Cruise lines sail away from the Caribbean

| 29/10/2010

(The Star): It’s the biggest recent development in cruising. In the spring and summer of 2011, four major cruise lines—Norwegian, Princess, Celebrity and Holland America—won’t be sailing from ports in Florida to and through the Caribbean. All the cruises of those lines that were once operated from Florida to that tropical sea will have been shifted to European waters and other oceans of the world. Not a one will leave from Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Cape Canaveral, Tampa and the like. Although Holland America ceased sailing in summer to the Caribbean several seasons ago, its repeat decision to pass up the Caribbean in the spring/summer of 2011 is another confirmation of the trend.

Left to sail the Caribbean from Florida will be those two giant (6,000 passengers apiece) vessels of Royal Caribbean (the Oasis and the Allure—they really will be too big to go anywhere else); two older ships of Royal Caribbean; and a handful of older vessels of Carnival Cruises.

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  1. MER says:

    This is going to have devastating effects on the Cayman Islands and I think Government should stop worrying about fences around their homes and Protocol cars and start figuring out another means of income for these islands than Tourism!

  2. Anonymous says:

    A lot of bad news these days!  I see some sunshine without the cruise ships and that is in the form of Amercian exiles (the wealthy ones) if we can just hang in there for another 5-10 years maintain our Caymainian attitudes and continue to provide the service that people have been accustom to they will come here.  Things aint looking to pretty 500 miles to the north and just like Dart is planning there will be a lot of folk running from their uncle sam as he needs to collect back for all the money he has been spending.  I feel the situtation in the US will turn to last one out please turn out the lights.  You can already see the retirement and second homes springing up in Panama and if you have visited a spainsh country before the service isn’t sweet. Cayman, the Bahamas and a few other places will be the retreat of choice for the weathly.  For some reason I think Brazil is also going to have massive community filled with Americans.  This is globalization but no one yet sees it coming

    • Snoopy says:

      Ah yes, the usual display of Caymanian (American gained) perfect grammar. Oh dear, why wouldn’t they come here to be insulted, ripped off, robbed, arrested, burgled etc? Surely all our gun and gang crime must make it like a home away from home?

      Seven errors in one sentence, three in another, six in another. Please… you can’t even spelled ‘sitchation’ correctly.

      ‘maintain our Caymanian atitudes?’ what are they exactly? ‘hmm, she’s MY sister, hands off!’ ‘Damn foreigners!’ ‘Let’s have cow foot for dinner!’ ‘Cayman is the centre of the Earth!’ ‘All Caymanians are honest!’

      If you build it, they will come! Jeez..



      • Pauly Cicero says:

        Neither of you can lay claim to the grammar prize.

      • Anonymous says:

        It should have been ‘ you can’t even spell’ NOT spelled! so much for your grammar

  3. dave miller says:

     I can’t believe what i read in these comments. So some of you people still after all the people in the cruise business have been saying that we need a proper docking facility still reject the idea!! Based on what? This argument sounds like the argument they had years ago about the first dock! At that time Berkley Bush tried to make people understand that we needed a cargo dock. He was the man in charge in our gov’t at that time.      It’s been so long ago when this happened. But as i recall there were as many as 1800 people who protested at the time. They all concluded that they were right and that the environment was going to suffer, we didn’t have any money for this grandiose project etc.,etc.                                          So we have heard all of this before. These people marched georgetown streets believing that they were right. Thank god he didn’t listen to them. Today the cayman islands receives more than 150,000,000. CI dollars in revenue per year.  Now tell me how that was a bad investment !              The reefs were alive during that time.  Even with 2 cruise ships hitting  soto’s reef central and eden rock . We also have had many wrecks in georgetown Balboa,Cali,Arbutus , about 18 wrecks in georgetown alone. Including the whole history of cayman we have about 700 shipwrecks that have gone down around the cayman islands. That of course according to the English gov’t   also.                                                                                                            So what happened to the reef ? Well there is speculation that snorkelers and diver’s contribute to the dying of the reef  and also global warming and i don’t believe anybody is going to stop that because i believe it’s the cycle of the planet. I really think we have done as much as we can do on this island anyway.                                                                                            But we still need piers.  So what if we only get 2 of the largest cruise ships in the world to come? We need to be ahead of the game . We need to be like Bermuda, pick choose and refuse what ships come here . A ship has to be new for it to benefit money to a island nation. Those new ships that came here first spent a lot of money in this island  . We don’t need the peanut butter and jelly passengers looking for a deal or a discount. We have people coming from May 1st till Nov 1st  that i would rather stay home and not even confront about if they would even like to go to the beach.Cause they want a deal . WE have to remember that the ships get old and need constant refurbishing . I know a lot of you think that you have a lot of experience about the few cruises you have been on . But I have personally been on 90% of all the ships that have come to cayman and i can tell you there is a big difference between some of them. Usually when business is slow for them is the summer months and this is when they refurbish different parts of the ship carpets that smell moldy new sheets mattresses things like this . So that’s when the price goes down and the cheap people come.                                                                             But we could  use this time in the summer to do special caymanian things that drew the crowd before. Remember galleon beach hotel days? Big australian pine trees  for shade on those hot days Handel had live music, barbecue buffet ,cheap drinks, crowds of people  money galore. Happy caymanian faces. Remember that? That’s what we need to get back too. That time, that atitude !  Caymanians working and happy    


