Cruise lines blamed for small operator struggles

| 07/11/2013

(CNS): Local tour operators say they are being marginalized and their livelihoods undermined due to the way cruise lines do business, which won’t necessarily change once the piers are built. Relating the experiences of a number of smaller operators at a public meeting Tuesday night, one West Bay based taxi owner said many people had already lost their homes and businesses because of the message the ship owners deliver to passengers that Grand Cayman is not safe for them to wander around alone. They are also told that they will be ripped off by local tour operators as the cruise lines seek to control the sale of on-shore trips and excursions.

The operator said that this was the issue that was affecting many smaller business, and not just taxi drivers. She said that the cruise ships sell the same tours as local operators for as much as four times the price but give the local operators that they use to deliver those tours only a fraction of the takings. With many operators not getting any of the pre-booked tour work and a dwindling number of passengers willing to book direct because of the negative messages, she said small operators were going out of business and that was the issue the government had to address.

Speaking at the meeting hosted by Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell about the government’s plans to develop cruise berthing facilities, Shamari Scott, the director of the Department of Tourism (DoT), explained some of the efforts being made to develop a website presence, which has had impressive results for local operators. He said this was enabling cruise visitors to book local tours directly on-line from the ship.

However, the local operators said no amount of promotion was able to counter the power of the negative messages that cruise passengers were being fed by the cruise lines about crime and security and the bad impression of locally based operators.

She repeated an often heard complaint from retailers that whatever the numbers of cruise passengers passing through their stores in recent times, the visitors are simply not spending money. This was why so many George Town merchants had already gone out of business, as well as the tour operators. She said many people had lost their homes and livelihoods and were struggling to put food on the table for their families.

The operator implored the minister to do what he could about the negative message being delivered by the cruise lines and the system of how tours are sold. He made a commitment to raise the issue and asked for full details on the reports local operators were getting from passengers about what they were being told on board ship.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I will have sympathy for taxi drivers the day they accept that picking me up at my house, and then stopping to collect a friend on the way to the destination, does not mean they charge 2 fares.

    Until that day comes, let them suffer at the hands of competition, however unfair.

  2. Anny Omis says:

    I frequently get asked by our cruise ship visitors if the taxi cabs are safe, and what the fees are. I cannot answer them. There are no set fees that I know of. And from what I have seen some cab drivers are lacking both ethics and driving skills.

    They ask if the cabs charge per person, or by destination. All I can say is that you have to strike a deal with the cabbie. This is not a good situation. Rates to popular destinations should be clearly stated and transparent.

    I also get dozens of guests asking how to get to SMB, snorkling, Turtle Farm, etc, etc These should not be questions our customers need to ask. What is our tourism product? Why do we not clearly advise our customers as to said. SMB, Stingray City, Botanical Park…our customer has no idea how to access these places other than by overpriced, prepaid ship tours.

    A little information would go a long way to helping not both our visitors and merchants.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Cost of taxis went up because there is no enforcement,fuel price over US$ 7.20 per imperial gallon, food, water, basically cost of living. 

    You want taxis to have meters in a taxi. There is no law, no enforcement to have one. Public Transport unit ticket taxi and public bus operators and nothing happens. 

    Taxis came into the rank after they got Caymanian status from you know who. Otherwise they would not have gotten in. They run taxi at airport, hotels residences, clubs on taxi rates. 

    Then tomorrow morning when the cruise lines come in they run bus rates. The busses charge US$ 4 per passenger to royal palms and US$ 5 per passenger to public beach calico jack or sea grape beach and surfside. 

    The taxis will drop off people to the beach but only 14 seaters or larger will pick them up wet and full of sand. They will clean their feet in the busses and put on their foor wear. It costs CI$ 40 to clean the busses properly. We sweep in between. 

    Like any country that has taxis in the world you should ask to see the taxi rate sheet , they all have one. 

    Taxis are a very profitable business if you are on the road but if you are in a line situations are different. 

    You are competing against taxis that are run as a bus ,so the bus is different. All busses in most countries that I have visited are funded by their governments. Here they are not.

