MACI missing cruise business over marriage

| 28/02/2018 | 42 Comments

Cruise ship weddings, Cayman News Service(CNS): Cayman’s shipping registry is not attracting cruise lines because current local legislation prevents ships registered here from conducting on-board weddings elsewhere, the chief executive officer of the Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands has said. During the previous administration then financial services minister Wayne Panton steered through an amendment to the gambling law to allow cruise ships with casinos to register here and for their passengers to gamble in international waters. But this has not led to any ships signing onto the register because the Cayman marriage law remains a major stumbling block.

Speaking to the Public Accounts Committee last week, Joel Walton said that while government had addressed what was seen as the more difficult legislation regarding gambling, the necessary changes to the marriage law to enable cruise ship weddings had not been addressed.

“It’s a market we can’t enter,” Walton told PAC. “We fixed the Gambling Law, but we haven’t been able to fix the Marriage Law yet.”

Cayman’s shipping register attracts luxury yachts and marine vessels from all over the world, and MACI collects a significant chunk of its revenue from the regulation of those ships, but the cruise lines remain a large untapped market for the register.

Cruise ship weddings are a popular and growing attraction, but under the current marriage legislation, any ship opting to register with MACI would need a marriage officer licensed in Cayman on board the ship to preside over weddings. As that is an unlikely scenario, the current law would have to be amended to facilitate vessels registered here to offer wedding services.

Noting that the change to gambling laws had been important, Walton said the register had also been asking for a change to the marriage legislation since the authority was established some 14 years ago.

Despite this stumbling block to the potentially lucrative cruise registration business and the associated regulatory fees, Walton was still confident that the register had room to grow. He said merchant marine ship registration was a growth market, and in the years to come he expected to see more business coming from the underdeveloped markets in Asia and Africa.

The Cayman Islands Shipping Register has well over 200 vessels, with the greatest proportion (around 80%) being yachts, Walton told PAC.

It is not clear if the government has any plans to amend the law to enable staff on board ships registered in the Cayman Islands to conduct marriage ceremonies.

Bermuda is among those jurisdictions that do allow weddings on cruise ships registered there. When the British territory passed a law to allow same-sex marriages, some cruise lines with Bermuda-registered ships began selling same-sex wedding packages, which is believed to be a growing market for the cruise sector.

However, Bermuda then reversed its laws, causing difficulties for the cruise lines and leading to negative headlines in the international press.

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Category: Business, Shipping, Tourism

Comments (42)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Ha ha you think this is the only reason ….

  2. Anonymous says:

    @ 3:04 pm:

    Kindly quit it with the gay marriage honeytrap. It is rather boring now, not to mention hypocritical.

    If America and Britain’s economic forecasts are still intact after electing the hate-spitting Neo-Nazi Dreamboy President and voting for Brexit (a majority endorsement of xenophobia) respectively; then we have little to worry about.

    Add to that the return of the far-right as a MAJOR political party in Germany of all places with 90+ democratically elected seats of government (with similar and at times, worse trends all over the EU currently); Cayman should not lose much sleep.

    Unless, of course, the “western world” has really been okay with WHITE POWER sentiments and leanings all along and are not the least interested in progress and or penalising said countries with non-support – as you are warning for the Cayman Islands?

    – Whodatis

    *Of course, the option of “mite means right” is always the western joker and this may be the ultimate decider in this regard.
    Nevertheless, to do so would only prove the above and represent a disgusting indictment on the state of “the free world”.

    Your move.

    • Anonymous says:

      (Hee hee!)


      – Who

    • Anonymous says:

      Just living in a dreamworld. Wake up, whoever you are. Don’t you see that the left-right construct is just a diversion. You fall for it every time but I have to give you credit for your well-written, eloquent, yet meaningless waffle.

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s not well written. It reads like a fresher redbrick politics student thinking their being clever.

        • Anonymous says:


          What’s that about redbricks again?

          Lol…ah boy, I’ll just leave this one right here.

