unless you legislate that island tours start off in the East, people will be going through George Town. Unless you legislate that North Sound trips board on the south or the east of the Sound, then people will be going through George Town.


        You are being very optimistic with your 8-10 min trip times. At rush hour, there is no way that a bus will make a return trip (remember the time it takes people to get on and off the bus) in less than 20. But even on your timescale, and even if you can persuade half the 20,000 pax to avoid GT, that is still 9 return trips per bus. At 8 mins per trip, that's still 72 mins to clear the dock. I wouldn't want to be the last one off the boat.

        • Anonymous says:

          One simple response….Linford Peirson to BYPASS. No need to go to downtown from Red Bay to get anywhere.

          Passengers stream of ship, they do not all at once show up on dock. Only the Tours do that and the buses are there ship-side. Can work.


  13. Anonymous says:

    Clearly some readers and posters are losing site of the goal here.This is not a private development…….It’s.about a project that has important ” National Interest”, with significant economic implications today and long into our future.One thing to remember,the cruise industry did not just show up on Cayman’s shores yesterday, it’s been here over forty (40) years.
    While the private sector has invested large amounts of money to cater to this leg of our tourism sector (evidenced by the same downtown development that we speak about) government over the same period has done very little to facilitate the growth we’ve seeen in the Cruise business. Consequently the businesses and people that make their livings from the Cruise business are “SUFFERING!!”. Today is a prime example, three ships called, two left by 10:00 a.m. because of weather, and I beleieve the third left early also. The Northwester season is still a month or so away.
    One very important question, If the piers were built at Hog Sty Bay and ready for use today,would cruise these ships be tied up to them? I think most would have to agree the answer is simply ” No”.
    Statistics show we curently have between 30-40 of these days each year. Given our present economic environment, one day’s loss is too much. One concern that I see being promoted on this blog is that by building the berths in Red Bay, will somehow leave Downtown desolate of the Cruise trade. Think for a minute, what sense does that make? it’s 10 mins away, . The tender ride, for those who chose to risk it, takes probably twice as long.
    My vote, Red Bay seems like the better choice by far…

  14. Anonymous says:

    Fantastic idea, and sensible plans.  What do the politicians think about it though?

  15. Slowpoke says:

    I think we should consult  Captain Merrill Stubing for the final decision.  Things always worked out well under his watch.

  16. Flat Calm Bay says:

    Today is the perfect day to show why Choppy and the Captains are correct about Red Bay.

    Too rough to tender in George Town. Ships to big to tender at Spotts. Ships are leaving. Two just left for Mexico or Jamaica. Their gain.

    Lost to goverment CI$100,000 in passenger fees today alone. That is two 5-year scholarships or one Affordable house for someone!

    Lost to economy CI$540,000 minimum. Poor taxi and bus drivers will feel that, even Kirks & Island Companies will notice it. 

    As ships get bigger, which is the trend, they are not able to use Spotts as an alternate because they can no longer tender. It means if berths go in Town, the merchants and the islands will see more lost days like today in future. Red Bay is flat calm today.

    Let your politician know that you will vote for LOGICAL decisions this time, not the turkeys.

    They MUST consider Red Bay.

  17. Kaptian Kayman says:

    Why not get the perspective of the cruise ship tourists (the ones who will actually use the facility) and ask where they would prefer the site?    

  18. Anonymous says:

    Awesome idea Choppy. South Sound is overrated as a natural resource anyway. Let’s dig it out and fill it with concrete. Save the Balboa! Looking at your well thought out plan, the cruise lines can promote the mile long walk along the pier as part of their fitness programs. The tourists will love it! As to the traffic problems, you have the perfect solution! The 20,000 cruisers can be bused to town, at 30 passengers per trip, it wil only take 650 bus trips each way. Awesome. I also like the idea of a new town to replace George Town. I am sure most tourists have no real interest in our history or culture, they just want Somewhere new and air conditioned where they can spend their hard earned dollars. Lets build another Caymana Bay on your partner’s land in South Sound (as luck would have it, the road goes directly to it!). It will look just likeAnytown, USA and the cruisers will certainly be happy there. Your supporters are right about those filthy downtown merchants. So what if they worked hard for the last 50+ years and re-invested all of their profits into George Town. Lets build a new town where our buddies own the land and we can reap the rewards of those downtown merchant’s hard work. In these times of greed and corruption, it’s refreshing to see such a visionary plan put forward by someone who truly cares for our Island. Go Choppy!