    When one thinks that you can run by distance , in Jamica they run by zones . So they have the same problem over there. Except they have a much lower cost of living. They charge US$ 13 up to one mile for 2 people. If there are more people the charge goes up because of weight ,wear and tear. 

    If a bus is up from 5:30 am in the morning just to pull a number out of a box by 6:15 it is only by the will of GOD that you make money or not.You can only make one trip.  Plus people on the street with signs outside of the dock blocking traffic ,shouting, fighting is not helping the cause.

    I have travelled all over the cruise ship areas, we are the cheapest . Are industry was destroyed by you know who. When they decided to allow so many people in this industry .

    • Anonymous says:

      "Then tomorrow morning when the cruise lines come in they run bus rates. The busses charge US$ 4 per passenger to royal palms and US$ 5 per passenger to public beach calico jack or sea grape beach and surfside."

      There has been an ongoing issue for years because the larger busses refuse to drop people at the Royal Palms. Complaints have been made to those in charge of monitoring the taxis to no avail.

      The reason the don't, they make $2.00 more per person and they receive "incentives " by those operators. It is a shame that so many people get scammed and are taken further down the beach.

  4. Flight of Fancy says:

    The Times travel supplement did a Cayman story todat.  It described Grand Cayman as "flat and swampy" and concluded with the view that "unless it's a generous tax regime you seek, Grand Cayman is frankly unexceptional".  The tourist industry needs to be realistic that it is a third tier destination for the sophisticated high end over-night traveller (ie the ones that spend money).

  5. pmilburn says:

    Was it those stutus grants way back when that is causing so much hassle in the cruise arena?Did this all come to light right after that?

  6. anonymous says:

    If they think its bad now just wait till THEY OWN THE NEW CRUISE DOCKS!!…."Dog nam u supa"

  7. Anonymous says:

    Well it is true!  Anyone who has used a taxi knows the fares are outrageously high and are indeed a rip off.  Havent used one in years since being charged $20 for a 2 mile ride.

    • Anonymous says:

      Tourists don't need anyone to tell them that Cayman is not a safe destination.  They can figure that out for themselves when then see a security guard at every door.

      • Anonymous says:

        At the end of the most western Caribbean cruises go through Cayman. Its true our crime rate has increased in recent years but dont forget your location. If you are taking a cruise through the northwest caribbean you more than likely will have to choose between Cayman and Honduras or Jamaica and as bad as crime has gotten in Cayman lately it is no where near those destinations.

        In fact please go and look at crime rates for the Caribbean and you will still find Cayman near the bottom. This does not mean I disagree with the poster that talked about taking walks on the beach late at night. things have change for the worse in terms of crime. But please but things in perspective.

        The other thing is the cost opf coming to Cayman. Higher than anything in the region by far but cruise ship passengers take high cost destinations to be safer and we either need to have it lower cost or less crime. Cant have both.

      • Anonymous says:

        The security guards are unarmed…big difference to the States where they are packing Glock9's

    • Anonymous says:

      You were lucky…I got CI$25 for less of a ride than that and also will never use them again.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I have cruised all over the Caribbean and that has included a cruise that stopped in Cayman.  On my cruise that stopped in Cayman, which was on Carnival Cruise Lines, I did not hear them once say anything derogative about Cayman, or the taxi operators.  What they did say was that they offered quality assurance on their tours and that if for some reason the tour got delayed, the ship would not leave you behind.  If you went on your own, then you were on your own, as they wouldn't know what the situation was with you.  I reiterate that not once did they say not to take a local taxi or transportation, so whichever operator is saying this, I would simply say that they are certainly not repeating something that they heard directly from the cruise lines.  The next point that I'd like to raise is that with any business, there are no guarantees.  There are lots of taxi operators, lots of tour operators and lots of places and activities for cruise passengers to choose from.  So it doesn't mean that because you are a taxi operator, a tour operator, or any other operator, that you are necessarily guaranteed a fare, 2 fares, or 10 fares.  The customer, who has his money in his pocket, decides who, where and on what he wants to spend it.  Be grateful and appreciative if he chooses to spend it with you and give them the value for money they deserve.  Don't rush them to their destination at break neck speeds so you can quickly get back for another fare.  However, I know that not all operators conduct themselves in this manner and there are some operators like Websters Tours who offer a far superior service.  And the gentleman that calls himself Henry Morgan; he offers his guests fresh coconut water, or a bottle of water.  The operators who hang out in front of the Port hustling fares is a real turn off, but they do treat the cruise passengers with respect and if you are not interested in taking a trip with them, but only need some information on finding some place in the town, they will still graciously help you.  So please understand, there are no guarantees in business.  Just offer the best service you possibly can and show your customers that you appreciate their business.  Just like how you are careful how you spend your money, the tourists are careful how they spend theirs, especially in a recession.  Don't treat them with disdain because they didn't spend anything with you.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you for a first hand reply as a lot of comment is based on pre existing gripes extrapolated to an 'always happens' comment. 

