Disney ship triggers phased cruise return

| 21/03/2022 | 119 Comments
Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan among officials welcoming the Disney Magic on Monday (photo from social media)

(CNS): Premier Wayne Panton has said the return of cruise ships reflects the “balanced and pragmatic approach” the government has taken to the phased tourism reopening plan and a “conservative reintroduction” of ships.

While just 2,500 passengers arrived Monday on the Disney Magic, on 6 April as many as 11,500 passengers will call on George Town in three ships, at a time when many beach spots that once catered to cruise visitors have closed and before all operators are back in business.

Speaking at the press briefing on Friday, the premier said he was expecting a “good start” for this significant milestone and that “everybody is going to have a good time”. He said the return of cruise ships represented a real change and would allow people to resume making a living.

But two years after the last cruise ship was turned away and the borders were closed, it is not clear that Grand Cayman is ready for the return of significant passenger numbers and there are indications that time has been wasted in preparing the country for this moment.

These include the decision by the George Town manager to begin work on the pedestrianization of Cardinal Avenue just as cruisers return, and the fact that many operators are struggling to get their businesses ready, such as acquiring increasingly costly liability insurance.

In addition, the process of reviewing the Cayman Islands’ future cruise policy has only just started with the recent request for proposals, almost a year after the general elections, even though it was a major campaign issue.

Government voted an additional CI$5 million last week to assist small tourism operators to get boats, buses and other equipment repaired or replaced and on the road to recovery. But the premier did not have an answer to the likely problem of overcrowding, even with fewer cruise tourists, given the lack of beach space now for all visitors not staying in beachfront hotels.

There seems to be no answer to the question of where cruise guests who are not on paid excursions will spend their time as the numbers increase, given the recent indications from several Seven Mile Beach resorts that they are limiting their service, especially on the beach, to guests staying at the facilities.

There has also been a significant reduction in beach space from erosion, and popular locations such as Calico Jacks and Royal Palms are now closed.

The premier said he was hoping those businesses that historically catered to cruise tourism in the past would be offering their services again. “It’s not going to be a complete return and we are not going to have 100% of the business operational at the right time,” he said, adding that he felt there would be enough.

Panton said the recent decision to search for consultants to help shape the new cruise policy was to try to reduce numbers while generating more income from the ships that do come.

Blaming the delay on the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has been dominating government business, he said that the policy was to move away from mass cruise tourism and that the government has already had “very strong discussions” about getting higher value cruise business for Caymanian operators.

“We are very optimistic we can build a stronger cruise strategy… and transform what was originally a mass tourism approach and lower value to one that’s more moderate in volume but much higher value for the country.”

In the meantime, Panton said, the phased return of cruise tourism would assist those in the tourism business that have been hardest hit by the closure of the George Town port to ships and ease into the “new normal” for tourism.

He added that government would be closely monitoring the safety aspects, though there are still concerns that cruise tourism.

Addressing concerns that cruise tourists may cause another surge of infections, given the sector’s direct association with spreading COVID-19 in our region, Interim Chief Medical Officer Dr Autilia Newton said the aim is to ensure that passengers and crew members coming ashore have no symptoms and are not close contacts of cases.

All crew and passengers except for children under twelve must be fully vaccinated and they must adhere to mask mandates and social distancing protocols when they are ashore. The ships are also obligated to give the Port Authority a report of the health status of the passengers before anyone is allowed to disembark.

That includes information relating to people board who are suffering from any disease or who have suffered from any disease during the voyage. The vessel remains in quarantine until such time as the officer on duty has given the vessel licence to communicate with the shore.

No COVID-positive passengers or crew, or close contacts of positive passengers or crew are permitted to disembark and all legal obligations under international maritime law will be adhered to. Prevalence of COVID-19 detected onboard a cruise ship will be assessed by looking at evidence of sustained on-board transmission, the timeline of infections, and measures taken on board to control the spread of cases.    

See changes to regulations here.       

See the full press briefing on CIGTV below:

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Category: Business, Tourism

Comments (119)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    We have had three days of cruise ships and I have frankly had my fill. Traffic is unbearable.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Who is the lady on the right? did she come off of the ship?