    • Anonymous says:

      Blogs like this really are too sinical to be valid. lets get real debate on the subject going instead.

      Transport of cruise passengers by bus could obviously use larger buses. The articulated buses in the USA and Europe can easily handled 100 – 120 pasengers sitting each and having 6-10 buses running the 8 minute trip to town and return will easily handle the passenger flow especially when you consider those going to North Sound, Eastern districts etc do not need to go downtown directly but access their tour buses at the berths. Just look at how many passengers the 'normal' buses deliver from Miami International to the rental car terminal per hour!

      I can see on the "" website that the Option B shown does not involve the mile long walk of Option A.  In fact Option B looks very much like what is proposed in GT just in an all weather port. It actually allows one additional cruise ship as well.

      On your other point, I give Choppy my heartfelt good luck as folks will have to imagine the relationship between the Red Bay berth and his partners land. The only thing going for him in that regards is that his partner also owns the seaside lots that would be now looking out onto this place. Cannot imagine his partner will like that either.

      Anyway this is idea has been around long before Choppy and his partner owned anything there and I give him credit for having the guts to go up against the 'forces' and when I see him I will let him know I certainly support the idea of looking at this comprehensively. The sea captains actually brought it up in recently 2004 and 2008 and they were just reviving Captains Theo's concept from the late 1960s. They all cannot be wrong.

      We are all too quick to dismiss great ideas. We need to look at these things as a country not wheter it benefits Kirks, Dart or some other millionaire. We need the best for the Cayman Islands.


      • Anonymous says:

        Ref MIA airport. Answer none. There is a train

      • Anonymous says:

        Excatly where would this 8 minute bus ride be from and to? It takes more than 8 minutes just to get around town to somwhere these people could be dropped off!

      • Anonymous says:

        FYI they have replaced the rental car buses at MIA with a monorail. I wonder why?

      • Anonymous says:

        Look at ports that have to bus people to shopping and activities and see how sucessful they are.

    • Anonymous says:

      Since when has Margaritaville, Hard Rock, Dairy Queen and Diamonds Wazoo been a part of history… This will be closer to Pedro, our true history.

  19. Anonymous says:

    It looks like they updated the site with new plans:

  20. Anonymous says:

    This discussion is meaningless wthout knowing the price tag. I don't know what the Red Bay idea would cost, but probably around $500 million plus. So who would pay for it? As for storm exposure, hurricanes can hit from any direction. And yes, damaging Hurricane Michelle did sweep up the  west coast, 180 miles offshore, but hurricanes from that direction are the rarest kind. Nowhere is safe, but Hog Sty Bay is the safest. 


    Seven Mile Beach was formed by hurricanes over the centuries, and mangroves are buried 20 feet under the sand to prove it. But then look at Mitch, Dean and  Paloma, any one of which came dangerously close to smashing into Red Bay. And we all know about Ivan. If anyone thinks Ivan was the worst possible scenario, run up to Pedro's Bluff and look at the line of huge rocks hurled inland by a previous storm, estimated to have been about 600 years ago. Puny little Ivan only managed to toss sea fans and fish along the precise same line of rocks.


    Tourists like to get off the ship and be right there. Finger piers, which for all I know will allow the sea currents to flow unimpeded through the supports, are the least expensive answer.


    In any case, Red Bay will never happen, it's just another Red Herring, a day late and a dollar short.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is hilarious, $500Million to build it in Red Bay?  Clearly you are just trying to spready wrong information because you're obviously against it.

      The kicked with Red Bay is that it will cost only $75Million – $100Million to build by my estimates and you will be getting SO MUCH more than what town would do…

    • Anonymous says:

      This discussion is meaningless, period.  The FCCA would never back it so it is a dead duck fantasy.  And that's before you talk about needless destruction of reef, possible amelioration of storm protection and the environmental, social and economic impact of all those extra gas guzzling, congestion creating bus journeys.  It's just mental.

      • Anonymous says:

        FCCA wants two things.

        First a safe berth for their Billion dollar ships and Red Bay provides that clearly….it is identical to Nassua Port – splitting image but bigger and better.

        Secondly, they want to fully control every single cent spent by their passengers which they cannot do now downtown. Red Bay opens that opportunity for them.

