Cruise boss still eyeing Grand Cayman piers

| 29/04/2021 | 119 Comments
Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley on Zoom

(CNS): Michael Bayley, the CEO of Royal Caribbean, has said he has not abandoned plans for a cruise berthing facility in the Cayman Islands. In the face of community opposition to the project, the outstanding referendum and the election of a new government that did not support a cruise port on the campaign trail, with a premier who actively supported the bid for a referendum, Bayley is still hoping to park his ships in the George Town Harbour. Speaking via Zoom at a Caribbean Tourism Organization forum on Wednesday, Bayley said the project had “faced resistance” and “we paused it”, but that he planned to revisit the proposal.

The live media event was streamed via Facebook. When asked about the Cayman proposal to build the dock, Bayley said it was complex.

“The Cayman project, which was a project that, I would say, was in place for many, many years, literally came to a halt as the pandemic hit. It was a complicated project because there was some resistance to the idea of the project. It was going through a community political process,” he said, misrepresenting the actual set of circumstances.

The Cruise Port Referendum campaign had successfully secured a petition for a referendum, stalling the project, but the PPM-led government’s mishandling of that had landed the issue in court. When all cruises stopped because of the pandemic, the PPM administration claimed the entire project was dead, as it began to appreciate that the public was largely opposed to pursuing mass cruise tourism.

Bayley claimed the project here was also complicated by the fact that it involved multiple cruise companies and a developer. Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruises, Orian Marine and McAlpine had come together to form the Verdant Isle Port Partners to bid for the project.

“We will come back to that project in the coming months and we will make a decision,” he said about what he described as an undecided project, saying they would consult with the government and community.

However, regardless of Bayley’s desire to resurrect the cruise port project, any return to the previous or similar plan would be subject to a referendum, as per the successful petition of CPR.

Bayley pressed home the position of the cruise lines that berthing facilities are imperative for tourism development, despite growing opposition to the idea in Cayman and many other ports in the region. “The development of piers, improving port infrastructure is part of the development of tourism that has to be done,” he said, adding that the cruise line would continue to engage with destinations all over the Caribbean about these types of projects.

However, since the start of the pandemic it has become clear that, when visitors return, the broader public and stakeholders in the sector want to see a significant shift in focus from mass cruise tourism to stay-over guests and a greater emphasis on quality not quantity. Most of the members of the PACT Government made commitments on the campaign trail to pursue this goal.

CNS has contacted the new tourism minister, Kenneth Bryan, and the CPR for comment on Bayley’s position and we are awaiting a response.

In the video below Michael Bayley talks about the Cayman Islands cruise port project at 23:00.

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Category: Business, development, Local News, Tourism

Comments (119)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    My words to Mr. Bayley, “there’s a new Sheriff in town and he won’t be bought like Alden and Moses.”

  2. Anonymous says:

    Read the room Mr. Bailey.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’m a Caymanian that LOVES cruising. I’ll admit that the worst disembarking/embarking process I’ve experienced is in Cayman BUT the pier that was proposed was not right for Cayman.

    Tendering can work! Belize does tenders too but it’s very smooth process and their terminal is set up well. Ours was like being pushed through a cattle crawl.

    • Anonymous says:

      Cattle crawl sounds like cruising in general.
      I could think of nothing woese than cruising

    • Anonymous says:

      If you live in Cayman you should know how disgusting these things are.

    • Anonymous says:

      i have been on a cruise that stops at Belize and I can tell you it is nothing like you say..For one thing the cruise ship could get nowhere near the dock and the cruise ship had to navigate through shallow water spewing up sand everywhere until it stopped way offshore. You could not even see land from where we stopped. We had to take a tender that was nowhere near as nice as the ones in Cayman.Not only this but from the ship to the dock was a 20 to 25 min boat ride in choppy seas unlike the 3-4 min trip in Cayman.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What a cocky bastard. “we will revisit and make a decision?” Uhh last time I chacked you were just a foreign business man in a foreign country wanting to expand to ours and we all got together and said not no but hell no and you think YOU will get the final decision? Not today bobo. I agree the port needs updating for cargo but before the lock down I seem to remeber us pulling record number for visitors and even before that the numbers were incredibly high. Somehow I don’t think our tourism sector has an issue with growth other than we need more stay overs to push the influx of money into Cayman because we all know those cheap ass budget day tourists on average don’t spend as much as you think here. The only strength they have are numbers and even then it’s nowhere as much as the stay overs spend.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Regardless of the future of the industry there certain people would win from an unnecessary contract. Thinking this lil fella might be one.