  3. Annie says:

    I am so done. It is clear that our government has no interest in doing the right thing, nor helping Caymanians.. Just look at the evidence. Who benefits from the closure of Cardinal Ave. Who loses? Who just said they can wait it out, whilst opening a small business crushing coffee shop? Y’all follow the money.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Wow. The level of negativity on here is insane. Such a shame to read the narrowmindedness reflected in SOME of these comments.

    Some commentors have expressed genuine concerns and valid points, but on the other hand others feel the need to ridicule a choice to wear or not wear a jacket. Really?

    Come on Cayman, we are better than this!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I think Kenny & Jon-Jon should put on the Pluto & Goofy costumes so they fit right in with the Disney cruise!

  6. Anonymous says:

    a welcome step towards normality.
    however cig have shown no interest in establishing sustainable, beneficial cruise ship numbers and will just go back to the bad old days of complete chaos in gt.
    shameful by all concerned in cig and classic no-plan-pact.

    • Anonymous says:

      The world has changed, human cattle ships that are hotbeds for disease are not the new normal.

      • Anonymous says:

        Really? Have you looked at the port cal list, and seen how many of those ships are on CDCs orange or grey list? And the passenger numbers? 15000 people in April 6 my friend. Sounds like the old normal to me.

      • Anonymous says:

        I sure hope not! …………………………. But we will see.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I am only assuming that the requirements for air travel testing is because of the close proximity of the passengers… (sitting in a tube with engines). keep up the good work Kenny…just cant please everyone.

    • Annie says:

      Are you on crack! There is no science, zero minus one, to support our boneheaded government’s decision. This is just optics. Like nearly every decision in the last two years there is no logic, none. Only foolish decisions by people I would not hire to work at a Seven Eleven on the Tamiami Trail.

  8. Anonymous says:

    He should not be touching the little girl’s shoulders.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Total capitulation on the part of Kenny and CIG to allow return of the newly wed, over fed and damn near dead crowd without getting any concessions from the cruise lines. CIG had two plus years to figure this out as everyone was pretty much in agreement that stay over tourism was the key. So what we got was delays in work permits, traffic congestion in George Town and tour operators still working for nothing. Wasn’t increased compensation for tour operators part of the deal? Wasn’t upscale cruise ships like Silverseas, Regent, Seabourn and Crystal part of the strategy apparently not as there are none of those ships listed as calling on Cayman for the foreseeable future. Now we’re going have a consultant to improve out product. It’s more of the same with CIG fire, ready, aim.

  10. Golden egg? says:

    There goes the pristine water out by Eden Rock that after two years had finally recovered from the cruise ships pollution.

    • Annoyed says:

      Oh hi! CIG knows we are destroying the coral due to our lack of a decent waste water treatment facility. But hey let’s first try and close roads. Who are they working for? Certainly not Caymanians. Follow the money.

  11. Anonymous says:

    “No close contacts “. Disney Magic. 950 feet long steel structure but with 2500 guests and 950 crew inside, sharing the same air, food and physical interior space. And according to the CDC has active cases of Covid onboard. No close contacts. Right.

  12. Anonymous says:

    So… from the above we know that we are allowing passengers from cruise ships with Covid ashore, by its ok because we will only allow asymptomatic people ashore – ignoring the fact it is know n to be contagious even when asymptomatic- and we won’t allow close contacts of symptomatic or positive tested individuals ashore. Just wondering how you define a close contact in a cruise ship where even is in close proximity and shares the same ac system. Meantime air passengers, irrespective of whether they are symptomatic, have to test before landing. How can the CMO come out with this stuff – she is a medical professional for heavens sake, not a politician or a politicians lackey. She is going to tell us to our faces that the air passengers pose a greater risk than the cruise passengers? She should be ashamed for letting herself get used. Not that it makes a difference because blind Bartimaeus could see this is complete BS. Sad thing is that when we do have a health emergency no one is going to believe a word out of her mouth. Shame on her.

  13. Anonymous says:

    “balanced and pragmatic approach” and “conservative reintroduction”……what does that mean? What is the policy going forward? Two years ago the tourism product was going to be rethought and matured. Today, there seems to be little change other than the closing of a public street and flowerful statements. In its simplest term, there is no leadership.