        Are you kidding??… they will LOVE Red Bay!

    • Anonymous says:

      No way this would cost $500MM, how could you possibly conceive sucha  wrong number?  The Captains say the fill will pay for the project anyway.

    • Anonymous says:

      To build the port in Red Bay defeats the purpose of having a new cruise terminal.  Passengers want the freedom to get on and off the ship and be in the heart of everything.  They do not want to wait in line for buses or taxis or deal with traffic, it is all about convenience.  Having cruised to St.Thomas, Nassau, San Juan all ports which are located in their respective towns I can assure you that is the way to go.

      • Anonymous says:

        This is nonsence…I lived in St Thomas for years. The cruise ships berth is about 5 miles from donwtown and they are bused into it to shop. Yes, there are some shopping at the berths but most go downtown by bus for real shopping.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Does the fill coming out of here have those same mysterious qualitys as the fill in East End that apparently would have made it immensly valuable to the pharmacuetical companies? Who has agreed to lend us the money to do this project. Are we still involved with the chinese? Dart? Are negotiations taking place with a new investor who could hold the lease for 50 years?. I understand we need to make plans but it just seems everything to do with these ports is so unstable. As for choppys editorial, i think its written in a great, non biased manner that is inviting everyones opinion. Maybe we could end up with a new port plan but then the negotiations would start again. It seems more of a difficulty to organise the financial details than the actual design and build of the port itself.

    • Anonymous says:

      Or simply have the Chinese build Red Bay instead of GT. I am sure they don't mind which site it is, that way we won't lose any time in changing ideas.

      Too late to get it before elections anyway so Premier should will be better off being known for making the corrct decision rather than a quick wrong one in the long run. 

  22. Anonymous says:

    Government Ministers: Read my lips, this needs to go in Red Bay, putting this in town is a waste of the tax payers money…complete waste.  This is a truely good decision for the country.

  23. Knot S Smart says:

    I would agree to move the dock from GT to south sound but I suggest we wait awhile until Dart has bought out all of the buildings in George Town.

    Then we impose property taxes only on those commercial buildings in George Town.

    Then we build the port in South Sound.

  24. Doh! says:

    What do 1932 and 2004 have in common?

    Oh yes, the complete destruction of the south coast, particularly in that area.  

    Does anyone recall how soon the GT Port was up and running after Ivan?  

    Could the same be said for the old town of Prospect after 1932?

    Hog Sty Bay is a natural place for it, the damage is done, and if done properly, with parking, taxi and buss collection points, etc. it will have no more effect on traffic than the current hodge-podge we go going on.


    • Anonymous says:

      If we get a storm hit us from the West (which IVAN wasn't) it won't be a pretty site in town…

    • Anonymous says:

      That is the true beauty of the Captain's proposal. They call for a complete breakwater along and just inside the reef.  That would not only protect the harbour but protect the Red Bay and South Sound shoreline for the first time in history. Plus it would become a habitat for fish and lobster to boot!

      The only reason GT harbour was up and running is because Ivan went westward, down the south coast.

      Ask National Emergency Centre what their nightmare scenario is…a CAT 3-5 coming northward, just off the west coast. That my friend will not only take out your puny little Hog Sty Bay harbour but many of the buildings around it and all those down the Seven Mile Beach. That "harbour" ( really a dock off the ironshore) will be unusable for months and months and months while it is dredged back to use. Remember what damage that little hurricane did a few years ago to GT and North West Point–and that was 180 miles away! cross your fingers.

      Furthermore, If you really do believe that by adding 24,000 cruise passengers and the 100 buses to Royal Watler will not impact traffic think again. Ask your government what the impact is and what cost fixing downtown to accomodate this will be? How are those buses and taxis going to get out of town? what roads? Ask NRA. No word of that yet from anyone, is there?

      13.14, You need to get the facts. You will be surprised just how tenuous it is placing anything in the water at Hog Sty Bay.

      • Anonymous says:

        While I do agree that a storm from the west is the worse scenario, the chances are very low. That being said what about if the storm came from the southwest. We just had Paloma. What if Paloma had come a bit further north. What do you think would have happened to the Red Bay area?

        I mean Ivan did quite a bit more damage along the southcoast that along the west coast and it came from the direction with the highest possibility.