          – Who

  3. Anonymous says:

    Despite a very turbulent 2017 in the U.S.A., the main support beam for Cayman Islands’ Economic Pillar of Tourism, 79% of non-LGBTQ U.S.A. adults still agreed with the statement ‘I support equal rights for the LGBT community’. Imagine what would happen if those 79% straight-Americans learned more about our stance? I suspect the other 21% spend the bulk of their theoretical annual travel budget on NASCAR tailgate parties, and wouldn’t be contributing to our travel stats anyway. We need to understand all our customers better – and not just the gay ones. We have much to loose.

    2018 Harris Report:

  4. Jotnar says:

    Just looked at MACIs website. With only 200 vessels, and 80% of them yachts, the annual registration fees must be under $750K. How much does this operation cost to run?

    • Anonymous says:

      200 vessels? but i know dat must be wrong. the annual report 2014/15 says 2,003 so must be more by now!

  5. Caymanapple says:

    This isn’t rocket science. The fix to this is to change the legislation so that marriage officers on-board any vessel wishing to perform a marriage in the Cayman Islands can apply for a temporary marriage license.This would create an additional revenue stream for the country and solve the current issue. Free advice there for the govt.

  6. Anonymous says:


  7. Tut alors!. says:

    Here’s a constructive suggestion, why doesn’t MACI reduce it’s travel and entertainment expenses which have been spiralling upwards in the last 3 years, whilst yacht registrations it’s principal revenue earner have been going in the opposite direction.

    • Anonymous says:

      Come to work Joel. We need a strong Board. Can the PPM change this board who has been failing us for years now.

  8. Anonymous says:

    you did not fix the gambling law, you muppett. the reason boats leave cayman so early is because of their desire to re-open their casinos…..
    due to this law…even with proper docks…cruise ships will never over-night in cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      Me thinks you resemble a muppet yourself. Even with “proper docks” and a gambling exemption they are not going to overnight. The fix that Joel was referring to allows gambling on Cayman registered ships once they are OUTSIDE Cayman waters (12 miles offshore). It was irrelevant where the ship was prior to the fix because Cayman law applied irrespective.

  9. Anonymous says:

    In the UK, the social approval of same-sex relationships [ie. think same-sex relationships are “not wrong at all”] skyrocketed from 47% in 2012 to 64% in 2016. We should think about our ongoing anti-social policy and behavior toward our fellow Caymanians, esp. in light of our civil obligations as a UK territory, and in the longterm context of being on the right side of history. We’ve only been lucky that international media hasn’t picked up on our stance (or worse – expects and reinforces the thesis of ongoing bad behavior from the Cayman Islands). Time’s up.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah, the UK loves gay marriage but hates foreigners – especially those that look like the typical Caymanian.

      Go fly a kite with your short-sighted advisories…and tell England to get with the times and over themselves in the process.

      The modern western world; now hugging gay lovers while standing firm in their historic xenophobia and racism against the other “others”.

      Never heard more hypocritical and disingenuous crap in my entire life.

      • Anonymous says:

        Who, you don’t even need to sign off…we know your hateful style!

        • Anonymous says:

          …and the world knows the UK’s hateful style.

          Talk about that and advise them on adjusting the shortcomings of their own regressive culture before dictating morals on to others.

          Old habits die hard – and they’ve had 400 years to get it right..but to no avail.


          • Jotnar says:

            Look at it this way – if the UK was perfect, how would you be able to justify any Caymanian failing by comparing it to the UKs shortcomings rather than dealing with the underlying issue?

            • Anonymous says:

              Yep, and if you want comparisons, try with Russia, North Korea, Venezuela, China and countless others before getting to the UK. At least in the UK you can say what you did and not be shot or imprisoned or poisoned for it. Although in 7.49’s case that has a certain appeal.

            • Anonymous says:

              This is where you and your colleagues are misunderstanding my position, my friend.

              The UK is not perfect, never was, and clearly has no intention to attempt to be socially perfect or equal – as we have seen, the Brexit result was a democratic display of xenophobia.

              You seem to believe that I believe the UK should not be this way and the decision should be overturned or the government should reverse the “unexpected” result.

              This is not the case.