  14. Truth says:

    Stupid people voting for stupid people and crying that all that is done is stupid. This is the Cayman Islands Culture. Trust no one and hate all things. Amongst you are many thankful and happy persons enjoying all the good things in life while ignoring the stupiditidy and hate that surounds them.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s kind of a stupid comment 7:14, – the hating and untrusting will keep fighting the fight for you keeping those who stray from their election tickets accountable in a best effort to maintain that of which remains to be thankful for 🎟 👍

    • Anonymous says:

      To be honest looking at at least the last two elections the choices weren’t that great.

    • Mumbichi says:

      Perk up, Sunshine.

      I have the feeling that things aren’t so difficult for you.

      Some of us are struggling. You should thank your lucky stars, and we will try to laugh a bit to ease the pain.

  15. First let me be clear I am NOT anti cruise ship BUT do not want to see more than two ships at a time PERIOD.I called Port Authority prior to first ship arrival and asked will ships anchor or stay on engañes?The reply was anchors will be used.We just had a little under 3 years for the corals to rebound and we resume destruction of same.This is insanity as reefs far away will feel the effects of siltration.
    I also must question allowing passengers to debark without an L.F.T. when incoming flights make LFTs compulsory.Something smells with this decision.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Lol Dwayne, thanks for coming to the picture brah, you can tie the donkey up right there

  17. Anonymous says:

    Before we condemn the Cruise Tourism, why don’t we ask the people who are in business with the Cruise ships? The island has been open to stayover tourists for a while? How did the shops, bars, restaurants, etc. make out? Today is the first day for one small amount of tourists which include a lot of young children between 2-8 yo.Total amount 2500.
    There have been complaints recently that the hotels are seeing more stayover tourists and cannot maintain good service at the bars and restaurants.They don’t have enough staff? If they offer staff CI$10 per hour, I’m sure they won’t have any problem getting many Caymanians, who would like to join their establishment.
    They literally are telling outside people they can’t accommodate them? Offer the staff you need CI$ 10 per hour. Simple!!

  18. Anonymous says:


  19. Anonymous says:

    An hour and ten minutes to get to work today!
    To add insult to injury, the dancing police man prancing around like a chicken on drugs on a traffic light controlled junction just added to the delay!

    • BLVCKLISTED says:

      This morning I woke up at 6:30, walked from Ocean Frontiers (East End) at 7 to a little ways past Eastern Star Bar, where a public bus finally picked me up around 7:20.

      Still didn’t end up getting to work until 8:50, 20 minutes late.

      Idk about anyone else but I don’t think it should ever take an hour and a half to get anywhere on an island that’s only 22 miles long. Planning is seriously lacking, and has been for decades unfortunately.

    • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

      Was that a policeman? I swear he moved just like Mick Jagger.

  20. Anonymous says:

    This photo has ONE thing written over it: “UDP”. Minister and PS all on a leash attached to Mckeeva; Port Authority Board is UDP and the Port Director, is yes you guessed it- a UDP crony.

  21. Annoyed says:

    Word on the Avenue is that Kirks pushed this as they are going to carve up their Cardinal stores and rent them to other businesses. So disgusting if true. More disgusting is Wayne and Kenny going along with it. I thought Wayne at least had some morals. Guess I was wrong. Should have known when he got into bed with Mac, but I still had hope. All hope is gone. Just another sell out.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Can someone advise Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Culture on what our national dress should look like? Getting tired of seeing these bright gingham/plaid colours and head ties.

    • Anonymous says:

      PACT loves engaging consultants.

    • Anonymous says:

      7.49. As we are becoming Jamaica, our Jamaican politicians are getting us accustomed to that fact.
      The self serving ambitions of those in the photo should send shivers down your spine.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Our Premier is a such a dipstick, – so our dipstick Premier has decided he’s going to change the model of the vast majority of the cruise industry all by himself and I guess maybe along with Mr Glamour Handbags 👜⚓️🤦🏻‍♀️

    oh!! there’s the upscale Crystal Cruises !, – dang it, are they the ones that can’t afford to pay their gas bill ?

    Blaming the delay on the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has been dominating government business, he said that the policy was to move away from mass cruise tourism and that the government has already had “very strong discussions” about getting higher value cruise business for Caymanian operators.