  25. Bushwcker says:

    Kudos to you Choppy! XXXX There is an old saying “Every country gets the Leaders they deserve” Sadly it appears that our Political Leaders are a reflection of our society, insofar that they consistently elect them to “rule” them not “serve” them.  By all accounts, it seems that the Caymanian People have abdicated their democratic Rights to their elected Representatives.


    I write that to communicate this; rational consideration appears to have been set aside when money walks through the door. In addition, with no historical evidence demonstrating that elected persons will never really be held responsible for their poor actions. Coupled with the fact that the voters are consistently approving their actions by voting them in term after term. Sound and reasonable suggestions such as this one from your Group will more than likely be ignored.


    Moreover Dart has far too much invested in Hog Sty Bay to let these types of discussions occur and or be protracted. It is public record that his Group virtually owns every structure immediately in front of the current site. Consequently, the Powers that be i.e. The Premier will accept your proposal with a reticent smile, stick it immediately on the shelf with the countless other good and reasonable Reports done for the Cayman Islands over the decades, simply to collect dust. However I suspect he will respond to you in sixty or so days stating that there is not enough time to really consider your proposal because the Florida Cruise Association demands action to be taken immediately on current Port Plans in Hog Sty Bay or face further losses of calls from Cruise ships.


    I truly believe that if given good consideration and fair time to educate the general public on the Pros and Cons of both locations for the Cruise Facility on a side by side basis. Red Bay will come out ahead in points as the optimal option of the two. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Bushwacker your words are PROPHETIC! Just yesterday (Oct. 25, 2011) on the local tv news the Premier said almost everything you wrote word for word! WOW! I guess discussion on this proposed port in Red Bay is useless.

  26. Anonymous says:

    George Town corals are already damaged, the infrastructure is already in place,  therefore that is the BEST place to put the berthing facility.  No other plcae should be allowed for further damage.

    • Breadfruit Lover says:

      This is the biggest myth about George Town. The deep reeffs are indeed destroyed but the shallow ones are perfect. Hamburger reef and Eden rock and all those there will be destroyed by the dredging and the operation of those big engines in close.


      We also do not know what damage this will do to Seven Mile beach. It will certainly change the curreents one that side of the islands.  I heard Adrian Briggs question this before and they said he was just protecting his tender business but He would know if this is a possibility.


      Putting two 200,000 ships anywhere will cause damage. What does DOE say about this?

  27. O'Really says:

    When I stand on Red Bay dock looking towards Pedro, with the sun glinting off the water, the wind cooling my face and the natural beauty of this part of Cayman soothing my soul, I have often thought that the only thing that could improve this experience would be for someone to dig it all up and construct a concrete industrial complex to be filled with giant ships, surrounded by thousands of people wondering why they had been dropped in the back of beyond.


    I had not realised so many shared my vision.

    • O'Wrongly says:

      When I sit in my home looking across the dimly lit room with the moonlight cascading in through the open window, with the buzz of mosquitos in my left ear I often thought that the only thing that could improve this scene is getting get my lights and water reconnected, having a job tomorrow and a few work permit holders staying in my apartments out back.


      I share your vision, do you share my reality? Maybe not.

  28. Caymanian Space Pilot says:

    This has been discussed for years by countless people, captains and everyone else in the island… Put it here and be done with it. If we don’t soon get it here Dr luarca may go in a hunger strike.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Red Bay is probably the most practical solution long term….unfortunately, (as seems to be always the case in Cayman), its being pushed way after the horse has bolted…..despite all our feelings about dart or kirkconnell or whoever else owns all of downtown, the fact is that they have all invested extreme amounts of money down there for one reason only – the cruise passengers……so, in all conscience, how can we go and build this really good facility miles away in Red Bay?  dont get me wrong, i dont cry into my pillow wondering if Dart and the otherswill be ok……but there has to be a sense of fairness here

    before anyone says – dont worry, they;ll all bus down to GT to shop…..actually, no they will not…if you dont believe me, go visit St Thomas and watch how a cruise terminal built at the other end of town utterly destroyed property values and businesses and jobs at the other end where people had had the foresight and b*lls to invest before

    the red bay option should be discussed… should the GT option……so should any option that makes sense and ticks most boxes…no option will tick all the boxes…..but one box that's getting a bigger tick each passing day is the fact that we MUST have a proper cruise port built….

