Cruise pier plan for Cayman Brac

| 27/08/2018 | 62 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Brac cargo dock

(CNS): The government has plans to redevelop the dock on Cayman Brac into a port with a cruise pier to attract small ships and luxury yachts to the Sister Island, according to the newly published draft National Tourism Plan (NTP). The document talks about upgrading the existing cargo dock to relieve some of the cruise ship traffic concentrated on Grand Cayman and spread the economic benefit of cruise tourism. There is no clear indication in the plan of how it would be financed but recent speculation, yet to be confirmed by the ministry, is that the project could be part of the overall package for the George Town cruise proposal.

The problems of building up tourism in Cayman Brac are highlighted in the draft plan and government admits that despite funding Cayman Airways’ new fleet of 360B aircraft to increase airlift to the island, it has “seen slow traction in new investment in the island’s tourism industry”, especially room stock.

The tourism plan indicates that, like the Eastern Districts, Cayman Brac lacks its own “identity” and needs a destination management plan to bring tourism stakeholders together to promote the destination. The Department of Tourism also found that although local tourism leaders point to diving as the predominant recreational activity for visitors to the Brac, exit surveys reveal that the most popular attractions are the Bluff and its caves, tied with the Lighthouse, which stands at the end of the Bluff and overlooks the highest point in the Cayman Islands.

Cayman News Service

Dock at the Creek, Cayman Brac

The plan suggest there is room to exploit the tourism market and expand the room stock, which currently stands at just 246 compared to more than 6,000 on Grand Cayman. Cayman Brac Heritage House is also noted as a place that could provide a foundation for creating more cultural experiences and opportunities for visitors to interact with Caymanians and the local culture.

Meanwhile, as controversy and opposition mount surrounding government’s plans to press ahead with the cruise port in George Town, the tourism ministry splashed out on a full page advertisement in the Cayman Compass Monday to justify the project. It gave no new detail but pushed what many now say is a misguided justification for the project. The advert claimed again that the larger cruise ships are already passing the Cayman Islands by as the lines have stated they do not want to tender the Genesis class of ships and that the public-private partnership will also fund the redevelopment of the cargo port.

However, according to the NTP, Cayman attracts some 90% of the regional cruise market at present, with no indication that a decline is on the horizon. The plan also noted that the increase in cruise arrivals at the same time that the overnight sector is growing poses a threat to that much more lucrative side of the tourism industry.

See the National Tourism Plan in the CNS Library

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Category: Business, development, Local News, Tourism

Comments (62)

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  1. Greg Heifner says:

    As a diving tourist my family has been coming to the Brac for over 25 years. It is among my favorite places on Earth. The people and the diving are the best in the region and with the close access to Bloody Bay Wall at Littke Cayman, it is a destination that can’t be beat. Screw the big stores, I’ll take NIM Things and Tennisons friendship and stories over anything in Grand Cayman. The Brac needs to better promote the best diving location in close proximity to the USA. The cruise ships will just bring on the “Cozumel effect” and flood the island with sun burned tourists looking for fast food and night life.

  2. Bus Driver says:

    Been there, done that. Over the years there have been quite a few occasional cruise ship visits to the Brac, some large, some small.
    Remember the Melia Don Juan? That was a good idea that didn’t work, passengers only actually got ashore on three out of seven visits and then the shipping company gave up. It didn’t help that on the first visit the dive boat used as a tender broke down, ran aground and the tourists had to wade or swim ashore.
    The ones who come ashore from the sailing ships that now visit two or three times each year don’t spend any money and don’t take tours. Brackers have stopped setting up stalls at the landing place because it is half a day in the hot sun with nothing to show for it.

  3. Anonymous says:

    You get one cruise per year now you want to build a dock! Why not a very nice marina as many suggested. If you want these personal edifices use your own money to do.

  4. Ron Ebanks says:

    i agree that the Brac need to be started to get developed . The government should be able to do it with their eyes closed and from all the mishaps that was learned from the development Cayman . But I don’t know if we have that kind of loving and caring politicians that tried to remember those mishaps .

