New luxury cruise ship visits Cayman on maiden voyage

| 14/12/2018 | 51 Comments
Cayman News Service

Celebrity Edge

(CNS): The brand new luxury cruise ship, the Celebrity Edge, called into Grand Cayman on Friday on its maiden voyage. This new boutique-style cruise ship owned by Royal Caribbean carries less than 3,000 passengers, and its visit today calls into question the idea that the future of cruising in the region will be focused on mega-class ships that do not tender. The Celebrity Edge is being promoted on the basis of its unique stylish design, in particular the Infinite Verandas, which are floor to ceiling windows that “take your whole room right to the water’s edge, giving you open air access to the sea whenever you wish”, according to the ship’s website.

The ship is a luxury vessel catering to high-end rather than the mass market, and it will be sailing the eastern and western Caribbean routes throughout the winter season until it is relocated to Europe in the summer. It is scheduled to continue calling on Cayman at least twice per month until its seasonal diversion before it returns again next December.

The boutique ship is one of four in the series of new luxury mid-size cruise ships. It will be joined by a sister ship, Celebrity Apex, in 2020 with two more Edge classes setting sail in 2021 and 2022.

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Comments (51)

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  1. Rum do says:

    It is absolutely vital to our economy that we increase our sales of rum cakes, this is paramount. Forget education, public health, sports facilities, environmentl projects, etc,, just get the rum and rum cakes off the shelves.

  2. Anonymous says:

    All of the planned Virgin ships are high-end floating boutique hotels of similar capacity, but our Minister of Tourism is preoccupied with appeasing Carnival and Royal Caribbean. No mention of NCL, or any of the other significant shore-spending luxury brands, like Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn, Viking, Crystal, Azamara, Silversea, Oceana, etc. How much evidence of collusion is necessary to initiate a corruption investigation?

    • Anonymous says:

      There is nothing to do or see for the high-end floating boutique hotels passengers. Cayman attractions are for the mass, low end visitors.

  3. Wes van der Bol says:

    Government fees are paid by the amount of people on the passenger list, weather or not they get off the ship.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree, but the media and now more recently a politician pandering to his family’s businesses have been spinning these stats to suit their own agenda. Why not publish the real stats related to how many actually come ashore and how much they spend?

      • land crab says:

        The Tourism Dept claim fanciful statistics for passenger onshore spending. The only way to get meaningful information is to conduct exit polls. I have never seen this happen, it is too hot for our tourism officials to stand in the sun asking questions.

      • Anonymous says:

        Ouch. I hope you reading these comments, Moses…

    • Anonymous says:

      So they don’t get paid on a rainy day?

    • Anonymous says:

      Up until a couple weeks ago, the CI Port published the fees for arriving passengers…it was around $2.55 per passenger, but much of that is paid back out to tender operators via subsidized arrival deals with liners. In a fantasy world, you could add 20 cruise ships a day, each at 6000 passengers and not make any significant headway on CIG revenue. Mckeeva made the subsidy deal years ago.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I notice with great interest that the ship has a cantilevered ‘magic carpet’ off the side that fills a number of purposes, one of which is for use with tendering it’s passengers and staff.

    • alaw says:

      Simple, when you don’t own a car, you get a taxi
      when their is no dock, you use a tender or, dinghy!

  5. South Sounder says:

    Wow amazing! Hope the Port Authority/Government did an official reception to mark the occasion and encourage more of these types of ships/customers.

  6. Democracy for Cayman says:

    Exactly! Our family took a European cruise this summer. We specifically chose a high end luxury cruise liner and guess what- the entire route was tendered. This not only enhanced the experience but landed us directly into ports that could not accommodate piers meaning we avoided the mass tourism class ships. Our cruise was min. $12K per head and we ate on shore every day in delightful restaurants and bought lots of authentic artifacts to bring home- it was a WIN WIN for the cruise lines and the towns we visited.

    We do not have the land mass here for mass tourism- we are scratching our heads and thinking of ways to keep more passengers occupied, like destroying Barkers area. This is not the way forward for Cayman.