    an earlier post said something about not even Dart could solve the downtown issue….actually, i think their plan did address parking, traffic, everything…..but we all cried when they wanted a long lease……quite why we thought this was abhorrent (giving a LEASE to a "foreigner") and yet now we're contemplating letting the Chinese build it…..something does not add up….as usual, there's going to be far more to this story than ever gets public and it'll be something to do with with special interests as always

    if we build in red bay – who will re-fund Dart and Kirkconnell for the losses that will overnight happen to their properties and for the terminal decline that will happen to all their businesses?   see, if instead of Dart and Kirkconnell, the names on the block were Little Miss Poppy Store and Mr Long Time Lobster Craft Maker, we'd all feel this was a travesty…….we should equally feel that way now as well

    i bet any significant push for the red bay effort will result in Dart coming back to the table with an agreement to lower their lease request…….not even dart can afford to let his investments downtown fade away as fast as they will if this port goes East of anywhere but Downtown

    btw – where's the big chinese development news??? that seems to have gone very quiet….wow, what a shock…..

    • Anonymous says:

      I did not see Dart solving the issue of all those buses downtown nor what would happen when they close Harbour drive. Darts and Kirks…they both have too much money. Time for others now.

  30. Anonymous says:

    This is just another story of the government not listening to the people who have the experience and knowledge.

    4 years ago, the people told Chuckie that George Town was a bad idea. Before that many have said so also. Now these captains are saying the same thing again!

    Just because the Kirks and the Darts own the whole of downtown the government is going to make another bad decision. Too much special interest in this country. The people need to be heard too!

    I say listen to these folks who know and see if Red Bay is really not the best place. Remember Its our money that they are spending.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Choppy I love this idea but I worry that there is too much "big business" in town right now with the cruise ships for this very good idea to gain any traction, even though it could make what should be the financial and government district of GT less annoying and more sophisticated. Red Bay could then become a busy hub of shopping and tourism.  There is lots of roadfront vacant land near the proposed Red Bay dock that developers could buy up and develop into shopping and restaurants to service cruise ship passengers.  Grand Harbour is a lovely development which looks Caribbean and if given a chance could be something wonderful (a pedestrian bridge similar to the Ritz or Hyatt bridges across the crazy busy main road into Grand Harbour would alleviate any issues with foot traffic and would generally bring a lovely view to the Red Bay area).   Maybe then Mike Bell would finally build the long awaited waterpark behind there.    In terms of cruise ship buses and cruise ship traffic, just have a rule that they can only use South Sound road for cruise ship transport purposes and then regular people going into town can avoid South Sound and stay on the main road/bypass.  But what will happen to Margaritaville, the Dart group of companies (Island Companies, etc. who are already established in town? They won't take this idea laying down so expect huge resistence to what is otherwise a sound practical plan….

  32. Caymanian Boat Captain says:

    The new cruise berthing facility whether You/IWe believe one location is better than the other, it will eventually be constructed at the existing George Town Harbour. We don't have the money to built it ourselves and China Harbour Engineering just purchased the EIA and the other related documents from Dart, for loads of money. The EIA was conducted based on the fact that the cruise berthing facility was to be constructed at the G.T. Harbour.

    I say, we should take our fingers out of our A$$ and get the damm thing built !!! 

    • Anonymous says:

      I understand that Dart did not do an real or full EIA. I am sure DOE can confirm that if asked. The Chinese might have purchased something but what I heard was that it was never completed. Hope I am wrong.

  33. Chris says:

    How can we comment on a proposal without the artists rendition? Include the attachment at the end of this article.

    Tourists do not want to disembark at some remote location and have to pay to go shopping or pay to get into town.

    The want to be able to walk to many shops and restaurants as they get off the ship which is the case in every other cruise port in the caribbean.

    Moving the cruise port out of town will cost hundreds of millions more than keeping it in town.

    Cruise passengers disembark between 730 and 830 am. How will this traffic in the middle of our main arterial road affect commutes to town during rush hour?

    Having a berth facility in town  actually does not affect the commute for most people as most buses and taxis carrying the tourists aree heading out of town in the morning while the new proposal of red bay would have the tourists added into the rush hour traffic coming into town. NOT A BRIGHT IDEA.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Captain's Plans I understand actually triples the road capacity at Hurley's Grand Harbour. That is the beauty of it.  This thing looks more  thought out than those two concrete structures shoe-horned into town.