    Mr. Kirkconnell should know that he shouldn’t start to develop by putting money into cruise ship pier . What he should do is start developing from within the inside, with things for people to see and do . The Bracers can also start doing things like making their own stinray city and other attractions . But everyone has to put your brain in gear , and don’t leave it for the money man to do it for you . Keep him out , and let the Banks in , and don’t support them when they want to charge you Cayman Brac rates instead of the going borrowing rate .

  5. Anonymous says:

    While I do think that one of our Brac politicians is exceptionally greedy for $$$ and the Brac politician is exceptionally greedy for power/prestige – it is what it is. Thankfully, unlike years ago when they were fighting against one another, they now realize that if they work together something good might come out of all of it.

    So, unna Brac-ers need to give them a tiny bit of credit for actually trying to do something for the community.

    It is easy to sit here in front of the computer and bitch, moan, gripe and complain. Easy to find fault, make accusations and slander. Would be good if equal amount of time was spent on trying to come up with ideas/solutions/beneficial and positive stuff.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Total white elephant and a waste of public money. But when has that stopped anything regarding the Brac welfare state ?

  7. Stuart says:

    how about a marina instead of another dock. I know plenty folk who own boats here on grand that would run over and spend time and money in the brac if there was a safe marina with facilities.

    • Anonymous says:

      Stuart don’t you know that the lady southside planned for two marinas (one on the north coast and one of the south coast), the local quarry owner planned for another marina and the owner of the shut down hotel near the stink pond planned for another marina. As far as I know there are 4 marinas planned for Cayman Brac.

      But seems like the powers-to-be have kept any of them from becoming a reality. I have always thought that if Brac was to have a marina it would have been done a long time ago by those who had then and their ancestors have now the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

      Hopefully one of you CNS readers can enlighten me and update me on the progress of any/all of these marinas.

    • Anonymous says:

      Great idea.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Let us see the Outline Business Case approved by the Ministry for this Brac Port

    • Anonymous says:

      Outline Business Case – ha, ha, ha – you do realize who is the MLA for the Creek Dock area – enough said.

      Thank you 11:03AM for a good laugh.

  9. Anonymous says:

    We appear to be running short of infrastructure to build on the Brac. A rocket launch base for satalites and cruise missiles will probably be used more than a cruise pier so maybe we should build this first.

    • Brac attack says:

      9.34am How about a Formula 1 race course for the Brac firemen so they can really let fly (literally) in their fire engines.

  10. West Bay Premier says:

    Do we realize that putting a cruise ship pier in the Brac , is almost like putting the beds in your house before the house is built . What is it there for people to see and do to occupy their visit time ?

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you West Bay Premier for stating the obvious. If they land at the Creek Dock they can visit the bakery, thrift store and restaurant, turn around and go back to the dock. For the really adventurous who don’t mind spending a few dollars they can do a guided island tour.

      I suspect that local vendors will set up food stalls (keeping in mind that most all of the smaller cruise ships include all meals) and there may be locally made gifts to buy – with the only real unique items being some offered by NIM Things.

      Wish Moses Trump the very best in this endeavor, at least he is attempting to do something for the Brac (however crazy the vast majority may think).

  11. Anonymous says:

    A dock!? Oh No! Run for your lives!!!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Someone explain to me why they are so intent on destroying Grand Cayman with this new port, but obviously preserving the Brac’s environment?

  13. SSM345 says:

    I hope everyone’s ready for the news that LC getting one too. The U.K. legal system needs to revise their definition of “conflict of interest” and just put a photo of Moses in the next edition of law text books.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Finally Moses, a project that makes sense – do it!

    Ignore the naysayers.