  4. Anonymous says:

    Friday 16:12 – you might be right. One thing is for sure, no ‘transients’ would stick around and suffer with us locals, would they? They would just move on and rape some other ‘paradise’. But, in the words of Don Henley, "call someplace paradise, kiss it goodbye".

    Such being the case though, I would venture to bet that the reduction in revenues which remain in circulation on the island would not differ so significantly, because I hope no one loses sight of how much money is presently transferred overseas by those who claim that they are here to "help Cayman". Yeah right!


    • Anonymous says:

      I would stick around through thick and thin, because you have made me feel soooo loved the whole time I was here, (a tear runs down my cheek).  Please what can I do to make you happy? 

    • Anonymous says:

      you are the one calling it paradise and you are also right in there raping it.  

  5. John Evans says:

    It looks like they just flogged the Caribbean cruise market to death.

    I had an email last week offering me 4 day cruises out of Miami for $179 and you can’t run one of those monsters on that level of revenue for long.

    In contrast the European cruise market is booming.

    Check out –

    Even one of the Disney liners is coming over to cruise the Baltic.

    • Anonymous says:

      Aha!  Now we’re talking.  You see this is what I’ve been saying all along.  The cruise ship market is no longer a luxury thing.  It mostly makes its money on cheap all-in cruises and markets itself to people on tight budgets.  Here’s an extract from a Viewpoint topic I’ve been working on:

      The majority of cruise-ship passengers are on a limited budget.  They can’t afford diamonds, expensive gifts, watches, perfume and the other expensive items available at the waterfront.  Just look around you, George Town and its jewelry and perfume stores are almost empty, and the tourists are wandering around aimlessly looking vacant and/or lost!  

      So why does everyone pin their hopes on the cruise ship industry pumping up the economy when perhaps with proper research they could be coming up with better, cheaper alternatives to bring back better returns on investment?  

      • Dennis Smith says:

        Any suggestions? Now is a good time to bring them forward. You can send me a message anytime via Facebook or Linkedin. Look forward to seeing your viewpoint.

      • John Evans says:

        Spot on, and it’s been going that way for a number of years but nobody wanted to acknowledge it.

        At least eight years ago people working in tourist shops were effectively saying that, ‘more meant less,’ when it came to cruise visitors – in other words they made less money on busy days than quiet ones. The same folks were also complaining that cruise passengers were spending less as the numbers went up. 

        I’ve said this before and make no apologies for repeating myself – what Cayman needs is a return to low-impact, reasonably priced accommodation to attract stay over tourism rather than high-rise, up-market developments and cruise ships.

        I first visited Grand Cayman in 1992, in 1993 I came back to spend a week on each of the Cayman Islands and became a regular visitor over the following years before finally coming over to work.

        Nearly 20 years on it would be difficult for me, looking at it as a first-timer coming from Europe, to consider Grand Cayman as a destination of choice because even the cheapest rooms run out at about US$200 a night and most seem to be in the US$300-$400 range – this is all plus about another 25% in taxes/fees and the air fare.

        Put in perspective, seven nights on Grand Cayman for two visitors from the UK (flying BA mid-week) currently runs out at roughly US$4000 just for fares and accommodation. But two weeks in Cuba or on the Red Sea would be around US$2200 and 10 nights in Jamaica roughly US$3000. Those prices are for two people all-inclusive staying at a 3-4 star hotel -and they include flights from London along with all meals and drinks at the resort.

        If tourism is to recover one question that needs to be addressed is why major UK package tour operators are happily flying customers into neighbouring Jamaica and Cuba but ignoring Cayman.

        • Anonymous says:

          Agreed.  But I also have other ideas that (in addition to your own) would appeal not only to the tight purse-strings of the cruise ship tourists, but something that (to me) would benefit everyone in the Cayman Islands too.  I guess I better go and get on with that View Point article – been procrastinating far too long!

