CDC extends ban on cruise ships

| 17/07/2020 | 78 Comments
Cayman News Service
Cruise ship in George Town Harbour

(CNS): The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States has extended the ‘no sail order’ on cruise ships as a result of the continuing global spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The original order banning ships from the seas was imposed in March and has been extended for the second time until 30 September. The CDC said that as of 10 July, almost 3,000 cases of COVID-19 or COVID-like illness have been recorded on cruise ships, including 34 deaths.

The CDC said its data revealed 99 different outbreaks on 123 ships, which the experts said meant that 80% of ships within the US jurisdiction have been impacted by the pandemic. Currently, nine have ongoing virus outbreaks on board and much more needs to be done before passengers can return, the CDC said in a press release Thursday.

“On cruise ships, passengers and crew share spaces that are more crowded than most urban settings,” the CDC noted, as it justified the continued ban on ships that can carry 250 passengers or more.

“Even when only essential crew are on board, ongoing spread of COVID-19 still occurs. If unrestricted cruise ship passenger operations were permitted to resume, passengers and crew on board would be at increased risk of COVID-19 infection and those that work or travel on cruise ships would place substantial unnecessary risk on healthcare workers, port personnel and federal partners and the communities they return to.”

While the industry body, the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), has agreed to continue suspending passenger operations voluntarily, the CDC said it was extended the ‘no sail order’ to ensure that no ships outside the association set sail with any passengers before the end of September.

Cruise ships played a significant role in spreading the virus around the world. The cruise companies already had a poor reputation for the way other infectious diseases and food poisoning outbreaks have been handled.

In recent years the cruise companies also had to deal with negative publicity swirling round the industry regarding the exploitation of workers and an appalling environmental record, as well as a backlash from the communities in many ports of call.

Here in the Cayman islands, officials have stated that it is unlikely that ships will be allowed to call here again until well into next year. Premier Alden McLaughlin has stated that the proposed cruise berthing project in George Town in partnership with two major cruise lines is “dead” and is no longer on his government’s agenda. However, he has said on a number of occasions that whether Cayman remains in the cruise business or not will be a major issue for future governments to decide.

But with the industry facing so many problems in the fallout of the virus, if it makes it through these stormy waters, cruising may emerge in a very different shape.

See the no sail order here.


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Category: Business, Health, health and safety, Tourism

Comments (78)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The cruise ship industry gave us nothing? The Government just paid out 1.6 million CID in a stimulus to Caymanians of CI$1000 this month. I’m sure many of you think that’s all the money they NEED, but I can assure you it is not. You also have the number of people joining NAU from Cruise ship tourism. How much are they paying them for food, water, electricity, and medical insurance?
    Before the Pandemic people in the Cruise ship tourist business made a minimum of US$3-4000 per month not including Boat companies. So where are 1600 people going to be absorbed? What should we pay for them? $6 per hour? What about all those mortgages for houses and Apts? The minimum wage has to go up to meet the cost of living $2400 single $3000 married with children.

    • Anonymous says:

      Most of the people employed by cruise tourism can be absorbed back into their home countries. The locals can get jobs in public transport, stay over tourism, government service, education, services, and thousands of other foreign nationals currently taking positions that Caymanians can and should be filling, can also be reabsorbed into their native countries.

      Cruise tourism is dead – gone – for at least a year no matter what policy or decision the government makes.

      Brace and conform to that reality. The unfairness and economic consequences for many are sadly irrelevant. We cannot change it even if we wanted to – and some of us do not.

      • Anonymous says:

        50 years ago we thrived WITHOUT cruise ships…stand strong CAYMAN do not be political sheep!

        Good-bye political-pocket greed, good bye cruise ships, HELLO Cayman again.

        A true stay-over Cayman Kind experience. No more walmart cruise passengers, welcome back to our pristine shores

  2. Anonymous says:

    As of July 16, all USA hospital data, relating to COVID-19, is to bypass the formal CDC data collection channels and go straight to the White House so they can manage and (re)interpret all Covid communications. Wish it was a joke.