  15. Anonymous says:

    if a cruise line dropped me on the brac …..i would never use them again…

  16. Anonymous says:

    yes because brac cruise industry is doing so so good!……zzzzzzzzzzz

  17. Anonymous says:

    I am an expat and been on the Brac since 2006. We like the feeling of relaxation and “getting away from the hustle and bustle” of Grand. I believe many other expats as well as Bracers appreciate the life style here and the local traditions. BUT … we do need more favorable and appropriate economic stimulus. We could have been a better place for Bracers and expats if CIG had done more to preserve the “room stock” we already had but could not maintain. The old Divi and Alexander are “blights” that could/should have been avoided.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Great news, time to try something different with Cayman Brac.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Pretty wild that another tourism plan is released for the Brac with not even a single mention of rock climbing. The island is home to world-class climbing with international visitors raving about the quality for years including features in multiple international magazines. Climbing in the Brac has been blossoming over the last few years with zero government support. It is time to step it up and not lose out on another opportunity like we did with freediving and Tanya Streeter.

    Can’t figure out an identity for Brac tourism? ADVENTURE. The bluff, caves, and diving are the most popular attractions and they are all adventure sports. And fortunately the same visitors that love adventure and nature also love the island’s heritage so it is completely in line with their objectives. We need to get the fundamental marketing strategy right before jumping into massive infrastructure projects. The same is true for Grand with their Disneyland mass tourism vs luxury exclusive destination dilemma.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Oh, wait, which retail company owns stores on the Brac? And now we are saying that the smaller, more exclusive ships can dock in the Brac, leaving how many of the highest quality cruisers to visit Grand Cayman, which becomes a centre only for the masses? This stinks more by the day.

  21. Anonymous says:

    They could build that one all the way to Miami…no need for cruise ships then!

  22. Anonymous says:

    You have people on here constantly bashing the Brac as a welfare state! This gives them the opportunity to boost their tourism product and stand on their own two feet for once and people still aren’t happy!

    • Burnard Tibbetts says:

      Most of todays generation know nothing of what George Town was like in the early days. On my trips there 70 odd years ago, George Town was more backward by far than Cayman Brac is right now. At that time, and for quite a few years thereafter, Cayman Brac had many more ships that Grand Cayman. In addition a Government Official made the remark that “Cayman Brac was a good milchcow for Grand Cayman”.
      Incidentally a number of the major businesses in Grand Cayman are or were owned and operated by Cayman Brac’ers. Of course Grand Cayman has gone through a period of prosperity that provided employment and attracted many Cayman Brac workers to Grand Cayman.
      After living a quiet life in Cayman Brac, my wife and I were not able to sleep some nights when people were butchering pigs and turtle near Ms. France’s guest-house where were staying.
      One of the first hotels in Grand Cayman was the “Pageant Beach Hotel,” which was built by my uncle, for his in-laws.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Good, what they need to do now is go one step further and build something like the cruise ship facility on Grand Turk there. It would create employment and generate income for the island.

  24. Anonymous says:

    We don’t need that pier either. Doesn’t governement have anything better to do?

    • SSM345 says:

      That’s the problem when our govt is a bunch of unqualified self centered twats that want to build monuments they can’t finish because they are a bunch of unqualified self centered twats. They should change their party names from PPM UDP and Coalition to Muppets Utd and their supporters should be banned from casting votes going forward.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I think this is a good idea.

    I object to the Grand Cayman Cruise Port because the cost/benefit is not there. This includes the environmental costs but most importantly that there are other infrastructure works that would cost less but result in more tourism benefit than building a dock that is not needed. (According to all of the Government’s own reports.) And we don’t have the money for a big dock int he first place.

    On the Brac the justification is different (even if the relative costs are not). There CIG investment into tourism infrastructure is needed to spur tourism development. (Also a proper Development Plan to guide that development, but that’s another issue.) Whereas airlift is there awaiting hotel rooms (chicken & egg) its not so with cruise tourism. With poor port facilities (a geographical reality; most places are not blessed with Grand Cayman’s natural GT Harbor and broad lee side) making tendering difficult a dock for small cruise ships should encourage them to consider adding Cayman Brac to their itinerary. (As a bonus the dock could be made to accommodate both small cruise ships, and ones with their own tender boats, so that like at Spotts the medium-sized cruise ships could hold offshore on thrusters and send their tenders in with tourists.) Once cruise ships start calling regularly there are a lot of ‘small investment’ business opportunities to cater to cruise tourists, as we have seen on Grand. (And, like a dock that can take both small cruise ships, and tenders from larger ships, once you have a small tourist operation you have the option to service stay-over tourists as well when there are more hotels/villas attracting more guests: chicken, egg, chicken.)