  6. Anonymous says:

    This is great news.

    It means that the cruise companies really want to keep coming to Cayman. Which means that Cayman gets to set the terms of that access. Like the amount of passengers per day (and size of the ships) and price of tours (Stingray City Sandbar capacity caps to keep the attraction attractive; tourists will pay a premium for a premium product rather than racing to the cheapest cattle boat). And whether WE want piers and ‘super-ships’ or stick with ‘smaller, more exclusive’ vessels. You know, like the Cayman Tourism Plan(s) say.

    Or, I mean, I guess we could do what’s in Royal Caribbean’s best interests instead of our own if we really wanted to. The important thing is to recognise that Cayman has the ability to decide for ourselves and we do NOT have to do whatever the investor of the day says they want.

  7. Michel Lemay says:

    You csn eye it as much as you want because We don’t want it!!

  8. Bertie : B says:

    Venezuela needs a dock my friend . I can get you a great deal there .

  9. Anonymous says:

    Go to NeTFlix and watch “SEASPIRACY” and see what is happening to our oceans/planet. Destroying our planet, disaster and wasteful through G r eeeed. Yes the “Fortune you know who” 500 co’s

  10. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians all bark and no teeth. If that is what he wants he has the power to do it. Caymanians have the power to keep their leadership out of jail but that’s all.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Chinese also eyeing the piers now that Mac and mini Mac are in control of tourism.

  11. Anonymous says:

    “We will come back to that project in the coming months and we will make a decision,”
    LMFAO!! “THEY” will make a decision?

    The decision is not theirs to make.
    PPM spent 9M on it so far, we should spend another howevermuchittakes and hold the referendum to make it definite, full stop!

    Let’s put an end to the all thoughts and ideas of a new port in GT forever.

    Bring on the referendum!!!

  12. Anonymous says:

    new entry for the ‘Urban Dictiobary’

    ‘dis·in·gen·u·Ouse’ – being a Michael Bayley

  13. Anonymous says:

    Jamaica built a port in Falmouth, being promised that it will increase tourism. And even before covid, Falmouth was becoming a wasteland. All it did was pollute the water surrounding the town. And as a Caymanian, I’ll be honest, there’s not MUCH to see here besides stingray city, crystal caves and a few beaches. Our clear blue water, coral reefs and tropical climate is the only thing keeping people coming, we can’t destroy it!

  14. Cheese Face says:

    With all due respect Mr. Bayley, piss off.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Speaking of piers, may I suggest that you take a long walk off a short one😏

  16. Anonymous says:

    He must be related to Alden, same arrogance. There will be no port in Cayman get the hell over it and push your agenda elsewhere.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Bring back the bodies. We are in dire need of tax dollars. If no taxes taken from cruise shippers then they will start with you. Income tax, property tax. Government needs to feeds it burgeoning waistline.

    • Anonymous says:

      Except, we’re not in dire need. In 2020 CIG’s income was >CI800m! Even if we were you’re only looking at the income and not the cost; to our environment, quality of life and the negative effect on our stay over tourism. Ever been to the sandbar when there are 3 ships in?

    • Anonymous says:

      Cruise ship tourists bring in a negligible amount of income and put off stay over tourists

      • Anonymous says:

        And cost us millions for security and infrastructure, and diminish our environment and quality of life. They are not worth it.

    • Anonymous says:

      So your advice to someone with an expanding waistline is not that they should adopt a healthy diet and reduce their calories but look forward r different fast food restaurants?