    • StopTheCrime says:

      Trump is an absolute joke. This administration’s leadership failures will be studied for generations.

      • Anonymous says:

        Please provide examples of said failures. #Trump2020 #MAGA #4moreyears #45

      • Anonymous says:

        I guess you’d say Obama was a huge success? All he accomplished in 8 years was allowing men to use women’s restrooms. You must be so proud.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Let a limited number of cruise ships pay you to have gambling while in port. Keeps some of the cruisers on board and money for CIG. Win win. Some ships might even stay overnight to the benefit of your restaurants and bars.

  4. Educated urban planner says:

    Cruise ships do not dump sewage into the oceans. It is taken to Miami, discharged and treated properly before it is discharged on land inland in Florida. Grand Cayman, where are your hotels dumping their sewage? What of all of your residential septic tanks. You are all not sophisticated about your planning and you all will suffer for your arrogance.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s not just sewage that is the problem – plastics, oil etc …. btw Carnival was fined $20 million for illegally dumping waste in 2019. Cayman already has a number of waste disposal issues, we do not need another being added to the list.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dear Educated urban planner: I stopped reading your drivel after reading the first two sentences. WHERE do you find such bullshit??? I worked on the water for over thirty years, and we NEVER discharged our sewage on land!

    • Anonymous says:

      @ 6.25 There speaks someone who has never walked along SMB or been at Consuelo’s Beach. The amount of shit washed up there is incredible. Plastic, syringes, flipflops, polyfoam…etc…etc…Clown.

    • Anonymous says:

      Savvy enough to use Google and review the regular indictment documents and the guilty criminal convictions. In 2016, Carnival Corporation and its Princess subsidiary agreed to pay a criminal penalty of $20 million for environmental violations such as dumping plastic waste into the ocean. Princess Cruise Lines has already paid $40 million over other deliberate acts of pollution. At least 87 ships named in other indictments. In early 2020, Carnival was at it again, charged with dumping 5700 gallons of grey water into Port Canaveral, just feet from this so-called pump-out discharge area you are so fond of. The Clean Water Act prohibits the dumping of untreated or inadequately decontaminated grey and black water within 3 miles of USA coast. Despite having paid out hundreds of millions in fines over recent past, they couldn’t even bother to comply with the simplest of US regs in 2020. They have also been found guilty of falsifying records, meddling in investigations, and interfering in court supervision. Learn up, Mr Sophisticated:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruise_ship_pollution_in_the_United_States

    • Hubert says:

      6:25, You do not know what you are talking about. Carnival admitted guilt to dumping last year to the American Environmental Compliance Agency and paid a $40 million fine. Then a number of months later they were caught again dumping.

      I can only assume you have stocks in Carnival because why else would anyone want to lie about basic known facts about cruise ship dumping sewage at sea.

  5. Lynn Drew says:

    Cayman now has an opportunity to build a better quality of life for all residents and stay over tourists. Remember the lovely days of The Crow’s Nest, Holiday Inn (the old one)! and no crowded harbour on cruise days! Look at islands like Dominica, Anguilla, eco tourism is the way to go. Quality resorts, quality diving. Get rid of the dolphins in prisons, make more places like Botanic Park, more hiking trails. Get rid of the tatty T shirt shops, beach vendors, and you will find the people who used to come to Cayman year in year out will return. I worked in tourist industry (hotel) for 30 years. I am now retired and living in UK as I can’t afford to retire in Cayman. Looking at Cayman now is like watching someone you love die of a terminal disease. It breaks my heart to see all the development. Maybe it is too late, but please please try to get the quality of life back. This is maybe a gift of a last chance to change the way the island is going. Ex.PR.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree totally. I also remember Crows Nest and the old Holiday Inn and they were good and very different times. The current proposals will stop me visiting again despite having visited for 2/3 times every year. The government has lost the plot!

      • Anonymous says:

        Speaking of “lost the plot”: looking around, there are varying degrees of emergency public health orders in place around the globe, not just in the Cayman Islands. These are not normal times, nor are they periods of recreational travel for anyone, anywhere. If you are going to blame the (uncharacteristically) rational Cayman Islands health response for impairing your leisure time * during a global pandemic * then we will accept your decision and not miss you.