              (The minute Cameron announced the referendum I KNEW what the result was gong to be – but he as PM did not.
              Therein lies the original and main flaw of Great Britain; the stubborn refusal to accept its reality.)

              It may come as a surprise to you, but I support the UK’s democratic right to be a xenophobic, immigrant and ethnic minority attacking / killing society.

              I only take issue when that society attempts to, or is called upon, to distill morals on to my society.
              The UK has ZERO credibility in this regard.

              So, let them enjoy their far-right resurgence (have you seen the security reports this week regarding this reality?), and let Cayman enjoy our traditional definition of marriage.

              Is this too much to ask?

              At the end of the day, time will tell which society will be better off.

      • Anonymous says:

        As we have people campaigning against and attacking our soon to be Muslim Governor the same Anti-Immigrant sentiments you spend all your days erroniously citing and railing against are here in spades against anyone percieved as an outsider
        We are both anti-immigrant and anti-gay (which according to your own arguments makes us much worse than the UK)
        But we all know you are just scrambling for a way to justify your BS
        Carry on, every post gets more dislikes than the last
        People are over your shit and half truths

        • Anonymous says:

          1.) What exactly is my BS?

          2.) I am use enough to know to ignore the likes v dislikes here on CNS. After all, as with everything in life, we have to consider the source.

          In fact, I gauge the accuracy of my posts by the intensity of ad hominem attacks in the form of replies.

    • Anonymous says:

      So do you think every traveler in the world agrees with gay marriage. There are many who do not condone it. If someone wants to visit Cayman not allowing gay marriage will not matter. No one is saying that gay people cannot visit or live here.

  10. Anonymous says:

    So Joel wants to take bread out of our marriage officers mouths to intice cruise ships to register here so that he can get more money to waste. The shipping registry was set up to make money for Government and is has been losing money. Apparently he is now happy that the registry is breaking even. Come on Joel stop the farming and come to work. Shame on the Board that is suppose to be overseeing this agency for failing big time.

    • Anonymous says:

      That bread is not in the marriage officers mouths now. These are weddings that are ocurring, just not in anyway related to here.

    • Anonymous says:

      Forward thinking in Cayman is rare, as you so eloquently prove.

    • Anonymous says:

      How is this bread out of our marriage officers mouths? Our marriage officers have never had and never will have anything to do with Cruise weddings.

    • Anonymous says:

      you seem to forget that cruise ships that come to Cayman are not registered with the Cayman Shipping Registry – weddings are taking place on board many of them, not taking place in Cayman- this would not be taking the bread out of marriage officers mouths – the bread was not their mouths to begin with

    • Anonymous says:

      All marriage officers are ministers of religion. So our Christian pastors have no issue marrying non Christians…as long as they get paid????

      There is only one civil registrar in the Cayman Islands ..who is not a minister of religions.

      Where is the leadership of the Christian Ministers Association on this topic?

  11. Jotnar says:

    So Cayman would not only have to change its law to allow marriages to be officiated by an on board official, but also allow same sex marriage. Because no cruise line in the modern era is going to tell customers they will only marry heterosexuals. That sounds like something the MLAs would support!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Cayman can kiss that business goodbye…not allowing same sex marriage on board will kill it, all because a bunch of people with the morals of cats and dogs think they can control what other people do. However, they cannot control the incest, abuse, drugs, drink and other criminal activity that is rife here, but that’s OK because they go to Church on Sunday and get forgiven.

    • Pit of vipers says:

      So why don’t you try offering constructive suggestions to bring about positive change, rather than hurling insults?

      • Anonymous says:

        Wow, so smart. Try this. Allow gay marriage. Was that so tough? Clearly you couldn’t think that one out yourself.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hey now! My cats have morals! They have morals because I taught them to love everyone no matter if they are a different from them. I’m pretty sure they are heterosexuals, but they are friends with gay cats. In fact, one of them officiated over a gay marriage of two cats from the other side of the road. Since my cats are Caymanian cats they are allowed to officiate the celebration of love. She didn’t charge to officiate since it wasn’t going to be legal here anyway, but the hope is that one day Cayman will catch up with the developed world. #loveislove

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