  18. laybylill says:

    Cruise ships are hugely damaging to the environment. They burn huge amounts of fuel, pour waste water into the oceans and transport over fed overweight people about the World. They are also Covid petri-dishes, dumping infected people in every port.Cayman said NO, I am so happy that the Caymanian people are standing up for their island. Now they just have to get rid of “the vulture”!)Stop ripping up the island. It is so heartbreaking to see the mangroves removed. What will you have left, a concrete Miami. Oh how I miss the island as it was in the 80’s.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree! Remember that a cruise ship brought the Italian cruiser and his wife, who ended up causing Shetty to shut down for a while because they were carrying covid! If we have an outbreak and our hospitals have to shut down, we’re going to be royally screwed!

    • An old diver says:

      There must be a lot of us who would like to go back to the 80’s! I sure would! It was great.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Bayley why don’t you visit Cayman Brac and talk with the former Minister for Tourism, Mo$e$ – he has a lot more spare time on his hand right now and you two would make a good team.

    • Anonymous says:

      Even better idea – why don’t the pair of them take a long cruise on one his ships and they can personally demonstrate just how safe they are.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Uh, duh. Wayne Panton is in charge now – he clearly spoke out against the Cruise Port – Mr. Bayley you clearly are delusional – please move on to another island nation.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wayne will soon figure out who is really in charge.

    • Anonymous says:

      He spoke out against McKeeva too and we see how quickly that changed.

      • Anonymous says:

        This is not my post, but how can there be 8 ‘Dislikes’? This is simply a fact.

        Some folks are truly ignorant.

        • Anonymous says:

          To 11:07am: Perhaps because the topic is now officially old. It was a necessary evil; WBW should have voted in Mario but hey, they did not. We have gotten over it.

          • Anonymous says:

            to 12:11: You are correct, you (I dare not say WE!) have gotten over electing liers, incompetents and a woman-beater.

            And that is why WE continue to elect fools. Because of fools like you who ‘get over it.’

            Progress towards an ethical, professional, and competent government will not happen by being so accepting of our flaws.

            I make no apology that I will ‘not get over’ and make excuses for our horrible record of who we elected.

            If the topic is now ‘officially’ old for you, that is a sad statement. How much did you really care?

            • Anonymous says:

              Your gripe should be with WBW, since it was a majority of the voters there that put MB back in. THEN take it up with Rankine and Turner who rocked the boat. Parliament is set so I shan’t waste more energy on that. Hopefully Mario will do more work on the ground these coming four years and win in 2025. Book closed for me

  21. Laughable says:

    Michael may be wanting to build the port all he wants which is fine but we, the world, saw how the cruise industry was rocked by COVID.

    CEO pipe dream folks, no conspiracy here

  22. Anonymous says:

    Guess he was betting that Alden and Moses would still be around for a second stab at a cruise port.

    Cayman has said NO to the Cruise Port and NO to the PPM and now we say no to Royal Caribbean.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Like most developer mgmt, they are only disposable toss artists spouting the diversionary crap that fits long term corporate objectives. We, the public, are in charge of Cayman’s future stewardship, not him. The port is dead, dude.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Not only no to the dock but a no to cruise ships full stop. Ignoring the waste they dump, they burn 50,000-80,000 gallons of filthy fuel oil a day for gods sake. Time they were consigned to the history books!

  25. Anonymous says:

    the Cayman people need to hold Alden and his Unity Co-horts to the fire over this.

    Everyone sit and think for a minute, if he and his ilk had had their way we would have signed the contract and started construction on the project just as a global pandemic shut down the entire industry. Who here actually believes royal Caribbean and Carnival would not have demanded we still had to make payments? Or are people actually dumb enough to believe that “we wont pay a cent” BS.

  26. Anonymous says:

    What a POS. He’s acting like he put the project on hold! There will be no cruise dock and if this government wants to actually make this island the jewel of the Caribbean they will ban any ships that carry more than 500 people. Remember what brought covid to our island in the first place, cruise ship.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nice rhetoric, but you are truly misinformed and misguided. “Remember what brought covid to our island in the first place, cruise ship.” This is a stupid statement displaying ignorance and ill-informed facts. Did it in fact happen – yup. But Covid would have come here due to many, many avenues. Sorry, can’t blame cruise ships – just look at the weekly airlines cases. So a dumb statement to prove a false argument.