    What do I mean by ‘low cost cruise tourism business’? A nice minibus and you’re set for an island tour. A 20-30ft boat and a big bag of gear and you’re ready for snorkelers. A good minivan, a gear trailer, and a deal with a local dive shop for rental gear and any local dive-master is ready to take people shore diving, of which the Brac has many good sites. Would tourists from a small ‘adventure’ cruise ship pay to get in a minivan, tour part of the island, pick up their dive gear, dive, do lunch, more island tour, second dive, and back to the dock? I think so. And it starts with the Government investing in the tourism infrastructure: better dock/port facilities to attract small cruise ships.

    Cruise Ship Dock: not on Grand, yes on Brac.

  26. Ron Ebanks says:

    All I can believe now why they are thinking about building a cruise ship pier in the Brac , is because they see that it won’t happen in Cayman. So now they will build it in Brac and , then they can own the tenders to tender the people to Cayman . That is how people like them think , or get to spend more money on studies, with you know who .

  27. Anonymous says:

    The most popular attractions in the Brac are real and not some fake side show, let’s keep it that way!
    Meanwhile in Grand Cayman we have created a circus of jewellery shops fake attractions and fast USA style food which the big decision makers think tourists want. Apart from our unique, natural attractions this the same line up as as all other cruise ports. In the region.
    Grand Cayman’s natural element is essentially ruined and akin to an artificial reef aquarium complete with plastic ornaments. Some of our greedy politicians and big developers think this is what the Brac should be too, well I say leave well alone!

  28. Ron Ebanks says:

    Now you cruise ship pier Men, now I don’t know what to think about you .
    Get busy fixing the dump , and look closer into the Education system, and see how you can enhance the Tourism sector, there’s a lot wrong with everything there , that is ruining. the things .

  29. Cess Pita says:

    I think our politicians have gone stark raving bonkers, next on the agenda will be a cruise pier for Little Cayman and a whole bunch of second rate motels for both sister islands to attract stayover visitors,

    • Anonymous says:

      Being stark raving bonkers is seemingly the new standard for politicians globally. We are lucky we have so many.

  30. Anonymous says:

    we wait and see that!

  31. Anonymous says:

    Put in a proper road network to the eastern districts, and the “identity “ issue will be solved. Stop playing dirty politics with that issue. Build the damn thing, and people will see the eastern districts as a serious option.

    The current mule trail is dangerous, especially through Bodden Town.

  32. Anonymous says:

    People either travel to the Brac for diving or rock climbing (possibly). Otherwise there is nothing to do there. There is no real convenience on the Brac. Over the years they have pushed this notion that it is a place to relax and get away from it all. The fact is, not too many people want that. There is only so much of “doing nothing” one can take.

    I have been living in Vayman for over thirteen years. Been to the Brac once. That was enough. The people don’t want change over there (especially those that control everything), but yet they want economic success. Can’t have one without giving up the other.

    Will this port bring down the cost of doing business on the Brac? I’m willing to bet not.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Like I posted on the other article on the port, the Brac will be getting a new port. And, that port will nelly be handed over to the developer for any time. The cost for the Brac port will be recuperated from the GC port.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Good! The Brac actually needs this!

  35. Anonymous says:

    Purely scandalous. Spent a pile of money on questionable needed aircraft, now you want to put a cruise dock on an island of 2000 people? Moses and JuJu might get re-elected, but the rest of the PPM will pay.

    • Anonymous says:

      Moses Trump and the Queen of Watering Place do not need this project to get re-elected. Both of them will have their respective seats in their district for as long as they both want it – sort of like the Speaker in West Bay and the tall, bald head man from Bodden Town – am I right or am I right?