  6. Anonymous says:

    this has been on the cards for years…what have local politicians done to combat this?

    lucky we expanded the airport to allow for more air travel…ooops……

    looks like the the locals will eventually get what they want…..a return to the good old days….enjoy your fishing and rope making!….goodnight cayman……

    • Anonymous says:

      …also hopefully enjoy the company of the 25,000 others remainng on island.  When the going gets tough, the tough gets going and then…. the fish might get a chance to grow so Caymanians will get something to eat (bright side).  But nah, that won’t happen coz some of us ain’t going back home to WHAT.  Rather stay in Cayman and live off social service (can’t get it back home) or steal (too much competition in this field back home – much easier in Cayman coz people here are just sitting ducks). 

      If you’e not Caymanian, plz stop complaining and  and help yourselves by just leaving..Caymanians will survive without you

      • Anonymous says:

        "Stay in Cayman and live off social service (can’t get it back home)…"


        What on earth are you talking about?  

      • Anonymous says:

        don’t worry, we’re going.  Just want to take a little bit more of your money with us  

        • Anonymous says:

          Who knows the future?  Here today – gone tomorrow or even today.  Life is not guaranteed.

      • Judean People's Front says:

        I doubt it. If you think crime is bad now give it 12 months and then tell me how many of the 25,000 are left.

        12,000 already had the foresight to get out of Dodge city before this occurred.

        The positive spin is that we all get the pick of used cars for knock down, bargain prices at any roadside.

        We can move into any vacant condo every month for the equivalent of almost nothing in rent.

        We will be able to get a taxi anywhere on the island for less than ten bucks.

        Check the websites, it is positively piling up with cheap goods, leaving island sales and vacant properties.

        Add the foreclosures that will soon be piling up and I would be surprised if people ain’t travelling from Miami to here to buy some cheap goods!

        I am sure that the smart money, local and expat has already left for other jurasdictions such as Panama, Canada, etc.

        Those that haven’t, watch now fot the properties of the main players of large companies hit the books of the realtors.

        Plenty of people I am sure are now sitting in another jurasdiction, sipping on a cool one with a smug smile saying ‘I told you so’.



  7. Anonymous says:

    Can you tell me why are Government Leaders think that we need a cruise ship dock if the crusie ships are no longer coming????



    • Anonymous says:

      Did u stop to think that maybe theyre not coming because there isnt a dock?

  8. Dennis Smith says:

    Here I am worried how Cayman is going to expand employment and its economy in the face of a long and protracted economic downturn and now this unsettling news.


    Regardless of how one feels about Cruise Tourism it seriously impacts our economy and we don’t have a very diversified or deep economic base.


    Our financial service industry is also under attack as the OECD (US and EU) constantly presses against funds and structures domiciled in OFCs. On top of that the competition between offshore financial centers is rapidly expanding, especially as business shifts towards the Far East market. Think Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore.


    Stay-over tourism has never recovered to the positive economic impact level of the 1980’s and we are now competing with an entire world of recently opened exotic vacation destinations. If you had the money, where in the world would you really like to visit?


    Construction, real estate sales and property development are total driven by either foreign investment or expatriate employment; both are dropping off and not likely to return to previous levels.


    Hopefully the aggressive tax regimes of the north will drive some people south, but with increased transparency the private client activities of the past are not likely to return. In any case the Caribbean and Central America are a big area and becoming more accessible all the time. Don’t turn a blind eye towards Cuba, it will open to US visitors sooner than you think.


    Is it just my paranoia or is the noose drawing tighter all the time?


    The competitive global economy is just beginning to heat up. Any predictions about how we are going to compete and prosper? Or perhaps more seriously, how are our children and grandchildren going to fulfill their dreams?


    I prefer to see the cup as half full instead of half empty, but optimism can make one blind until it is too late. Maybe its time to reconsider what proposals we reject out of hand as exploitation and instead look more seriously at them as opportunities, albeit carefully, but lets not take too long.


    Here is another look at the future:



    The Government of the People’s Republic of China just approved this 1.5 billion-dollar investment in the Baha Mar resort in the Bahamas. This is done deal folks and guess what, it is being built by the Chinese. Where do you think the future of tourism in the non-Cuban Caribbean is going to be?


    Now check out all the free-trade zones that are springing up throughout the Caribbean. Maybe they are not models for Cayman to copy but I don’t think adding a small Casino on 7-mile beach is going to cut it. Also every well off person that I know plays a lot of golf, usually on the most beautiful courses in the world. We would need to turn a big chunk of Cayman into verdant rolling courses if we want to attract them.


    Competition sucks, but complacency and not having a competitive and strategic long-term economic development program is deadly. Notice I didn’t say: “Plan”, plans are not actionable, with no accountability they just look like work in progress and they eventually get replaced with more planning instead of results. We could plan and project ourselves out of business while our competitors capture ownership in one economic sphere or another.