    “We are very optimistic we can build a stronger cruise strategy… and transform what was originally a mass tourism approach and lower value to one that’s more moderate in volume but much higher value for the country.”

  24. Anonymous says:

    Tens of thousands of low spend cruisers can enter the Cayman Islands (and clog the roads) without a COVID test while all who live here and all hi spend tourists are required to do a COVID test before entering the country. This is insanity.

    • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

      They have to have a Covid test, the problem is that the veracity of that test is overseen by the individual cruise ship company, NOT Cayman Islands entities.

      Agree that it is greatly concerning. I don’t blame the tourists at all — I would want to come here also. Still don’t think it’s the right direction for our abilities, offerings or resources.

      • Anonymous says:

        nonsesne….how many on airplanes are coming here with the ‘pretend skype’ test?

      • Anonymous says:

        No, there is no liner-based testing necessarily, just sketchy liner-attested verification of vax status, and we aren’t even the first port of call. There’s also no masking on the ports of embarkation or on the boat itself – many of which are under “yellow” or “orange” color warnings for CDC investigation for outbreaks, and/or protocol violations pending assessment of fines.

    • Fantasy island says:

      If we are going to let the floating Petri dishes back they should be limited to no more than 2 per day and be required to overnight here. Then maybe our restaurants and bars could serve a few dinners and drinks.

    • Anonymous says:

      According to Gov.uk travellers from the U.K. to Cayman now need a PCR or a certified LFT taken within 24 hours of departure.
      When did this change as I’m fairly sure Cayman insisted on a gold standard PCR test only?

      • Anonymous says:

        Try to keep up. This changed a while ago to match US flight requirements. First we were following the U.K. then we were following the science & now we are doing what the USA does, as Americans won’t fuss.
        Please let’s follow the U.K. again & cancel all restrictions. Currently it’s no different than the flu/pneumonia but obviously this might change with future dominant variants.

  25. Anonymous says:

    For two years we had no cruise ships and we had every day bumpy to bump traffic please stop blame the cruise ships

  26. Annoyed says:

    Well not even one cruise ship customer at the upper Cardinall Avenue store where I work. Thanks GIG for blocking off the road. I love the new posters they put up for the Cardinal shopping district. They have 4 foot by 8 foot space to put a sign….they go with a maybe 18 inch poster with a font you cannot read unless you are directly in front of it. Oh, and it it light green with a white writing. Excellent choice, if you want to make sure no one can read it. What’s next? Perhaps some razor wire, or a pit of venomous snakes? Tourists love snakes.

    • Annoyed says:

      I so loved spending an extra hour in traffic this morning. It was bliss. I hate to be on time. I want to be the stereotypical Caymanian! Late and lazy. Thanks Wayne and Kenny! Without you I would be lost! Plus I had the extra bonus of using up all of my fuel! Yay! No money for groceries! You guys are so clever. No way you this is designed to benefit a few. Nope, no way. Definitely not the Cayman Oligarchy.

    • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

      😀 😀

      I love your writing style. Humour brings people inward; anger spreads them apart.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Why are those jokers wearing jackets in the morning heat? At least they ditched the masks.

    • Anonymous says:

      I hoping it’s because there is a dress code saying you have to wear a jacket to court, and any one of them could be hauled before a judge without notice.

  28. Anonymous says:

    WOW, nice to see no one in the photo is wearing a face mask. Finally!
    However in the photo to a different article, they all wear it, being outdoors 🤦‍♀️.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Completely insane.

  30. Anonymous says:

    This is wonderful news (Sarcasm). Come to our ill-managed rock, have a poor visit, leave and complain. Then two possible reactions – CIG gets busy and fixes this mess (I doubt), Cayman reputation finally gets what it deserves (you fill in what you believe it deserves).

  31. Anonymous says:

    Now make sure everyone still enforces the mask idiocy.

    • Anonymous says:

      Air arrival have to take pcr test day before maybe a full flight of 200 cruise ship no pcr test 1000s walking around. let’s see how this plays out. is cayman their first destination 🤔

  32. Anonymous says:

    What a UDP Lite photo!
    Sneaking in through the side door.