    • Anonymous says:

      Amen

  6. Anonymous says:

    Continue the ban yes – should be at least until 2021

  7. Anonymous says:

    So you are going to directly fly people in from Florida. Florida has more Covid-19 than most countries in the world.
    The PCR test is useless as it not only produces false negatives but has to be done 72 hours before departure, plenty of time to pick up the virus again through airports.
    5 day quarantine? Nope, people will not be doing that on vacay!

    Good luck Cayman!

    • Anonymous says:

      Can’t please all of the people all of the time.

      Look guys, phase 1 of the reopening of the border is essentially a very careful dry run of the beginning of a six-month phased reopening.

      Phase 1 is mainly targeting people with Cayman connections wishing to return home, via Cayman Airways. No US airlines.

      They have to apply to Travel Time and test positive within no longer than 72 hours prior to departure.

      They will be fitted with a device that will monitor their health for 14 days after landing, the initial five days of which they must self isolate.

      The device will be programmed to geo-fence their movements and signal if they move outside of their confines.

      Regulations to be issued will detail penalties for failing to abide by the rules.

      They will be tested again at the end of the initial five days, with a positive test ending self-isolation, but not the monitoring of their health.

      Government is gingerly tiptoeing through this Initial phrase and will be carefully implementing and monitoring to avoid risks.

      Wearing of masks and social distancing will continue.

      Let’s see how it works, with highly detailed, inclusive planning with all the right buttons being pushed. So far so good.

      • Anonymous says:

        It is not going to work (it cannot, you need at 14 days of quarantine to be safe) and when it doesn’t work it will create a real prospect of killing those non tourism related businesses that have survived, together with a number of our people.

        60,000 locals will be locked into their homes again for months, all because 500 short visit tourists don’t want to quarantine for two weeks?

      • Anonymous says:

        While I agree to some degree with you and what the gov is planning. I wonder all the costs associated with such is worth it? Surely, these bio buttons are not inexpensive as well as the staff needed to monitor them and presumably take action when needed. How is a few thousand tourists spending only on groceries whilst in isolation going to significantly contribute to gov coffers or even make this a break even venture?

    • Anonymous says:

      I think that’s kind of the point. Keep numbers really low to see what happens with the virus. Only those that REALLY want to visit or those that already have vacation homes and of those, probably the ones that have the most money.
      I think it’s a good, measured way to re-open. I’d rather the airport remain closed for a few more months.

      • Anonymous says:

        Let’s drill down one layer into the “ones that have the most money” thesis on economic stimulation:

        How much money gets redistributed into the community with each visitor trip, where is it concentrated, and who specifically benefits?

        The high-end visitor benefactors are: liquor stores, grocery stores, maybe a couple eligible high end Dart-owned hotels, maybe a car rental company, a foreign-owned perfumery/jeweler, a small universe of qualifying dining restaurants owned by one consortium or other, and maybe a couple realtors, and/or billionaire hardware store owners, and CUC.

        The baseline vacation expenditure – at the highest end – doesn’t vary much by income/net worth, or from household to household when all there is to do is eat and/or sit on the beach drinking. It goes up to a certain standard (the maximum sustainable 3-4 star service level we can deliver competently) and maxes out there, with nearly zero community trickle down.

        That’s it. We have never delivered well on the other things beyond the basics. Luckily, for some folks, that has been enough. Maybe we need to rethink what kind of destination we want to be, who it benefits, and the mix of what we can offer to move in that direction – and I’m not talking about building a better Turtle abattoir.

        • Anonymous says:

          What do we get from vacation homeowners returning other than the spend on groceries, rest, liquor? They don’t pay accomodation tax since they have their own home. No fees to a booking agent for renting their home. Maybe a few watersports activities and cleaners to clean pre and post. Is that worth the risk?
          I mean I don’t know, do they pay anything to come visit? I ask in all honesty as I don’t know.