    I say stick with our stayover tourist, focus on our high end cruise passengers to enhance our stay over tourism product. With less people we can look at pedestrianising areas for both local communities as well as tourists, replace cheap attractions with better attractions which can charge more for a quality experience. Government needs to sponsor and regulate entreprenueral business opportunities for Caymanians like the gentlemen who tried his at Smith Barcadere- but not on community beaches, how about leasing private beaches? Give people the ‘rich and famous’ authentic Cayman experience they think they are coming here for and not the Miami beach improvisation. Provide retirement jobs for our elderly Caymanians as country ambassadors for smaller groups.

    Improve the docking facility, roll out royal blue carpets, local food refreshment areas, shade cover, local musicians like we have at the airport, double the head tax for better quality. Keep the numbers at Stingray City and the road traffic down- sustainable.

    Rebrand and reinvent the Turtle Farm (that needs shade too). Acquire more public land within the adjoining communities and have green open spaces/parks like Botanic Park – Camana Bay may be a village but is it really green- the entire village is paved? Don’t just focus on beaches, enhance our flora and fauna.

    There needs to be an assessment done asap to determine what Cayman’s maximum (and comfortable) capacity is for this island- I think you will find there is a reason this was not done in the EIA and why we are rushing to build roads.

    Does the current plan really make much sense? Destroying our harbour and coral reefs to do what for this island? If you are in any doubt- do your research, talk to what others in your community think.

    There is so much that can be done to keep these Islands as the Caribbean Pearl- don’t let it be robbed from the people- we cannot be that stupid?

    • Anonymous says:

      8:24 Well said.
      I would add Free WiFi on Tenders and at Points of Interests including Local Markets, Public Beaches and the like.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree completely. Too bad those in charge simply do not care. Must have made some fantastic side deals for themselves. Large number of people against port, no response but lies and misinformation. Lots of misinformation. People turn out against Barkers development, no response from even the West Bay representatives. Allow hotels/condos to take beach and beach access that does not belong to them, the feeblest of a response. Boat show in Monaco – all aboard.

      I would say let them hear it when you see them, but they seem to be avoiding us a little more lately, especially the few that only go out with bodyguards.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes they are. Taking any excuse to get off island and holding few events. They know they’re up to something, and they know that we know.

    • Anonymous says:

      Great ideas. But wondering where these “private beaches” are that you speak of? My understanding is that all beaches in Cayman are public.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nice. But what you are proposing to do with the Dump? Rich&famous&dump don’t usually go together.

    • David says:

      8 24….typical snob. Most people could care less about your island. It is ok but so many more choices out there.
      You discriminate against the budget customers. How do you know they will not spend as much on your island as the up scale cruise ship folks you swoon about?

      • Anonymous says:

        This comment is sooo funny. “…budget customers. How do you know they will not spend as much on your island as the up scale cruise ship folks”. Isn’t that rather self-explanatory in your own sentence?

      • Anonymous says:

        Because they don’t. Plain and simple. None of them spend much to be honest.

      • SSM345 says:

        David……..have you ever seen a cruise ship in real life let alone the masses that they bring? Ever worked in tourism on a tiny island the size of a small village? Ever experienced Carnival clientele? Did you know that cruise tourists are budget travelers; that is why they get to go to 4-5 places in a week? Clearly you know that they sign up for all activities on the ship before they reach each port? You know the ship charges extortionate rates and keep 80%? And apparently these “sangwich eatas” then have money too spend buying the same shit they find at every single port they visit….

    • a skilpot says:

      Well put! Thank you! There are so many that see the point as you do, why can not our Government? Why? Why? Why? Do we keep on expanding, instead of improving?

    • Anonymous says:

      We need to plan and prepare our home like we are expecting company. Pick up the dirty docks and fluff the pillows. To move 2mln people in and out every year, we should have performance expectations and regular audits of the visitor experience we can control! Eg. There shouldn’t be a 3 foot wide stroller sidewalk bottle-neck mere feet from the exit at Royal Watler, or telephone poles sprouting from the center of sidewalks on major thoroughfares, no shade for thousands, etc. Persistent dumb unthoughtful details are what chip away at the product. We carry on like it doesn’t matter!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Exactly the sort of cruise business dim wit Moses should courting.
    Not the burger and chips brigade

  8. Anonymous says:

    Luxury or not it is still a death trap.

    Air quality on cruise ship deck ‘worse than world’s most polluted cities’, investigation finds
    ‘Each day a cruise ship emits as much particulate matter as a million cars’ “

  9. Anonymous says:

    More and more evidence and testimonials are featuring the negative reviews relating to the megaships.

