Minister: CIG not talking with cruise lines

| 16/11/2020 | 50 Comments
Cayman Neww Service
Cruise ship visits Grand Cayman (file photo)

(CNS): As the cruise industry attempts to re-launch itself, regardless of concerns that the ships played a key role in bringing COVID-19 to this region, the Cayman Islands tourism minister said he has not spoken to the cruise lines about their potential return here. Last week the first ever cruise ship to come back to the Caribbean ended its trip early after an outbreak of the coronavirus, illustrating the challenges ahead for this sector.

During a forum organised by the Cayman Islands Tourism Association last week, Moses Kirkconnell said his ministry has not been in any discussions with the cruise companies about a return to Grand Cayman since the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lifted its no-sail order.

The cruise industry has come up with a list of new protocols that persuaded the CDC to lift the outright sailing ban. But the industry still has some way to go before ships will be cleared to sell full Caribbean cruises anytime soon. A major issue is confirming ports of call under the ongoing threat of COVID-19.

Many leading cruise companies have continued to mislead passengers by selling cruises to this and other destinations that are not yet open to cruise ships. So far the cruise lines have not addressed how they plan to get destinations to allow them to come back and officials here have not said under what circumstances they would be allowed back, given the significant risk they pose to community safety.

Speaking at last week’s tourism forum, Kirkconnell stated that George Town harbour will remain closed well past the end of the year and government is not involved in negotiations with the cruise lines to re-open. He said that they had not seen the health and safety protocols proposed by the industry for re-opening.

The minister did not say why his tourism ministry had not seen the information as the proposals are all in the public domain and available online, along with the CDC’s framework for the proposed safe return of cruising.

However, so far the health protocols appear to have failed.

The Sea Dream, which was first cruise ship to sail into Caribbean waters since the pandemic, ended its trip early last week after seven passengers tested positive for the virus.

There were only 66 passengers and 57 crew on board but one couple and one family group, all from the US, were found to be positive after they joined the ship in Barbados. The ship returned to Barbados at the weekend, where the negative passengers were allowed to disembark and fly home. The seven positive passengers were reportedly flown on a private plane back to the US.

The cruise sector continues to pose enormous challenges for a safe return, given the very nature of cruising, the impossibility of social distancing and the ease with which any illness seems to spread aboard such ships.

There is now no expectation that cruise ships will be returning to the Cayman Islands until the vaccine has been widely distributed and the virus is under control, and the ministry continues to focus on overnight guests who can stay longer.

The minister said that the Global Citizen Programme has attracted significant attention already; around 2,700 people have viewed the website and 35 applications have now been made. However, as of last Wednesday, just one family has been approved so far to receive a certificate.

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Category: Business, Tourism

Comments (50)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Cruise lines are promoting us as a destination as early as Jan 4, 2021. A friend in Canada got an email from his travel agent.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Aww. So they not beating us down no more then about how bad we need this port?

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you CPR for exposing the lies and stopping that project that would have bankrupted the Cayman Islands. Shirley and her team are heroes!

  3. Anonymous says:

    The small cruise ship out of Barbados that ended up with multiple cases of Covid after a few days despite pre-testing all passengers is a warning of what would also happen with resort bubbles. CNN noted that the cruise ship observed the following:

    “Multiple negative PCR tests were required before the guests boarded, but this was not sufficient to prevent Covid-19 onboard,” the company said in a statement released Tuesday.

    • Anonymous says:

      Meanwhile a successful summer of cruising was had in Norway and the likes BUT that was not bad press!

      CNS: Also not in our region.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I know what government can do replace all tourism workers with all permit and contract workers then they will see how it feels to be out of a job all because of government, every one that fight against cruise ships coming to cayman don’t know the history of the island

  5. Anonymous says:

    Translation: they haven’t been calling him. They have more important concerns at the moment

  6. Anonymous says:

    We should just abandon our cruise industry all together, and revive GT. Remove all those tacky souvenir shops and redo the capital to its former glory. Leave the touristy things to smb.

