More attractions needed for ships to stay longer

| 02/10/2019 | 110 Comments
Cayman News Service
Michael Bayley

(CNS): President and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Michael Bayley, told local tour operators on Monday that even when the cruise berthing facility is finished, ships will not stay in port longer than they are now unless there are more attractions in Cayman. During the presentation to tourism stakeholders, the cruise line boss worked hard at selling the controversial plan but also contradicted some of the claims made by government to justify the project.

Bayley represents one of several members of the Verdant Isle consortium, the bidder selected by government to build the increasingly controversial cruise berthing facilities and enhanced cargo dock. He is in the Cayman Islands this week with other international representatives to speak with stakeholders, supporters, government, the press, environmental activists and others opposing the project with the goal of drumming up support.

The group was the ‘last man standing’ in the bidding process, after the other two finalists that had been pre-qualified to bid turned out not to qualify. But the selection of Verdant Isle, which includes Royal Caribbean and Carnival Corporation, does not mean the project is set in stone yet. The success of a grassroots campaign to trigger a people-initiated referendum means that the voters of Cayman will have the chance to make the final decision rather than just the seven members of Cabinet.

And, significantly, government has not yet signed a deal with the group. Therefore, the details of the arrangements between government and the public purse with the potential port developers are not available for public scrutiny.

One of the issues raised by campaigners for the referendum has been the lack of real information about this project being public. But it appears that the meeting on Monday not only raised new contradictions with claims made by the government about why the project is so important, but it also left many questions unanswered.

Bayley said that while the cruise lines will aim to spread ship visits more evenly throughout the year, there are no guarantees that once here they will stay longer, despite past claims by the tourism ministry. The minister and his officials have said on a number of occasions that the ships will be here long enough to enable passengers to take two trips while in port, should they choose, rather than just one.

The cruise boss also cut the estimate of jobs created by the project from 900, as government has previously claimed, to 700 but was still unable to identify those jobs. However, Bayley said that Verdant Isle had plans to hold a job fair before the end of the year.

He nevertheless dodged queries about the relationships between the shipping lines and local operators with regard to their margins and the fact that they push to sell excursions on board with their prearranged partners, pushing out many smaller operators.

Meanwhile, the opposition has objected to the arrival of the members of the consortium, questioning their legal right to be here. The opposition members have accused the consortium of interference in the referendum, going as far as to suggest some members of the consortium could be falling foul of laws in the United States.

However, the company is legally registered in the Cayman Islands. CNS will be seeking to confirm today if, as has been suggested, it is registered on Cayman Brac and if the company is opening an office on that island.

Despite Verdant Isle being registered here, the opposition has made accusations about the arrival of the cruise executives specifically, and the ‘invitation only’ meetings. The politicians said the sole purpose of targeted, rather than open, meetings is to drum up support for the project just as the referendum campaign gets underway.

They said this was “deliberate meddling and interference in local political issues” and is the second time the cruise companies have come to Cayman to influence public opinion. The opposition pointed to the public meeting last year, where Carnival and Royal Caribbean, while still bidding on the project, sat with the minister and civil servants overseeing the procurement process, which they have said brought that process into dispute.

With no final contract signed, Opposition Leader Arden McLean said the current visit was “tantamount to political subversion”, though the consortium has said it is here to begin dialogue with people about the proposed plans. While there remain questions about the veracity of the information, the paucity of it and an array of other issues, there is no evidence that the consortium is breaking any laws.

Nevertheless, McLean said the “corporations need to understand they are required to stay out of local politics”, and specifically the peoples-initiated referendum. McLean called for a fair, open and transparent referendum process and condemned what he said was “voter manipulation”, adding that inviting overseas observers was the best course to ensure a fair vote.


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Comments (110)

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  1. anon says:

    As Juju would say we have a “world class” Aqua Park sitting right in front of where his cruise ships moor. Did Mr Bayley not see this 8th Wonder of the World when he arrived?.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why not open up a Wally World?

  3. Anonymous says:

    He meant a Luxury Casino with a Cabaret.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    This government is $O dumb, they would irreversibly screw-up our reefs, contaminate our water, potentially ruining SMB, AND forego up to $642,857.14 for each and every job that (maybe) stands to be created (and not all Caymanian positions). Is it possible they are really just this thick in the head, or is there more to this $$$$$tory?