      The cruise you were on may not have said as much but the comment they did make was telling, if you start from the viewpoint that they are in the business of making money and those selling you the tours are on commission, then the not so subtle message of 'go with us and you'll be fine or go it alone and you could miss the boat' speaks volumes.

      I would have booked locally and asked for a phone number to call in the event you were delayed, although I can't remember the last time I read about anyone being left behind. With around 1.5mio people annually the risks of that happening have got to be pretty small.

       

       

  9. Anonymous says:

    Tourism on Grand Cayman will soon be over . . . . . .

     

     

  10. Hear Hear says:

    Most taxi drivers are hired hands from overseas and the taxi owners are locals who never even see a tourist.  This voter cartel group needs to be broken up, but not one politician dares, not even at the expense of our tourism industry.

    • Anonymous says:

      14;11

      So true! this sounds like the construction industry. We have bankers, accountants and lawyers, owning construction companies, who never interact and know what their companies are envolved in.

      Most of these are status holders. We came from 175 construction companies up until  the late 90s to 767 construction companies, today.

      Governments have destroyed the industry through the greed for revenue. The worst part about this, they expect these  businesses to continue to pay the ridiculous  fees…..,vacation pay, work permit fees, pension and health  contribution.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Cruise business is certainly not the future of Cayman. A little more vision and innovation from the government would be helpful. This project is a mistake with a bad business case, stretched thin and with permanent and significant negative impact on the only natural ressource Cayman has, it's pristine water, coral and beaches. 

    Cruise ship operators will be the only winners.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Sadly Cayman is NOT safe to walk around alone and local tour operators WILL try to rip cruise shiipers off.  The cruise lines are just giving fair warning to their passengers. The way to fix the problem is by making it safer and improving the tourism product, not by moaning about the cruise lines.

    When you are charging $20 for transport (worth $2) and entry (worth $0) to Royal Palms, (and making them sit on a bus for ages while the touts try and fill it up) you are ripping people off simple as that.

     

  13. Anonymous says:

    What needs to be done is making the Cayman the safe haven it used to be people don'trealize how word travels about the crime in Cayman people are warned just like when they go to Jamaica. And many tour operators and Taxi drivers do rip off tourists so the truth hurts..

    You can't blame the cruise ships for looking out for their passengers.

    • Anonymous says:

      I love the alturistic view of cuise lines, they are in it for the money, nothing more. There may be the odd tour operator ripping off the odd tourist but that pales in comparison to the fees charged on board for the same onshore product at 3x's the price.   The cruise lines are in effect ripping off all their customers all the time..

  14. Maiden Plum says:

    Wonder if the bus driver who charged me $22 to drive from the airport to Jose gas station was in attendance??

    • Anon says:

      Bus Driver or taxi driver?  I've only known the latter rip you off to this extent – never use them.

      • Anonymous says:

        Agreed, the taxis here are not just overpriced but unsafe. They are operated by people who seem not to be able to drive.  The other thing is they seem not to know the fastest way to get anywhere which always struck me as odd since the don't use meters.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I don't think there's anything new here. Back in 2008/9 a good friend of mine actually stopped dealing with the cruise lines because they were imposing such stupid conditions on companies they were dealing with. He was being offered something like US$15 a head for Stingray City trips, which was less than his operating costs, while the cruise line was selling the same trip on board for US$84. What was worrying about all this was another operator was reputed to be accepting US$10 a head for the trips and that wasn't enough to safely operate his vessels.