    • Anonymous says:

      wow….please elaborate on this fantastic magic plan…

    • Anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      In the 80’s George Town was filled with tacky T shirt shops. Most were replaced with jewelry stores. Chickens roamed the streets.
      I think it looks better now – except for the signs. Shops did not have plastic banners or sidewalk bill boards. Planning, I think, used to enforce those.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The #1 thing to determine: How the increased hurricane activity would affect each and every industry in the long run? Would property owners sell and move to the higher grounds? I imagine no insurance would completely cover the loss from natural disasters. Would financial service companies that are physically present in Cayman relocate after they sell their assets?
    2020 hurricane season is a warning to all costal communities and flat islands in the Caribbean. Hurricanes have been hitting the same areas again and again. Even the most resilient (and Cayman is not) countries and territories could be devastated to a critical point of no return.
    This is what should occupy the minds of CIG. Eta has warned Grand Cayman again with widespread flooding. Anyone pays attention?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Wash your mittens you naughty kittens🎵

  9. Anonymous says:

    So Moses and his Tourism Ministry are not even talking to the cruise lines?

    Is not talking to cruise lines part of the National Tourism Plan (that nobody has seen and they STILL working on)?

    So so so what exactly has Moses been doing for the last 9 months?

    How are the Brac hotels doing?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Parliament, 10 stories buildings, port?

    Did anyone lose sleep over out of season Eta and Iota? This could become a regular occurrence making coastal areas and islands in the Caribbean uninhabitable.

    • Anonymous says:

      30th November is the traditional end of the Atlantic / Caribbean hurricane season. So Eta and Iota are within season. There have been storms in December and January before but usually go extra-tropical and head for colder climates. That said it remains to be seen if global climate change will result in more frequent late season storms.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, that is true. You could also be run over by a truck hauling rock.

  11. Anonymous says:

    love or hate cruise tourism….sticking your head in the sand ppm-style is not the answer.
    abysmal performance from moses and no-plan-ppm

    • Mark Twain says:

      It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Speaking of Carnival, this would be a great year to throw a community winter carnival with some rides and fun in our Covid Oasis. Equipment rentals would be highly flexible.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not until the last one gets paid for.

    • Anonymous says:

      It won’t replace tourism but a ‘bubble’ of local businesses could put it on as a staycation event.

      You know, something to spur tourism commerce during the slow season. Like a Pirates Week.

  13. SSM345 says:

    Anyone believe a single word that comes out of this guys mouth (or any of the current Govt) when “cruise” is a keyword?

    So if we are not pursuing or entertaining the cruise industry at present, what exactly are you entertaining to get our tourism product back up off the ground Sir?

  14. Anonymous says:

    These government have no plan for the people that work in the tourisim field, people who want to work, we are suffering so keep cayman close down wount stop the covid from coming in

    • Joe B says:

      Japan has a great solution for an island that shut down to save itself from Covid like Cayman did. Only 2,000 total deaths in ten months from Covid. Last month alone 2,153 suicides. Dead people don’t need work. Is there a lesson in there somewhere?

    • Anonymous says:

      5:26 seek alternative employment for the time being. I know of a few people who have sought alternative jobs and are thriving. Sitting down waiting for tourism isn’t going to help you.

  15. Anonymous says:

    CIG’s Solution is to bring in UHNW’s, one Millionare/Billionaire worth more than an entire crew ship of tourists.

    Just saying😆

  16. Anonymous says:

    Keep those garbage ships out of here !

  17. Anonymous says:

    C A L, have a charter to Barbados soon crazy an very stupid period.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Forget the dump, build our damn port!

    • Anonymous says:

      4:23 Keep wearing the tin foil hat, it suits you!

    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      You’re a good little troll, hitting all the right buttons. Next time, remember to praise the selfless humanitarian efforts of the Speaker of the House.

    • Hubert says:

      Don’t worry The Dump will not be removed. Part of our wonderful Cayman culture, however, expect a lot of talk before the election and then get ready to see it die again. Have seen the same thing for 20 years and even Ezzard himself talked about moving the Dump 20 years ago. Oh, but Ezzard has no policies now. Need to study the Dump problem again. Can’t make this stuff up.

      • Anonymous says:

        I can remember the debate about the dump and recycling going back a lot further than 20 years. It was being discussed back in early 90s after tourists started commenting on the way bars and restaurants dumped everything in one big bin without separating recyclable items like bottles and cans from the waste food.

    • Anonymous says:

      Amen! People who don’t want the port forget about the Caymanian businesses that are being choked by its delay!

      • Anonymous says:

        If they are being choked then it’s time for them to be snuffed out. We do not need that ugly, environment damaging port

    • Anonymous says:

      Build the mental health facility, you clearly need it.

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