    • Anonymous says:

      6:17 pm: as I understand it, this reopening is mainly for people who have homes here or are otherwise connected to Cayman.

      Not for the average tourist here on vacation.

      Also, the movements Of those allowed in will be technology monitored and there will be penalties in published regulations.

      People will know the terms ahead of time and of that is not for them, then don’t come.

  8. Cayman small business says:

    They will not be missed. They spend very little and waste our time. At least at my store. They think every Island is a haggle opportunity, they are rude and uneducated. They think Cayman is Bangladesh. It takes all of my mother’s manners training not to tell them where to go.

    One positive from this virus is no cruisers. Stay over customers spend real money. Let’s reposition ourselves as the place to stay. We are safe friendly and welcoming. Forget ships,

    • Anonymous girl says:

      Hello 6:04
      Sorry that some tourists were not educated and were rude at your shop. However, are you aware all ships pay a huge landing fee to your Government. Your government is the largest employer in the Cayman Islands. Sorry but the pandemic has hurt yours and the entire world’s economy.

      • Anonymous says:

        Landing fees generate $20 – $30m for government….a mere drop in the bucket in terms of our total budget. PFL will generate many times that without making life insufferable for people trying to enjoy the beach on a day off

      • Anonymous says:

        I can’t imagine anyone giving Lynn Drew’s post a “thumbs down” I would vote for her in the coming election if she ran!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Cruise Ships soon come. The ‘older’ paper Cayman news outliet just put up an article saying that as of 1 Sept people from anywhere can come and potentially infect people in Cayman. We are going to show those people in Florida that Cayman can do pandemic too.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Can you imagine if Alden and Moses had their way with their cruise dock?
    Thank you CPR for all your efforts. Thank Mother Nature for sending covid 19 to slow down the destruction of our marine environment.

  11. Anonymous says:

    The industry gave us nothing but crowded streets and traffic on the waterfront. They just walk around looking into stores, not buying anything, and go back on the ship empty handed. Stay over tourism is the real money maker.
    Besides, town lost its glory and turned into a cliche tourist market full of cheap souvenir shops and bad quality palm tree shirts. This is the opportunity to reestablish town as the sophisticated capital it should be! Leave the tourist-like things to smb.

    • Cayman small business says:

      There are some of us that never cowed down to the ship trolls.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t disagree but the fact is you don’t have much to sell besides rum cakes and beer.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think the cruise industry gave a good glimpse of how beautiful the Cayman Islands are and provided an excellent marketing opportunity for stay-over tourism. But it’s also had its negatives. I agree, we should limit the cruise industry if it ever bounces back, which I hope it doesn’t and keep Cayman exclusive. Exclusivity sells. Certainly our reputation of how expensive it is will aid with that “image” as its also accurate. Let’s cater to only high end tourists.

  12. Noname says:

    Well well well , Ir looks like those floating petri dishes will not be there for a while … their absence has proven really benefical the the sea and the shores which are much cleaner than before. Making the ban permanent would be a great idea IMHO , our present environment needs to repair from the damage they have wrought upon us and that will take several decades.

  13. Anonymous says:

    When we eventually see ships sailing again, and when Cayman opens up to accept them, I hope there will have at least been some debate regarding the size and frequency of this ships we allow to our shores. Limiting them to just 2 or 3 ships max per day; limiting the size of ships to only accept those that carry under 1,000 passengers; etc.
    Something to debate anyhow. I’d forgotten how nice our main Island is without masses of cruise tourists and the related bus tours, etc clogging up everything. Obviously we will need a tourism product again, but the same as we had? I hope not.

    • Anonymous says:

      No love for the cruise industry.. You obviously aren’t involved in it, but a lot of people rely on it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Relied. It is gone. Those people now have no choice but to rely on something else.

        • Anonymous says:

          There used to be restrictions on number is ships/passengers. Bring back restrictions if you must bring back cruise ships. Please tell me who they benefit (not water sports or yours as the shops keep most of the income from sales).