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  5. Anonymous says:

    …’for the ships to stay longer’ ??? How is that possible when they have a schedule to keep to make the next port of call?
    Trust me on this one. More attractions will not keep the ships here longer. I can see that it would thin the herd and maybe each one would not be as overcrowded, but they will not be staying longer unless it is a special sailing.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    The votes are in, Strip Clubs it is!

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  7. Anonymous says:

    We would, but the pay portal is not a secure “https” form. You guys need to fix this easy stuff.

    CNS: This comment does not seem to be connected to the article. If it’s about TipBox, the site is SSL certified (https form). Click on the padlock icon next to the url to see. The https does not show up in Chrome. Don’t ask me why.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Lets create our own man made version of Dunns River Falls. We can use mount trashmore and pump salt water from the North Sound up there to create the waterfall. It’s about time we started to utilize trashmore!

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  9. Anonymous says:

    With all the pressure that the cruise lines apply to the region, has anyone given just a little push back on employment?

    How many ship captains or other officers onboard are from the region?

    How many executives or company directors are from the region?

    How many onboard employees are from the region.

    I am sure the people of Cayman, Jamaica, Haiti, DR, Mexico would benefit by having access to these jobs. Let alone scholarships and training.

    I think a good starting goal for negotiations for Cayman and other countries is that for each visit a vessel makes in Cayman it should have one Caymanian full time employee.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Are you sure you want Captains to be promoted just based on nationality or do you think that since they are responsible for up to 8000 lives per ship of guests and crew that the best talent is more important?

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    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t think you understand how this works. They’re not a local business you can hold to ransom and they have no reason to accept race-based employment requirements.

      Either they can come here with zero Caymanian staff, or they can sail right past us with zero Caymanian staff. Either way you’re not getting any free salaries out of them.

  10. Anonymous says:

    This road show needs to come to an end right now, these people have no right to interfere in the local politics of the Cayman Islands.

    Why have they come at the time when the country is going through the process of a Referendum that will determine the fate of this project, it shows lack of respect the consortium have for the registered voters of Cayman.

    The elected government have sat by and let all of this happen, folks if you didn’t know it before the UDP is back and in full force.

    2021 we must vote the whole unity team out, this referendum is their vote of no confidence as was the OMOV referendum for the last UDP administration.

    I still think after the port referendum we should organize a referendum petition that calls on the governor to dissolve the LA and call for a new election.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    How do I get on the pay roll for the ‘thumbs down’ group.

    Someone send the Russian contact info!!

    Please and thanks.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Those who are genuinely serious about Climate Change seem to be ominously silent on this matter as it relates to the cruise industry.
    These floating cities require a massive amount of fossil fuels just to sustain normal operations, in fact a person’s carbon footprint can increase by 8 times just by virtue of taking a cruise.
    Where are the “Gretas” of Cayman or are their voices silenced by the powerful forces that seem to put financial gain before the well-being of our planet?

    Cruise ships are incredibly polluting, so why are we supporting this industry? It seems that our values are for sale when it comes to choosing between fighting for what is right or personal financial gain.

    Perhaps our Minister for Environment can make a statement on this?

    https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2018/11/15/18096925/cruise-environment-pollution-crime

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    • Anonymous says:

      Most new ships are coming out LNG or hybrid and electric, so the whole industry is getting cleaner by the day.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Meanwhile, lawsuit filings around the world stemming from their negligent and routine dumping of biological sewage and trash. Burning equiv BTU in LNG fossil fuels is not much better, and most certainly not in the carbon offset column.

      • Anonymous says:

        Cleaner by the day? You are living in la-la land. The hybrids and electric ships are only the smaller versions and most of the LNG mega-cruisers are future projects. The rest still burn fuel oil – nasty, dirty stuff – and the older they get the worse the pollution gets.

    • Anonymous says:

      Cayman can completely refuse cruise ships and the industry will adapt. It won’t stop it. Either we get our share of gravy or miss it.

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  13. Kman says:

    Good riddance and go find another that had all your desired attractions and take Alden, Mac, Moses and all our other clowns with you. Leave us alone and we’re a top quality destination that should only cater to the Stayover Tourists and luxury cruises.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Carnival is interested in one thing making money for its shareholders. The request for more attractions demonstrates that the CEO and Carnival have no regard for the natural beauty of Cayman or the environment.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Day visitor tax like Venice should be proposed. That would be a 2nd attraction they need.