      Any idea what will happen to George Town when 50 or 60 tour buses have to come there every hour in the morning to take those folks on tours and then drop them back? Chaos. No one has said what is being done to the roads in and out of town after the chinese build those docks there but we know they cannot stay the way they are. talk about millions of dollars.


      Plus no cruiser goes shopping at 7pm. They only let the folks on tours off the ship at that time.


  34. Bueller says:

    An absolutely bananas idea.

  35. Anonymous says:

    I realise that the ships would be able to dock inside the dredged basin. Once inside they are in safe harbour. It seems that a really large channel would be needed to enter that basin through inclement weather. The wall drops off at around 65 to 80 ft in this area. to get 40 ft of water and a safe entry this would need to be cleared all the way to almost the edge of the drop off. Im not for or against this project yet. Just trying to understand a bit better. Thats a lot of reef to move. Who gets the fill?

  36. Erik Depthsounder says:

    All of what you say sounds measured and correct, but I think you have missed a vital point….when Cuba opens it's ports to Cruise ships there is a very strong possibility that we will simply be bypassed on the daily schedule, we are after all, the most expensive and probably the least culturally interesting destination on the weekly cruise circuit.

    Spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a berthing facility, may prove to be one of the biggest financial disasters of recent years and at the current $50 US estimated to be spent by each Cruise tourist on their Cayman stop over, will not generate enough, to even match the loan interest repayments.

    If we spent this money on developing sustainable, high value "green" tourism, it would probably a better option, but we need to stop the island turning in to another South Florida suburb, and create an experience that truly reflects the peace and calm that should be Cayman….what we don't want is Margaritaville or a cheesy craft market and a waterfront swamped with tee-shirt shops……in my humble opinion, we are all barking up the wrong tree and the Port berthing issue is irrelevant.


    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with you about cruise tourism (not so much Cuba) but if we are going to build one, and that seems certain, we should put it in Red Bay-its perfect.


      For years no one has figured how to make that work in town, not even with all the money Dart has. Lets move forward and not stick to GT because Grampa had put some old time landing on the ironshore there. Move this country forward.

      • Anonymous says:

        ##Let's move forward and not stick to GT because Grampa had put some old time landing on the ironshore there. Move this country forward. ### I couldn't have said it better – exactly!


    • Anonymous says:

      Whatever the mysterious economics winds up being in the landing fee vs interest payment equation,  the impact (both enviro/social) to the Cayman Islands tourist product will be irreparably altered, and will ultimately discourage the stayover tourists, residents, and retirees the island needs to resume growth.  Genesis Class ships have double or triple the passenger capacity, but port arrivals for those servicing these are up a mere 20%.  The port economics seems lost on the proponents (Rolex salespeople, Taxi drivers, Stingray Capts, and Turtle Farmers) whose personal greed will saddle our heirs with debts and dilute the appeal of our limited tourist offering to the most desirable segment.      

      • Meow says:

        Better to be up 20% rather than down 50% like Cayman is now….surely.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Why doesn't someone ask actual cruise ship captains what they think instead of these "legendary" local "captains" who I can assure you do not possess the licenses or qualifications required by any of the cruise lines. The actual cruise ship captains would tell you that their own qualifications do not include port design and construction. It is beyond me why the local "captains" think they have the expertise to pick the site. This involves more than tying up to a coconut tree.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually Captain Arlin McCoy is the "Real McCoy". He has more open class lisenses than most cruise captains coming in here combined. He has commanded the largest ships in the world and is still hired to do so. Heard Austin read out his resume and that was something. He is currenly active and knows what he is doing. If he says this is good, it is good. pure and simple.


      I agree some of our local "captains' have difficulty finding sand bar but Captain McCoy is worth listening to.


    • anonymous says:

      Actually you are very wrong….the cruise captains very much are critical in the design process of these facilities. After the preliminary layout is done, the design is fed into STAR center simulator in Dania, Florida and they call in the cruise captains to evaluate the design and make design changes. If the captains dont like the layout it gets done over. End of story.


      I think what the "local" ( really should be the "worldwide") sea captains are saying is based on their combined centuries of experience at sea all over the globe, Red Bay is significantly better place to dock based on wind, currents, northwesters, safety, etc. They will leave it to the designers to draw it up and the contrators to build properly but that is where it should be they say.  I for one will certainly listen to them before making up my mind.