    • Anonymous says:

      There doesn't seem to be any lack of tours so I guess your friend couldn't compete. Life is hard.

      • Anonymous says:

        No, my friend simply wasn't prepared to operate what could have turned into an unsafe operation because the cruise lines wanted to screw him financially. It was a good move because once he dropped the committment to take cruise shippers the serious tourists started to use him and they pay a realistic rate for the trips. Moral here – quality custom earns you a lot more than quantity and without the hassles.

  16. SSM345 says:

    "They are also told that they will be ripped off "

    No one to blame there apart from yourself.

    Everybody who lives in Cayman and has had to take a taxi knows this all too well and can agree with the tourists. If taxi's are willing to rip off locals / residents, think of what they do to the tourists in town for a day….

    Perhaps you should change your mentality of trying to get as much money out of someone the first time they use your service to one of looking for repeat business?

    I used a taxi the other night and it was the first time I have got a taxi where the driver actually used the meter! And guess what? The fare he charged was half ofthat the others charge who choose not to use their meter's for the same journey. Go figure.

    The only people to blame are the taxi operators in this situation. End of story. And if they can't see that they are living in denial. They are Cayman's premier rip-off artists.

    A Caymanian.

  17. Anonymous says:

    The reason that businesses downtown are going out of business is because the prices are so out of site.  THAT IS THE REASON CRUISE SHIP PEOPLE DON"T SPEND MONEY.  I had a doctors appointment yesterday.  I had on my stingray necklace.  The nurse said to me…Is that a Stingray on your neck,  I replyed "yes" and she asked if I had ever swam with the Stringrays and went on to tell about she and her husband going on a cruise and stopping on Grand Cayman and how expensive the Island was.  She, her husband and another couple had sandwiches with two beers (total) and the bill was $140.00.  She said they then went to Cozemel and had beer for a dollar a bottle.  Cayman is too expensive to buy things when you are going to go to another Island.  Cayman has priced themselves out of the tourtist business. 

     

    I have been coming to Cayman for 33 years and feel that I cannot keep coming back at the prices.  There are other places to go.

    I love K-Man but hate what it has become.

    • Anon says:

      1.  Cruise ship tourists tend to be on limited budgets hence they pay for an all incusive cruise so they don't have to factor in money for food, drinks, excusions and the like.

      2.  Yes business in town (as well as the taxis) are overcharging.  But its not just that – there are no regtular retail shores and barely any affordable coffee shops and restaurants/cafes.  All the stores are either diamonds, jewelry, watches or souvenirs.  If it don't say "Cayman Islands" on it it probably won't be on sale in town.  We need a regular shopping mall, food malls and restaurants/cafes.  GT doesn't have to be a ghost town it just seems nobody has the vision to do what obviously needs doing.  People forget that GT is not just about cruise ship tourists (who don't spend much money onshore), but also is full of workers who look for somewhere to go at lunch time every day and would likely spend plenty of money if there were sufficient retail malls and eating places in the town center.  But there's nothing there – so they travel far afield just to feed themselves at lunchtime.  There are obvious retail gaps that could obviously be addressed but I guess its not so obvious to those complaining about loss of trade and losing business.  Add to that the commercial rentals for properties in GT is outrageous and could only be justified if there was a proper town center bustling with life – as GT should be if only people could deal with what is obvious to the rest of us!

      3.  Were the people with the $140 bill eating at the Ritz?  Because, whilst I agree with you that Cayman is seriously overpriced, NOWHERE on-island charges that sort of money for sandwiches and two beers.  Perhaps they were exaggerating?

      4. I prefer other islands where they have bustling town centers and markets.  Some other islands have duty free clothes on sale in their malls as well as jewelry and diamonds – perhaps Cayman could consider that?

      • Anonymous says:

        No, they were NOT eating at the Ritz.  This was at xxxxxx.  Four sandwiches, two cokes and two beers.   I was on the Island last month and I know how expensive it is to go out to eat whether it is lunch or dinner.  I'm sure the $140 was the US price not the CI

      • Anonymous says:

        Well I guess you have not eaten at that place in south sound yet

        Last week 3 kids meals 1 soda 1 energy drink 2 adult meals

        260us

        and it wasnt that good

         

        • SSM345 says:

          There are no restaurants in South Sound, and if there were, we could afford US$140 for lunch anyways! 