    We know how to vote

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  16. Elvis says:

    LA circus?

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Wait, I thought the whole reason for the piers was so that the ships would stay longer?? WTF…Alden and Moses, you reading this?

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Please consider supporting CPR in their efforts to educate the voting public before the referendum vote: http://www.cprcayman.com/Donate.php

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  19. Anonymous says:

    This comment will fall upon deaf ears but I must at least post for my own sanity. Please do not turn Cayman into a freak show for the cruise ship companies. I realize the government has already made the decision so a freak show it is but perhaps the referendum may slow this process down. The cruise ship companies build their own private tropical stops for their customers what they want from Cayman is a freak show. Come on Alden and Moses make Cayman a freak show go down in history for this accomplishment.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Here’s an idea…..why not transition Cayman to the “Monaco of the Caribbean”.

    Attract mega yachts, with people who do not desire cheap attractions to occupy them.

    Why on earth would anyone want to destroy the island to entertain thousands of cheap tourists who flock from the floating cattle cars?

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    • Anonymous says:

      I really need to know which 39 moronic, dumb f($&s gave thumbs down to this comment. Lord we got some real foo foos on this island.

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      • Anonymous says:

        They are called Kirkbots or trolls

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      • Anonymous says:

        We will never have a Harbour for any big boats. We don’t want casinos. We don’t want “more” look-at-me douche bags in Ferrari’s. In the Cayman Islands these are negatives not pluses.

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    • Make e says:

      Attracting mega yachts would be easy to do, and it would bring a wealth of benefits and new industries to Cayman. Many mega yachts are already registered with the Cayman ships registry (primarily for tax reasons), but they never visit the island. Why not add a stipulation that yachts registered in the Cayman Islands must visit at least once per year in order to maintain their registration status. Call it an annual inspection, or economic substance review or what ever. Then these mega ships would have to call on our shores, which would bring a boon of new business to the island.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    Mount Trashmore tours got the covered!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Excellent comment! innovation is a driver of economic growth! Why not to capitalize on the third world waste management in a developed country example. Sarcasm intended.

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  22. Anonymous says:

    I guess what we have on this 27×3 mile island isn’t enough…
    Pirate Caves ;0), Turtle Farm, 2 Dive w/Dolphins attractions, Crystal Caves (which is brilliant BTW), azure seas as clear as a swimming pool, Top Shelf diving (both shore and by boat), Snorkeling anywhere you drop your pale body into the sea, sugar powder sand beaches to experience, loads of sea toys… I am sure I am forgetting some.

    Shopping? Same jewelry shops (all chains) on every single stop they make..

    Really looking forward to some 5 star Disney level attractions! WHY????
    Let them go to the cruise lines private island to cater to that.
    Enough already.

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  23. Anonymous says:

    We should build a 2nd dolphin attraction and an ice bar.

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  24. No Thanks says:

    RC and Carnival will front these attractions for naive locals while the big stuff will be done in partnership with Dart including private beaches just like the model used other countries

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  25. Anonymous says:

    Facepalm. The LIVING CORAL REEFS are the main attraction. Some people will never get it.

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  26. Anonymous says:

    Make more water slides at the turtle farm. Infact, turn it into a theme park

    Then finally it would start to generate a profit.

    That lame water slide we have now, is just sad.

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  27. Anonymous says:

    And when our environment is destroyed these ships will be gone. Leaving us with a huge debt. Small high end ships, that are tendered ,are the way to go. Cayman is the number 1 destination in the Western Caribbean. Don’t let them fool you into thinking they will not come without piers. WE can choose what kind of visitor we have to our Islands. Quality over Quantity. Retail worldwide is dying. These piers will not save the shops in town. The high end tourist will spend more here if we can keep them attracted with our beautiful natural environment ,not some man made circus. We still have time to choose. #staywoke #vote

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    • Anonymous says:

      Your completely rite. Even the rep from Carnival had to agree after the meeting that the cruise lines will still come without a dock because Cayman is their top selling destination.