  9. Pauly Cicero says:

    Told you so.

  10. anonymous says:

    Soooo remind me again…Why are we building Cruise Ship docks again?  Why are we killing to destroy our environment to build docks?

    • Judean People's Front says:

      Let’s just build one just in case they ever decide to come back and replace the other with another dolphinarium!



    • Pauly Cicero says:

      Because Royal Caribbean told us a couple of years ago that they were building ships that needed to be docked. But don’t worry, there will be a handful of older, smaller ships to maintain our cruise tourism.

    • Dennis Smith says:

      When was the last time you dived George Town harbor?


      Cruise and Cargo Ships dropping anchors and milling around destroyed that environment over 20 years ago.


      The harbor was the most visited dive spot in Cayman during the 60s and 70s; it was teeming with fish and beautiful coral reefs. I know because I was in the water daily for years.


      If you have that memory in your head it is impossible to visit the site today. On top of that take a dive anywhere along the south coast. I dove Spots last year for the first time since 1969; everything is dead and ripped apart. Totally denuded, almost pure muck covered the reefs right out to the drop off.


      Cruise Ships didn’t do that massive damage; it was a natural event, total destruction by a hurricane or perhaps several. When I first dove Spots in 67 it was a small, rich, underwater paradise, now I will nevergo back, it is too heartbreaking.


      People promote saving the environment like they are members of some kind of universal religion but before you get on your soap box and use it to condemn every human activity, including that road in front of your house or those non-indigenous plants growing in your yard make sure you get your facts straight.


      Natural disasters have destroyed more of our environment and will continue to do so in the future than any human activity. Why do you think Cayman is no longer written up in the dive magazines as a number 1 dive location? Not because of divers or development.


      The new cruise piers will not recover the harbor but marine life will adjust and very likely the silt that drifts towards 7-mile beach will halt. I wouldn’t be surprised if the reefs both north and south of the harbor gradually recover. Moving freight away from the George Town would definitely be a plus.


      The offhanded comments about not needing a world class cruise dock now that we have lost a significant proportion of our cruise business bothers me.


      One of the reasons why we can’t reinvent the Cayman cruise experience is because we don’t have a quality world-class pier. The correct response should be “lets get going”.


      Once we have the basic facilities in place we can work on expanding and making the cruise experience more valuable, to everyone involved, travelers and Caymanians alike. Until then we are no even in the game.


      Lets not cut any more of our economy away unless we have something better in hand.

      • Anonymous says:

        Let me get your argument straight here… Diving at Spotts was rather pristine in 1969, but is now all muck and damaged coral. And you place the blame on hurricanes. Yet, hurricanes and other natural disasters have been in existence well before 1969 and yet somehow in the last 40 years they are responsible for that damage that they again somehow managed to avoid doing in the millions of years previously? (Or, at the very least, multiple hundreds of years since Cayman’s discovery and subsequent inhabitation – since I suppose blue iguana’s aren’t telling us what it was like before people came). Are you entirely daft or just trying your best to remain willfully ignorant? It seems very clear that the damage to Cayman’s reefs and dive spots are caused almost entirely by the blind push of most development projects, and in the case of Spotts nearly exclusively by its use as a secondary tendering location for cruise ships. I’ll be honest, I don’t even know what to say to your ideas and opinion – they’re so stupid as to nearly render me speechless.

        • Dennis Smith says:

          The last big storm before 1969 was in 1932, about 35 years earlier. I never said that reefs don’t recover. As a matter of fact, I expect them to. Nature has a way of springing back. Just look at all of the onshore damage that Ivan did and observe how everything is recovering. To assert that humans do more ecological damage than natural disasters is one sided.

          Before you begin that argument you need to dive Spots or any other south coast area to see the hurricane damage firsthand. You will observe that the damage not only extends out to the drop off but completely over the reef as well. That damage was not from cruise ships. They would still be sitting up on the reef. A la the Rhapsody (1984).

          If you don’t dive just walk out from the beach in Spots and observe the massive amount of coral that has filled up the lagoon inside the reef. That wasn’t there 30 years ago.

          However I will agree with you that all cruise ships should be docked so that we minimize the possibility of marine damaged.

  11. Pending says:

    Why are we building not one, but now two cruise ports?

    There will only be two cuise ships operating during spring / summer, visiting Cayman once a week at the most.

    Someone remind me.

    • Anonymous says:

      it’s to keep the politico’s construction companies busy through these tough times 

  12. Anonymous says:

    this is exactly why we need 2 multi million dollar ports! and why its so important to dig out and destroy our island

  13. the Cayman Economy says:

    Crap.   Another nail in my coffin.  It’s getting pretty grim around here.