          I am guessing you refer to the "Old House"?

        • Anonymous says:

          What were you feasting on – lobster and caviar? I have a family of four and I have eaten at many restaurants on Island but I don't think the bill has ever been that much.  

          Don't know of any restaurants in South Sound.

    • Anonymous says:

      And the thing you need to remember is when these cruise ship people come in and all they talk about is how expensive the Island is….they will never become stay over visitors. 

  18. Anonymous says:

    Taxi drivers have been ripping off people here for years so the cruise lines have that part right.  You are rude and disrespectful of other drivers.  You deserve everything you get or in this case 'don't get'

  19. Anonymous says:

    I have heard many similar stories of cruise lines using their power to deliver messages to passengers to essentially extort local businesses, particularly tour operators and retailers. If retailers don't pay outrageous advertising fees and percentages of revenues from each passenger who purchases items in their stores, the cruise lines will tell passengers they should not patronise the business and favour competitors. If tour operators don't allow cruise ships to charge a high rate and accept a fraction of that price for themselves, the cruise lines will do the same to them. I have a friend who worked as a concierge on a ship that does the Caribbean rounds in the winter and the Mediterranean in the summer, and he also confirmed from the other side that this is a clear business strategy for the cruise lines to make money.

    Unfortunately, the only way to break their power and stop this extortion is for every single local operator and retailer and also associations like the Chamber of Commerce and the Government to stand up to the cruise lines and set fair revenue sharing systems for tours and retail purchases. If other cruise jurisdictions did the same we would be in an even stronger position to negotiate with cruise lines because they couldn't just remove us from their itineraries or tell passengers to shop and tour in other ports instead of Cayman.

    The cruise lines are hurting because cruising is now perceived as less luxurious and their costs are spiraling up, particularly due to fuel price increases. So they're squeezing blood from the local businesses to make up for that shortfall and they will keep doing it until everyone stands up to them together.

    • Anonymous says:

      As usual it is always someone else's fault when the big wide world kicks back at Cayman's greed. Who do you think invests in the huge advertising and logistics exercise to encourage people to cruise around the Caribbean, the Cayman Islands?

      No, this massive investment in ships, terminals, crew and marketing is done by the cruise lines. So good for them when they decide that they will take a cut of the pie for landing 2000 people per ship on this rock. It is the self entitled mentality of those who consider themselves 'businessmen' that is to blame, and their total lack of respect for those who visit these Islands. 

      Cayman's reputation for ripping people off and failing to control their feral off spring is making itself known to a more savvy travelling public. Whilst Cayman tries to indulge itself in a delusion that it remains a rich mans playground, the people who actually spend the tourist dollar, the mass middle classes, are turning away. 

      The gravy train is over and Cayman needs to up its tourism product. Build resort hotels instead of a never ending line of condos, encourage all inclusive resorts and package holidays for those who want to travel from Europe and beyond. Why is it that in Europe one can book a fully inclusive resort hotel in the Bahamas for less than the airfare to Cayman which is an hour further. Why do 80% of the British Airways compliment of passengers get off in Nassau?

      These are questions in need of serious answers and immediate action. 

      • Anonymous says:

        So you think it's appropriate for a cruise line to charge a passenger $84 for a tour and give the tour operator only $15 when the cost of doing the tour safely and well is $20? Or for the concierge on a ship to tell passengers not to shop at store X, or to purchase an item in Cozumel instead of Grand Cayman simply because store X didn't want to pay the outrageous advertising fees and the outrageous requested commission on all sales? (Not to be confused with the concierge not telling passengers to shop at store X because the cruise lines had not been paid by store X to advertise for them, which would be perfectly legitimate. What I am talking about here would be akin to CNS writing a news story that readers shouldn't shop at a specific local grocery store because that grocery store refused to pay to advertise on this website, telling readers to shop at a different specific local grocery store instead, and potentially also lying about the grocery store's operations or products.) Those kinds of behaviours are what I'm talking about. We have to recognise the power that cruise lines hold when they have the passengers as a captive audience for days before they reach our shores and the affect it has on the negotiating position of local businesses.