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      • Anonymous says:

        You fools with your thumbs down, have got to be Aldin worshippers!! Why in the name of God do you want this beautiful island to become overrun with tourist and all the gaudy foolishness they are proposing????? Get your thumbs out instead.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Best comment. For the love of Cayman please do the right thing people. Let’s keep Cayman a natural beautiful luxury destination with friendly Cayman Kind people. That’s what the high end cruise and stay over tourists want. Vote

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    • Anonymous says:

      AGREE!!!!!

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  28. Anonymous says:

    I listened to this group this morning on the Rooster with Woody.

    I must say, Woody knocked it out of the park but I was disappointed in the milquetoast commentary by the group.

    20 minutes to discuss a situation of this magnitude was ludicrous but I’m assuming it was by design.

    I hope they honour their promise to come back.

    I wasn’t sold at all today.

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    • alaw says:

      1:25 I cant understand why that group would go back on Rooster, the Host who is against the dock told them he don’t trust them.
      It will be no different than playing back a tape over and over
      What could the possible outcome be!

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      • Anonymous says:

        Isn’t their job to make Woody trust them?

        If they don’t go back on the Rooster, it will be like them laying down their knives because they realized that they are in a gun fight.

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  29. Anonymous says:

    Simply put the ships CANNOT stay any longer! They are operating to a tight schedule to get back to their home port to start another cycle.

    So no matter how many attractions you have it will just not happen.

    The answer is a no-brainer. NO TO THE PORT EXPANSION AS IS BEING PROPOSED.

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  30. Anonymous says:

    no need to fear, I’m sure the cruise industry will throw some money in to build all the attractions we need (and in the process collect all the revenue it generates as well)

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  31. Anonymous says:

    I smell casino!

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  32. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if the consortium members have business visitors permits, or are simply ignoring those rules as well.

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  33. Anonymous says:

    How about this: Let’s destroy the natural environment–the greatest tourists attraction Grand Cayman can offer by far–in order to build crappy attractions that only stupid and/or lower-income tourists will want to see.

    #lame

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  34. Anonymous says:

    Where are we going to build all of these attractions? And what of the mandate to protect the little bit of natural environment we have left? I certainly will be voting “no” to the berthing facility. Not everything should be put up for sale. Pretty soon, we’ll all be bending over for sale too…

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  35. Anonymous says:

    Well this blows a hole in the last justification we’ve had for the piers:

    1) Passengers will be wealthier – no, smaller ships get the luxury market now
    2) We will get business we are currently losing because the biggest ships won’t tender – no we won’t, only one ship that big currently bypasses us, which is not worth accommodating
    3) Passenger numbers will increase – no they won’t because the number and size of ships coming is not going to change (see 2)
    4) Ships will stay in the harbour for longer, increasing revenue for many stakeholders – no, because RC has just said they won’t
    5) Spend will increase – no (see 1, 2, 3 and 4)

    Anyone else like to continue the list?

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  36. Anonymous says:

    So…even the crusie industry is saying that they won’t stay at the port…let’s see what happens next…

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  37. Unison says:

    If Government goes along with the Cruise industry for the Almighty Dollar, will it benefit everyone, including small businesses deep in town away from the dock ??? Where will the dollars go ?

    * Note: When the money makers talk about providing more attractions, they are talking about our Government spending more money to create more ARTIFICIAL MAN-MADE ATTRACTIONS! Think about that. The big shots are not talking about preserving the NATURAL attractions and beauties of our country. Its all about appealing to folks sensory desires with artificial attractions for the ALMIGHTY DOLLAR!

    But at what cost to the Cayman Islands when the cost of doing business and cost of living are already high ?

    I think tourist want to see an island with happy and friendly people, NOT AN ENTERTAINMENT THEME PARK !

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  38. Anonymous says:

    Yup that’s exactly who we should listen to! Please.

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  39. Anonymous says:

    We should build a turtle shaped ice rink and a space needle hot air ballon bar!

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  40. Anonymous says:

    The whole idea of building the cruise berthing is to encourage growth in our economy. Of course more attractions will be needed. This means more business opportunities for Caymanians, Caymanian entrepreneurs, more employment and more tourists for tours.

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    • Anonymous says:

      This will only result in more work permit applications and wp revenue for the government.

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      • Anonymous says:

        False, there are way more Caymanians employed in cruise related businesses than in hotels. Not one restaurant in 7 Mile Beach has majority Caymanian waiters or chefs.