      • Anonymous says:

        Rhetoric you say, yet you describe a statement you admit is accurate as “Misinformed”, “misguided”, “stupid”, “ignorance”, “ill informed”, “dumb” and a “false argument”. LOL. Rhetoric fail. The simple fact is a cruise ship did bring covid to cayman and given the number of positive cases on the Miami and Jamaica flights I think it’s very safe to say a cruise ship today would bring many, many more cases, unquarantined and potentially hundreds on each boat if they’ve been on board together for a few days.

        No thanks.

      • Anonymous says:

        Lol, you think your PR talking points are going to work on us in Cayman? Nice try cruise guy. Bye.

      • April says:

        It’s a fact that the first case of COVID in Cayman was due to a cruise ship.
        It’s a fact that cruise ships were responsible for the introduction of many COVID cases to several other countries.
        Also recall the story of the Diamond Princess and its impact on its ports of call in Asia.

        Although the infection was spread by a variety of avenues, it would be foolish to ignore the role played by the cruise industry.

        Although this narrative is unpopular with some, it doesn’t change the fact that we can learn lessons and use them to inform our decisions on how we allow tourism to return and grow here.

  27. Anonymous says:

    If the PPM got back in, the project would be a “go”

  28. Anonymous says:

    Hell no!

  29. Anonymous says:

    “The Cayman project, which was a project that, I would say, was in place for many, many years, literally came to a halt as the pandemic hit. It was a complicated project because there was some resistance to the idea of the project. It was going through a community political process,” he said

    Michael Bayley doesn’t want the world to know the referendum effort stood up to him and prevailed.

    • Anonymous says:

      A community political process = public backlash against the secret deals we did with government resulting in a successful judicial review. I guess the former version sounds a little less embarrassing.

  30. Anonymous says:

    On the campaign trail most of the members of PACT committed to not forming a Govt with McKeeva and look how long that lasted after the election Less than two days after the election they were in talks with McKeeva Bush trying to form a Govt with him. In fact the belief is that an agreement was reached on the afternoon of Friday 16th but not announced until Monday so that public support could be cause. So any commitment made by them while campaigning should be taken with a grain of salt.

    • Anonymous says:

      Alden is that you? Poor Poor PPM! Such sore ass losers.

      We remember the Cruise Port and the $9M spent to shove it down our throats..

    • Anonymous says:

      I respectfully invite you to analizar WHY they had to form a government with Bush. It was that or back to PPM. I think given the alternative, we would do well to count our losses and move on.

  31. Anonymous says:

    “We will come back to that project in the coming months and we will make a decision,” he said about what he described as an undecided project, saying they would consult with the government and community.

    Well Mr Bayley we can start right here, I don’t want your overly invasive, environment damaging ships here, and I must certainly don’t want the imposition of the cruise port you desire which despite what you say is predominantly for nothing else than boosting RCCL’s profits.

    Am I bitter, yes especially since you thought you going to bowl through this one and probably even more so now after watching David Attenborough’s post pandemic documentary and the effects the cruise ships have up until then had on the whale populations, your motivations are a disgrace.

    Just in case, that’s a big fat ‘no’

    • Anonymous says:

      Speak for yourself 6.48pm

      • Anonymous says:

        12:14am – Fortunately and according to the referendum petition 6:48pm speaks for te MAJORITY
        Shame on you Bobo
        Bet you haven’t had the vaccine yet either! Lol

        • Anonymous says:

          ? I am anti cruise ships and cruise netting’s and am in no rush to take that rushed vaccine. Happy to wait a couple months.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Say no to mass cruise tourism

    • Anonymous says:

      Astonishing that anyone thinks boats that burn 50-70,000 gallons of filthy fuel oil a day should have any future. And that’s ignoring the environmental damage their waste and passengers cause.

  33. Anonymous says:

    People Power and God stopped the dock project.
    I believe Alden McLaughlin and his protege Joey Hew referred to them as miracles.