        Of course cruise lines invest heavily in advertising, infrastructure, etc to bring passengers to Cayman and of course those passengers then contribute to our local economy both directly and indirectly. Of course the cruise lines should therefore be compensated with a profitable return that reflects the value of the investment and the risk that the cruise lines have taken on in making that investment.

        Perhaps I wasn't as clear as I should have been, but in my original comment I was referring to practices that any reasonable person would consider extortion. I am also calling not for undeserved protectionism for "greedy, self-entitled businessmen who are ripping people off". (As a side note, I do acknowledge those types of persons exist, but not all tour operators and retailers are a part of that group). Rather, I am calling for fair and equitable systems for revenue sharing between cruise lines and local businesses that cater to cruise tourists, and for the cost of advertising to be proportionate to the expected returns.

        I don't disagree with you that tourism is changing, particularly cruise tourism, and that we are not well-placed to reposition ourselves in the regional or international market right now. I also don't disagree with your recommendations. However, your comment does not address the fact that cruise lines currently extort and exploit local tour operators and retailers, and it was this specific issue that I wanted to speak about in my first comment. I had no idea how bad it was until I worked in the industry and met some of the crew from the ships and I think the business owners, representative associations and Government need to come together and protect their legitimate interests.

        • Anonymous says:

          It's called a free market economy, it maybe unfair but it's all about offering a better service to compete. Cayman is full of monopolies and franchises, it needs morecompetition to stimulate growth. Without growth the tourism sector will continue to offer the same old tours and a restrictive market for local operators.

          Unfortunately, too many local operators tied their flag to the cruise ship mast and didn't diversify into other tourism sectors or markets. This was a huge mistake and now they are at the cruise ships mercy. Cayman needs a thriving hotel and resort sector to encourage more vacationing tourists from the US, UK, Europe and beyond. People like to book a complete package when travelling long distances, condos are not the way forward as costs are largely hidden until they arrive, restricting spending power.

          Break up the Cayman monopolies and encourage external investment, growth will follow, costs will go down and businesses will thrive.

      • Anonymous says:

        Unfortunately there is no land left to re-build resort hotels after we closed them all for whatever reason. Seaview / Sleep Inn / Indies Suite / Grand Pavillion / Cayman Islander / Beach Club / Carribean Club

      • Anonymous says:

        Your hatred of and,disdain for Cayman and things Caymanian is obvious ,but when you stoop so low as to refer to Caymanian children as "feral offspring" you have reached an all time low .This is degrading ,disgusting and infuriating and CNS should remove it immediately.

        CNS: "Feral youth" is a term used frequently in Britian to describe a segment of young people who are essentially out of control and committing crime. See here and here.

        • Anonymous says:

          But really CNS, I don't see how that applies.  Our children might be headed that way but honestly, they are no where near that yet.  I think that it also helps that  

          1. we have a lot of programs in place to assist our children with having a better life

          2. A family can't live off of Social Services

          • Anonymous says:

            Stop whining to CNS, the term is appropriate for some of Caymans youth.  Living in denial just makes it worse, get to grips with teenage gangsters and junkies first, then you might be taken seriously.

            • Anonymous says:

              Did you read the article?  Please post me a picture or show me these so called "feral" children in Cayman because I haven't seen any.

        • Anonymous says:

          When 16 year old kids hold up an 83 year old Caymanian lady in her own store, then yes, there are feral off spring here that you need to get under control. I do not apologise for the term, it is appropriate and reasonable.

        • Anonymous says:

          I think the word "'Feral" does an excellent job of defining some of our youth.  I stress some because we cannot paint all our young people with the same brush. The large majority are fine individuals that give me much hope and optimism for our country's future.

           

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree with you Cayman needs to encourage all inclusive resorts and package

        holidays. That would help the air travel and open up the island to a much broader

        range of guests from all walks of life. The everyday working couple from Europe, U.S.

        and Canada would be more likely to go to Cayman instead of everyone going to

        Mexico because of all the all inclusive resorts.

      • Anonymous says:

        Before commenting did you step back and think for a second that they may actually have a point?  If a business is large enough to dictate the price they will pay for a product, and get that price, then they are usually a detriment to the provider of that product.