    Smaller niche vessels are what the more discerning tourists prefer..and those are the actual spenders on what we offer.

    – Who

    #signthepetition #section70

    • Anonymous says:

      The ppm has put me in a position where I agree with Who. I driving to West Bay and look for ice.

      • Anonymous says:

        I hoped more commenters would eventually come around to recognize that Who is a stand up human being, proud of his country and heritage, and wants what he sees as best for his home.
        If you were ever going into battle, you want a Who by your side- he’s got your back.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Look carefully at the picture above. Notice the red hoistway on Edge’s starboard side. That is a moveable platform that doubles as a verandah, entertainment venue, lounge or, when it is deployed at its lowest Deck 2 position, a loading deck for tenders.

    This ship has its own loading deck for tenders. Three tenders at least can tie up alongside, allowing for efficient loading and unloading of passengers for shore excursions.

    Kinda blows a hole in the perceived need for Cayman to build berthing jetties when the new boats carry their own!

    • Anonymous says:

      when you don’t have your mama
      you use your Grandma

    • Anonymous says:

      So you’re saying one ship that has a movable platform is the reason to continue using the tenders? Small ships are like small planes when talking about tourism. We need more customers. We need more tourism related jobs. Can any of the anti-port group tell the rest of Cayman how many school leavers will be working in tourism, construction, Diving, public bus drivers, or any fantasy filled jobs? Will they then all be joining university or college courses? Obviously Gov’t has more jobs to offer in Immigration, Customs, Police? Don’t we have police and other Government civil servants working in the Taxi, Bus operators because it’s not enough money?
      People who want smaller niche vessels are looking at sceneries like Alaska or going to Galapagos to look at animals only found there. What are we going to show these smaller vessels? What? Barkers turtle grass?
      When Columbus came here for the Spanish crown he said, “place a Spanish flag, this is for Spain”. When the Spanish and English war started and England sent soldiers to Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Our ancestors saw no battle in the Cayman Islands. Why? There was nothing here beside Turtles, coconuts and lots of mosquitoes. Jamaica was different, good soil and plenty of rain.

      • Anonymous says:

        We don’t need ‘more’ customers, we need ‘right’ customers and to get more by destroying the very things that Cayman tourism is built on – waters, reefs, diving, views etc is rather self-defeating!

  11. Anonymous says:

    5 31
    Excuse me but the Minister of Tourism is trying to help Cayman by having a dock built.
    Every person getting off ship means a fee for Government. More people will get off the ship if there is a dock. With the tenders only a small percentage of people that call on an island that has no dock will get off.
    Cayman should build a dock and upgrade the waterfront as soon as possible.
    If the George Town area is too environmentally fragile, another area should be chosen for a dock.
    You are all being too hard on the Minister of Tourism and thinking that the dock will be a mistake. Cayman is being brought into the 21st Century with upgrades so build the dock now.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry I think you are wrong in your comments.

      – Every booked passenger on a cruise, whether they get off or not, earns a head tax by government.

      – According to the tourism report, Cayman has a +90% disembarkment ratio with tendering. Customers also stay on shore longer as lining up to go back to the ship inbetween tours is not as easy as walking back to the ship.

      – The tourism minister could research other locations for the piers from previous governments but he has confirmed he will not be doing this as he is guided by the current administration mandate. Is that the right decision?

      – The dock build process does not include any waterfront upgrades according to the bid design that was aired to the public. Cruiselines will pay for their own pier but they are not going to pay to build our infrastructure so that money has to be found elsewhere. Where will the money come for that and is this what we really should spend money on before training schools, healthcare, unemployment, elderly, mental health, garbage etc.

      We need transparency, as well as a clear finance plan, to confirm we can afford this project and are not going to kill our golden goose. Why not research all optioms and discuss those with the public? Have you heard our Finance Minister utter even a word on the pricing for this?

    • Anonymous says:

      You shut up ,you don’t have a clue what’s going on ..ppm smoke pan.

    • Anonymous says:

      Total cruise ship arrival fees last year (best ever) were about $3-4mln. Less than what this regime spends on pre-Christmas vote-buying and turkeys every year. They presume that drawing more of the discount ships stuffed with >6000 passengers will sustain the high-end experiences and luxury goods their favoured over-staffed businesses (with non-Caymanian permit holders) are peddling. It is a deeply flawed business assumption that we ALL need to awaken to. The luxury order book, looking out as far as you want to see, is for more of these small boutique capacity vessels.