  34. Anonymous says:

    The arrogance of RCCL is shocking. Thankfully the PPM are not running the country at present.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am not sure what annoys me more, that Bailey actually still thinks this is going to be a good thing for Cayman ,given the pandemic effects on the cruise industry , or that he is talking like he lives here and is entitled to a say in the matter.

  35. Anonymous says:

    CPR are all heroes for what they achieved and the way they galvanized the public

  36. Anonymous says:

    PACT will not sell out like the UNITY government.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Bayley and the greedy PPM were stopped in their tracks by CPR

    • Anonymous says:

      PPM too paid or otherwise embarrassed to deliver the memo, it seems!?!? Please answer to that Official Opposition Bench, or have someone that can read, read the transcript to you. Years after the defeat , how can that still be the Royal Caribbean corporate position?

  38. Anonymous says:

    Alden Moses Joey Roy were busying selling out to Verdant Isle group and the cruise lines. They were too busy to check with voters and got exposed.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Thank you CPR Cayman for fighting the madness and securing Cayman’s historic people’s initiated referendum that must be held to determine the views of the country if the cruise dock project should proceed. You are all heroes!

  40. Anonymous says:

    Ya, good luck with that boss…

  41. Anonymous says:

    What don’t you get Michael Bayley? We said no to you with our referendum in the last Government.
    And with our current Government we are now repeating a more emphatic no as we clearly voted out the previous Government.
    Mr. Bayley please take your dream of using our islands and take no to mean no.

  42. Anonymous says:

    He may not be around long enough tp pursue this.

  43. BeaumontZodecloun says:

    Referendum. We’ve already secured the right to vote on it.

    I personally not only don’t want the cruise pier, but I’d be perfectly fine with no cruise ships at all. I realise there are folk dependent upon the cruise ships. I hope we can all help you to cater to the stayovers, or others.

    Is the headcount money CIG gets from the hoards that descend upon us worth the congestion and traffic and viral risk? I don’t think it is, and now we hear that Mr. Bayley wants to “park his ships in the George Town Harbour”? ???? Was this always the end-game? I sure don’t recall us being a permanent port of call for Royal Caribbean being part of the deal.

    Now that we have a new government, we should resurrect the Referendum and finally vote. This is critical.

  44. Anon says:

    CPR and community opposition against the cruise pier. I am not sure just how much there was. The just concluded national elections returned all the Government Ministers and two of their main supporting MP’s. The main CPR opposition to the cruise port was rejected at the polls. You guys still think the loudest voices are the only ones that matter, never mind they maybe a vocal minority. Cayman needs a cruise port.

  45. Born Caymanian says:

    We don’t need no berthing facility! Tourist have dock by small vessels for years
    They enjoy the boat ride. Why ruin it?? And it will cost the country in the millions. LEAVE HOG STY BAY ALONE !!

  46. Anonymous says:

    Thank goodness the PPM is finished!!

  47. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians said NO! So your ambitions Mr. Bayley, frankly do not matter. Good day!

  48. Anonymous says:

    Beat it pal! We’ve seen how fickle your industry is. You’re pier is not welcome in Cayman!

  49. Anonymous says:

    Here we go again!

    Time to shut this loudmouth down immediately and put him in his place. It is NOT for him to revisit. It is a decision for the people of this Country to make and one that has, in fact, already been made.

    The answer is a resounding NO!

  50. anonymous says:

    Build the dock.

    • Anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds like a good idea Mr Bailey, how about we ask the rest of the people ?

    • Anonymous says:

      Move to Jamaica, they did it so you should be at home there.

      Tell you what, I will vote for it if we get to use you and all those pushing for it as the foundation.

    • D. Truth says:

      Get real, 4:51 pm! Who do you think you are telling others what to do! The people have spoken! For that I am happy. It is my hope that the next order of business is to stop sea-going vessels from polluting the seas and the air. Maybe we can get that taken care of next!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Is that you Joey or Renrick? You have both become irrelevant just like your boys from the PPM.

      No Port and no PPM!!!

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