        Walmart, great for low prices, not so great for people working in the sweat shops that have to produce their goods.

        The point of the article is that the local operators are willing and able to charge the cruise ship passenger less for the same product than the cruise ships charge their own customers. Apart from delivering the passenger to the island the cruise ships add no value to the product sold to the cruise passenger. It's not their product they are selling, so all the rant about cost of infrastructure is irrelevant.  If the cruise ships can't make money by selling their own product (the ships, food, drink and gambling) then why would you expect them to make it from something they haven't invested in? 

        They are just the booking agent taking 3 x's as much for the process of booking as the product is worth. It can't be sustainable for anyone.

        • Anonymous says:

          Delivering customers to the island is a very valuable ability. They do not owe you a free ride.

  20. Anonymous says:

    The only thing unreal about the escalation of Cayman's crime has been the response to it.  This has to be a priority for visitors and locals alike.  There is a known crack den neighbourhood a few hundred yards off the dock – hello?

  21. Worth every penny says:

    Moses needs to book a cruise homself and go onto the lines that come here.  He can learn a LOT.  Really,it would not just be a jolly, but – if cruise tourism is important to Cayman, why don't ALL our politicians all pay for these one week trips themselves and see what the tourists see!?!

    No need for impact studies by PWC or KPMG, just DO what you were elected to do and be your own mystery shopper Mr. Tourism Minister!  As a matter of fact, you have really enjoyed our public purse for many years….so book this yourself as a working holiday?

    Carnival comes here the most.  Book a tip from Miami to Cayman and SEE what the ships are selling.  The upscale market comes on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean  – pick one.

    I have said this a hundred times.  The cruise lines caught up with the times and now offer $10 bags, scarffs, handbags, trinkets, duty-free jewerly (watches -that you can think about all week before purchase) and EVERYTHING for sale onboard.  No reason to shop on shore!

    Tours needs to be historical and unique.

    Whoever is supposed to be working with the cruise lines needsto be fired.  The other islands are eating our lunch.

    • Anonymous says:

      anon 0942 not totally true.  I have been on cruises and some of the tours are simply a trip to  a beach. ButI would agree that they do offer those kind of tours and tourist generally try to take tours  of high caliber that involves them seeing more than  just a beach.

      The biggest problem is that the cruise lines drive the costs for these tours  throught the roof. the local operator will charge $50 for a tour but the cost  on the cruise ship is probably closer to $200.

      • Regular visitor says:

        True comment. On one cruise line Stingray City is over $80 but they only pay the local company about $15, which is too little to ensure that the cattle boats they use are operated safely. In fact you end on an overloaded boat run by a crew that doesn't speak English. If you buy the same trip on island it can cost $40 for a small group on a safe boat with an experience skipper and crew. Bottom line is if you want a good holiday on these islands don't cruise, fly in and stayover.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Everybody looking for a free ride..

  23. Anonymous says:

    "the message the ship owners deliver to passengers that Grand Cayman is not safe for them to wander around alone."

    They are correct, it isnt safe. Grand Cayman is not the place it was 25, or even 15 years ago. There is just no way you would take a casual drive to East End, leave the car and walk on a secluded beach area. Stroll on 7 mile beach at midnight? I dont think so. Walk back after 1 am along West Bay Rd to your house? FAIL.

    If the local taxi & tour operators are crying foul now,they should just wait another 5 years & they will experience the full impact of this crime ridden Caribbean 3rd world country.

    • Anonymous says:

      Having said that, would you do it in any other country? I don't think so. Cayman isn't as safe as it once was, but is still far safer than most other places in the region & the World. Strolling anywhere in the world late at night is risky; here you are pretty much ok, but need to watch out of course, like everywhere.

      • Anonymous says:

        I can (and do) actually do that sort of thing back home. I can go for a stroll by my house in the dark whenever I want and not actually have anything come even close to happening to me. Here? Not so much. I'm careful here, and don't go walking at night alone (nor is walking at night a habit), and still have had some close calls.

  24. Anonymous says:

    i have no sympathy for taxi drivers…. they are protected parasites that have been ripping people off for decades….