      • Anonymous says:

        Sadly, if they were in it, they’re going to have to evolve…such is life…

      • Anonymous says:

        I don’t depend on cruise tourism to make a living but the fact that you and a relatively small portion of the permanent population do, should not be a source of major nuisance to me. This is like me setting up my office in your front yard

    • Anonymous says:

      This is a grand opportunity to reset and reshape tourism in Cayman- seize the moment!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Just think of all of the trash that is NOT going into the oceans around the world. Great news for the turtles, dolphins, mermaids and all sea creatures!
    They have proof of this as well. Seeing the changes for the good without the ships.
    The improvements they are seeing are measurable so this will be a perfect way to really see what damage they have done.
    Mother Earth fixing it while she has a chance.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Carnival is chewing through $4.4Bln a quarter. They are selling ships, not ordering new ones. They’ve tapped the equity and fixed income markets already for Billions and really can’t return to the well. It might be the end of the line for them – and that’s before the class action wrongful death lawsuits get to trial. In 2016 Panama scrapped their US style “Chapter 11” bankruptcy provisions and replaced with a new Insolvency Law offering only Reorganization or Liquidation. Liberia based RCL has no bankruptcy protection there either, similar burn rate, and pile of fresh lawsuit files. In May NCL thought they might have 18 mos of cash on hand, I’d probably divide that number by two.

    https://www.businessinsider.com/carnival-to-sell-6-cruise-ships-after-losses-coronavirus-slump-2020-6

  16. Anonymous says:

    As long as the Carnival passengers wear their masks they’ll be just fine, right?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Make the ban permanent.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Let them stay away. We need to repurpose ourselves so as to be able to thrive without them. They undermined our quality of life, cheapened the stay over tourism experience, destroyed George Town as a functioning capital, and provided largely minimum wage employment, including to hundreds of foreigners who had to be brought in at subsistence level wages to let it function. In addition, they are an obvious health hazard.

    In a few years we can have a discussion about allowing a limited number of high end ships (if they still exist) but for now and the medium term we are going to be forced to survive without them. We should use this opportunity to learn to thrive without them.

    • Anonymous says:

      If the cruise industry were better managed locally by a competent Tourism manager/minister, we would not have this fiasco etc in Georgetown! Just limit the number of ships per day and the number of passengers. We call the shots on this part of the industry. It’s not rocket science, people.

      • Anonymous says:

        George Town. Two words.

        As for calling the shots, I am not sure we should be in the slightest interested in mass market tourism, no matter who is in charge.

        The reality is that there will be no more cruise tourism for at least a year. All the businesses that relied on it will no longer exist. They will have to adapt to other things. The workers will have to adapt to other things. There will be many personal tragedies in consequence.

        If and when cruise ships sail again, we will no longer have a cruise tourism industry here to accept it. At that time we will lose nothing by waving at them as they pass 12 miles offshore.

        We need to focus on high end tourism and tech – and preserve Cayman.

      • Anonymous says:

        Better to be a high end destination. Our prices already are high, let’s just keep the riff raff away. Being exclusive is a draw in itself!

        • Anonymous says:

          We need to understand that the Cayman Islands maxes-out at a 3-4 star midrange service offering, and focus intently on delivering better consumer value in that market segment. This is both a middle-high income family destination and a middle-high income island where the local market can drive the change and absorb interruption shocks. The historic jet-set money-laundering “dual purpose itinerary” destination is (or should be) long gone. There are no casinos, or super yacht harbours, or runway-side Barclay’s cash-deposit branches. Nobody is wearing or buying Rolexes anymore. We need to adapt. The Financial Services Industry has been trying to shed the villainous Miami Vice image for over two decades, even as Realtors, and Government ministers (sometimes the very same people) continue to stoke it with sleaze and mixed messages. Enough. We need grownups that understand what we are, where we fit, and focus where we are going as a destination product.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Suntrust were out this week with a note saying that the US Cruiseship industry will not be running until Q2 2021

    • Anonymous says:

      That is crazy optimism. Is illegal substance use involved? That forecast may be the result of a hallucination.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Let people sail if they want to. Enough of this nonsense!!

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