  36. Anonymous says:

    A cruise pier to attract small ships and luxury yachts is all that is needed in Grand Cayman as well! Build 6 slips for super yachts and call it a day! No one wants our beautiful island to be over run with Walmart shoppers on super cheap all inclusive cruises! Keep Cayman exclusive!!

    • S. C. says:

      Hello 10:49. The nerve. You think that GC is exclusive? It never was and never will be. You have problems with
      Over crowding
      Water and sewage
      Your dump
      Your oil storage mess
      Your schools
      Your culture
      Your roads are woefully not developed and you are stuck in the 50’s.
      You have a facade of grandeur while despising Brackers.
      You over there are the ones that have kept us backward and not voting for us to get adequate air service!!! Now GC is not any place that Brackers want.
      Some jobs are on GC and otherwise you are a ghetto!!!
      Go fix your problems and we on the Brac will fix ours. We are doing just fine.

      • Anonymous says:

        WOW! So I guess you’re a Walmart shopper. I didn’t mean for you to get so butt hurt. Please find yourself a suppository and relax.

  37. Anonymous says:


    Say it isn’t so!!!

  38. Anonymous says:

    Queue the people who think that Brac isn’t part of this country so they deserve no help in 3.. 2..

    No, seriously people. Please. The sister islands are part of this country, like it or not. Every time something like this comes up, you hear about welfare state, they don’t deserve it, etc. At least something is being done to try and help the situation!

    We can’t just cut the sister islands off because they don’t generate the same economic revenue as gcm.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Brac is in bad shape because the people that run the island and still think in that 1960’s pre-civil rights mentality. The Brac is segregated because of the core bigotry and corruption that is allowed to thrive.

      • Anonymous says:

        3 23? Do get a grip. So sorry that you are so angry. You need help badly.
        Pre civil rights? Why?
        Segregated? Really?
        There has been alot of inter marriage and Brackers have married several foreigners and thus bringing in new stock so to speak.
        Explain what you mean.
        It is a small place and it is what it is.

    • Anonymous says:

      See here 10:20. You are so right. Grand Cayman people have never been to the Brac and think that we are a Nowheresville because we do not have a Kimpton or Kentucky Fried Chicken.
      It has never occurred to their pea brains that tourists will love a drive on top of our Bluff with a clean slate of open ocean view at the Light House. Seeing lots of trees on the Brac instead of lots of traffic on GC might be a welcome change. Also not all tourists are Walmart shoppers. So what if they are. Every tourist spending money on the Brac is business that is good for the Brac economy. Congrats Moses and Juliana. There will be nay sayers if you handed out gold bars!!!
      Remember they are from GC and jealous of the Brac.

      • Anonymous says:

        well said!
        Why should each island be the same?
        Each of the 3 islands has it’s own environment.
        If everything in the world was the same do you know what a boring life we would all be living? come on grow up just leave the brac alone for once!
        we deserve something nice to.

    • Anonymous says:

      You all come to the brac sponging off of us to pay your low life habbits so dont judge. We the people of the brac has built grand cayman up from scratch!
      Take a look of the head people, look at the police Kurt Walton he is a bracker and he is doing us proud! Keep up the good work!
      I am proud to say i am a bracker!

      • Anonymous says:

        We are putting our hands together and saying yea you are right 9 20. Not only are we proud of Kurt Walton but we are proud of the whole line up of Brackers that run GC.
        Kurt Tibbetts, Stran Bodden, Scott Family, Ryan family, Tibbetts and on on on.
        Come on GC. We are brothers and every place has some welfare people.
        Can we just accept that nothing beats a trial but a failure. We are winners at the Brac and we think this is a great idea of improving our existing pier. It was built by Meisner Marine Co from Tampa, FL. It is a good job and the renovation and improved version could prove a windfall of good and extra business for Brackers.
        We live at West End and have seen a few small cruise ships come and go and look forward to more stopping by.
        It is OK GC. We will do just fine even if you keep trashing us and calling us names like Welfare State and all the other ones. Sticks and stones may break my bones. You know the rest of that rhyme.
        Thanks Mr. Kirkconnell and Mrs. OConnor for the ideas and your time.

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