  12. Anonymous says:

    The problem with small ships is you need to downsize all your businesses. That would mean negative downward growth. If that’s what you are trying to say is the future then let us not build new schools, new roads, larger airport, more hotels, more restaurants, etc. What about the new laws. Which definitely are going to grow the population to 100,000 people or more? Are we still in the past? Do people really think we don’t need a more massive cargo dock? Are you all driving through Cayman with your eyes shut? Do we still not believe it will be built? Then move to the Brac or Little Cayman.

    • Quality no quantity. says:

      Less is more. Always made more sales when fewer ships (no more then 4) where in town. And not mega ships. Problem now too many t–shirt stores and the quality of jewelry is at it’s worst.

    • Cathy church says:

      Did you know that the new port docks will hold only FOUR ships at a time while currently over six or seven at a time can stop in Cayman. And there will rarely be two bigger ships a week because most of the new boats brings built are still the small ones so we quite possibly could get fewer ships.

      Besides, most tourists love the boat ride across the beautiful blue water. Is it worth losing our Harbour for no good reason but the mistaken belief that our ugly congested Harbour will get us more money??

      The new port will not be worth the massive debt. And who collects the head-tax when these tourists step onto a dock paid for by someone else— NOT Cayman. And now we will not collect the anchor fees either. The dock fees will go back to paying for the dock instead of paying the Caymanian tender drivers and enriching the Cayman treasury. This is not a sound investment when you consider the losses as well as any small gains.

      So watch what you wish for, Anonymous, 8:10. Years of congestion downtown, more crowded beaches discouraging our lucrative stayover guests, etc. etc. etc. I hope that you approve your own opinions enough to actually sign your name so you can defend your ideas openly.

      • Anonymous says:

        Don’t waste your time Cathy, Anony 8:10 won’t because they are sheeple who believe all that is fed to them. They tow the party line wholeheartedly and without question and you’d be better off arguing with a wood post than people like that.

    • Anonymous says:

      That would mean Master Dart and his water taxis won’t be needed. Now that is not acceptable!

    • Anonymous says:

      Previous previous Government – plan for cargo port expansion. Must Have! Turn on lights, no more need for expansion.
      Previous Government – plan for tour port expansion. Cargo port expansion excluded from plan.
      Current Government – Cargo port needs expanding. To justify new cruise dock. But we won’t show you any plans for it (building plans, business plans, etc.). And ignore the plans we commissioned which said the best thing we could spend our money on was improving the landside tourism product.

      So, why do you think we need a massive cargo dock? What plans have you seen that the rest of us haven’t?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Take that, Mister Minister of Tourism!!! This is what we should be catering to and not the masses! Get your heads out of your ‘you know where’ and think sensibly, for God’ s sake!

    • Anonymous says:

      Celebrity have other Luxury cruise ships coming to Cayman, Silhouette, and Equinox. The Royal Caribbean ships also cater to high end tourist as well as NCL and Princess cruise lines. In fact the majority of cruise ship visitors are high end visitors. Most people do not know the quality visitors coming to the islands by cruise ships.

      • Anonymous says:

        So how can you tell they are high end visitors? Are they the ones wearing the Hard Rock Cancun or Atlanta 96 T shirts? Lots of them.

        • Anonymous says:

          Anonymous 7.45 am 16/12. You can tell high end visitors by the ship they are on.

          • Anonymous says:

            2:01 The Oasis was filled with Walmart-type passengers on the journey I took with them. We were advised on board to not shop on Grand Cayman because other Ports of Call would be less expensive.
            The Internet is the way to go for Rolex Watches, Leathergoods and the like. The advise suggested window shopping to price for comparisons if looking to purchase ‘big’ items.

            • Anonymous says:

              They know that tourists have a budget for their overall vacation and one big purchase on a stop might mean no more off-plan meals or on-ship gambling or expensive excursions for those guests. It’s in their interest to get passengers to hoard their money. So the cruise lines are talking out of both sides of their mouths. We will not benefit at all.

          • Anonymous says:

            2:01 No you cannot tell by the ship they are on.

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