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        • Anonymous says:

          That’s cause caymanians think they are above the service industry.
          I’m glad to see a younger generation of Caymanian taking an interest at the Kimpton!

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          • Anonymous says:

            Dammmm lie.

            Caymanians giving good service to visitors was the foundation of our tourism industry.

            Stop ya lieing!

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            • BeaumontZodecloun says:

              It’s not a lie. I was happily surprised to see it myself. Some Brackers there also.

            • Anonymous says:

              Service was bad back in the 70’s. No understanding of pleasing the customer.

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            • Anonymous says:

              Was, that’s the word you are looking for. There is plenty of work in the hotels and restaurants and the money can be good but no one wants to work on Sunday and it was raining so I couldn’t come to work…..
              that’s the truth

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        • Anonymous says:

          The reason for no majority Caymanians as waiters and chefs is Caymanian entitlement.

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    • nauticalone says:

      And more congestion / traffic! And more stress on our limited resources and limited attractions. Stingray City being the most popular is already very over crowded most days.

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    • Anonymous says:

      11:12 And where are all these Caymanians coming from? In reality it’s going to be businesses owned and managed by the cruise lines through front companies and staffed by ex-pats. That’s what they’ve done everywhere else.

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    • Anonymous says:

      is this a government bot?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Let’s hear your brilliant artificial attraction ideas!

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    • Anonymous says:

      you forgot more traffic

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    • Anonymous says:

      I’ve seen those “entrepreneurs” in action when the tenders come in. $25 for a bus ride to the beach? We don’t need any more of those and I don’t think those are the kids of “attractions” the cruise lines mean!

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    • Anonymous says:

      If there was demand for new attractions these would exist already given the past 7 years of growth in cruise arrivals. Cruise lines have been telling Cayman’s public and private sector for nearly twenty years to diversify the market. It hasn’t happened yet. Suggests investors don’t see return worth taking the risk on a new attraction.

      I wonder if this is the cue for CIG to pour tens of millions into another Turtle Farm?

      Of just give handouts to constituents to start businesses that will inevitably fail?

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    • Anonymous says:

      jeeesh, help me …what has always been an underlying problem for vendors contracted to cruise lines ‘ looking to create more business opportunities’ and more ‘local entrepreneurs’ ? – everyone jumps on the wagon without first doing a cost of business evaluation, they underbid those already providing services then claim non-sustainability and the circus starts right back up again with CCL & RCCL dictating the evenings events at ‘The Big Ring’, – remind me who benefits again…?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Wrong. Carnival and RC-owned and operated upland with their own imported subservient employees – already happening!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Any Caymanian with a good, novel, business idea has enough tourism now to get a cut of the pie. If you can’t get your cut out of 2 million, an extra 1/6 of that isn’t going to make a jot of difference. The good businesses will still out-compete you.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Be interesting to find out exactly what he means by, ‘unless there are more attractions in Cayman,’ because it sounds rather like the old carrot and stick approach.

    All the newer cruise ships are pretty much self-sufficient floating resorts so it’s hard to figure out what we could offer here that the passengers aren’t already enjoying onboard. My bet is this is a thinly disguised ploy for the cruise lines to get a toe-hold on Grand Cayman and start setting up, as a lot of people have predicted would happen, their own cruise-related businesses.

    When it comes to cruise lines their business policy is like the words of that song by Queen, ‘I want it all, I want it all and I want it now!’

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    • Anonymous says:

      A well delivered comment. The cruise lines have already established a water-sports company here run by locals , doing away with competition & cutting the legs off of a well established other local company. One only has to look a short distance to Jamaica , to see how the cruise lines treat ports that have spent considerably on berthing facilities. Jamaica has ten times the attractions shore-side , over Grand Cayman. But those attractions are not owned by cruise companies. The attractions Jamaica has , have to do with the physical attributes & beauty of the island , not something that needs to be built & titled. Grand Caymans equals are the beach , stingrays , snorkelling & boating . End of attractions. Duty free can be gained anywhere & not special to here , cant use duty free as an ‘ Attraction ‘.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yup. Now we’re all just waiting for the hammer to fall.

  42. Anonymous says:

    So the ships can stay longer and the passengers can enjoy being stuck on buses which are stuck in evening rush hour traffic trying to get back to the ships. Sounds perfect

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