      • Anonymous says:

        Exactly "experience at sea all over the globe" what experience do they have of planning a land operation. Once the ship is inside the breakwater their experience is not valid

    • anonymous says:

      Dear Anon 13.27,


      I have actually seen Captain Arlen McCoys achievements and qualifications and I can assure you he is more than qualified for this. I have had the honour of meeting this gentleman and discussing some of what he has done.


      He has been in charge of the largest ships afloat (one almost 1,600 feet long) and is currently active. He has just returned from the Gulf of Mexico where he was instructing senior BP captains on berthing and off-loading.  I do know he will soon be doing the same in a simulator in northern Europe.  He holds almost every type of license available as well as being trained in all areas of shipping from navigation to Master in Command of all size vessels.


      He has done more and seen more than all of these captains coming here on the cruise ships and has operated in all oceans and most ports in the world.


      Can I suggest that you take your qualifications to make such a invalid statement and call Captain McCoy, who I beleive is home for a short while, and get together with him and compare notes. His number is 926-0360…I am sure he will appreciate your call and reviewing your resume and experience allowing you to make such a statement as well.


      Not only will I know that you will be surprised but I know you will find out that he has forgotten things that you and your cruise capatins have not even learnt yet. Choppy called him "ledgendary" and that is a perfect description.


      We are too quick to tear down our own but happy to accept someone from overseas, US, Australia or somewhere. We have to realise that we Caymanians have done it, have the knowledge and experence and should be the first to be consulted, not the last.


      God Bless.

      • Anonymous says:

        Most places, local pilots dock 1200" bulk carriers, not the captains. Passenger vessels also hire higher caliber captains than freighters do.

        • Anonymous says:

          1200" (inches) is only 100 ft…our local captains can do everything with a 100' boat with their eyes closed!

    • Anonymous says:

      Why do you assume that any "local Captain" is not as qualified to offer an opinion as a cruise ship Captain? Why do have a number of highly qualified master mariners who commanded some of the largest ships in the world.

    • Anonymous says:

      I noticed that you put "captains" in quotations as if you believe these persons are not qualified master mariners but instead someone who merely is in charge of a local boat which he ties "to a coconut tree". In fact you can "assure" us that they do not possess qualifications.  Here is a little education: while you do have "captains" of the latter category who e.g. are involved in local watersports, there are quite a number of highly qualified Caymanian master mariners who have captained oil tankers and freighters of various sorts all over the world. Capt. Arlin McCoy is one of them. Caymanians had a great seafaring tradition which involved more than the North Sound.

      This speaks to a mindset that because they are Caymanian they must be inferior. Ironically it only exposed your own ignorance.       

    • Anonymous says:

      Capt Arlen McCoy is a very experienced captain and has been involved in ship to ship transfers of oil from one large tanker to another as a mooring master. Captain Hurlston also had many years of experience as a captain as well so they knew a lot more than just tying up a boat to a coconut tree, I wish that persons who come here from middle England or middle Canada  and have never seen the sea before will stop disparaging experienced Caymanian sea captains.

      The link below is to a video depicting a ship to ship transfer which is similar to the type of work that Capt McCoy would have done and maybe still does. The mooring master is the person responsible for seeing that the operation is carried out successfully. Interestingly the mooring master in this video is Captain Anderson Radley Scott of Cayman Brac with over 45 years of seafaring experience with over 40 of those as being as Captain.I sincerely doubt that the ships in this video can be tied up to a coconut tree.

  38. Anonymous says:

    I agree with this thought process, at the meeting at the Family Life Center hosted by Chuckie almost no one agreed with the George Town plan. The current version is a hybrid of that plan.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Problems usually occur when politicians do the work of technocrats and do not listen to their advice. Do you remember the famous malfunction junction near Kirk Motors that was designed by a politician?

  40. Anonymous says:

    I was driving to town this morning and spent 45 minutes between Parrots Landing (or whatever it is called now) and Hard Rock.  That is 45 minutes that benefits no one.  And there were hundreds others…all lost productivity.  If Government were to be smart enough to put this in Red Bay I don't think the traffic would be as bad in town and we could be a lot more productive as an island!  Cruise and downtown should never have been mixed. 

  41. Anonymous says:

    Great article and I will certainly email in my comments to you and your group AND to our politicians.  It is non-sensical to put this port in town, it's making a HUGE mistake on top of a small mistake.  Red Bay is the right place for it to go.