    • Anonymous says:

      God help us, that photo is a warning of things to come , as 5 of those posers have political ambitions.
      Even the three girls are wearing Jamaican outfits. Caymanians be afraid .

  33. Tony Stank says:

    Bumper to bumper traffic today
    Same for Walker Road, as always
    Elevated exhaust emissions
    Return to office workers daily
    Workplace hours all the same
    Elimination of Cardinal Ave
    No modern mass transit systems
    Grand Harbour disaster
    High fuel prices
    High food prices
    High utility prices
    High rent prices
    Outrageous real estate prices
    Wages out of touch with inflation
    Increasing poverty
    Increasing wealthy residents
    Sea levels rising
    Beach erosion
    Cruise ships, anchors and coral
    Stony coral disease
    Massive litter problems
    Mount Trashmore

    All good. Nothing to see here. Kick the can down the road. Rinse and repeat.

    Welcome back, visitors. Pay no heed to our problems.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Loving that American money ey? Don’t bite the hand that feeds you, boy! Hahahaha!

  35. Diver says:

    I have no words for this political hypocrisy. Pity the Govt didn’t put together a sustainable tourism charter while we had this “pause” in the cruise ships. How about limiting the daily number to 2 so we can still move around in George Town. How about dropping the Travel Cayman requirements for air passengers if they don’t apply to cruise passengers. What about mask wearing. How can there be one rule for cruise shippers and one rule for the rest of us.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Unbelievable that we are forcing air arrivals to (1) complete travel cayman application and (2) take a negative LFT the day before flying but we are letting cruise ship passenger – who do NOTHING for this country – in without requiring either. This must change immediately!

  37. anon says:

    why do cruise arrivals not have to test, when returning residents have to do the flow test before arriving ? seems somewhat prejudicial !

  38. Anonymous says:


  39. Anonymous says:

    How come the cruise tourists don’t need a test the day before but overnight tourists and locals do? There is no logic behind it and it should be updated to be fair. Either they need to be tested or nobody needs to be tested.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Where the masks and why are they are not social distancing? Isn’t the law?

  41. Anonymous says:

    If the Caymans are welcoming cruise tourism back with open arms, surely the stay over tourists arriving via air should be subject of the same testing regulations or lack of. Personally I never wanted to see mass cruise tourism back, it brings little tangible benefits apart from to a select few and causes real damage but hey at least be even handed across the board if you’re set on reopening the borders Wayne.

    • Anonymous says:

      We are NOT the Caymans. For God sake, learn to say the name of our islands correctly!

      • Anonymous says:

        Get over it.

      • Beaumont Zodecloun says:

        Take it easy. The rest of their opinion has merit.

        No, we’re not the Caymans, nor the Grand Cayman Island, but we can sure as hell inform people in a less abrupt manner that we take umbrage from the misuse of the name of our islands. Message is easier with sugar, you know?

      • Anonymous says:

        What, like the USA isn’t the ‘States’? Grow up princess.

      • Anonymous says:

        Stupid response. Get a real cause to promote, many are available in the Caymans!!!!!

      • Ann Atheist. says:

        And what happens to God if we don’t?

  42. cruise missile says:

    If we fly to the U.S. we need Covid tests the day before departure. What is the situation with the thousands of cruisesheep that are now returning daily to the U.S. after completing their cruise – are they allowed to disembark without having been tested?.

  43. Frustrated says:

    I saw two coaches with cruise ship passengers aboard and not one of them was wearing a mask. I guess it is one rule for them whilst those of us who live here still have to endure the ludicrous mask mandate. Guess it’s clear where this government’s priorities lie. Make masks a choice.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Reading these Regulations is like going back in time 8-12 months. There are literally doctors, pharmacists, and staff in scrubs inside hospitals that aren’t even wearing masks anymore. The fines might as well be “one gazillion dollars” because nobody believes a single ticket has been written since this began, even months ago when perhaps it might have even mattered. All the fines that were $250 a week ago are now reset back to summer 2021 levels of $10,000 and/or 2 years in jail. Guys, it’s all over, and we need to scrap all of this! Do we think cruise shippers are going to wear masks here? Get real.

  45. Anonymous says:

    We should never, under any circumstances, allow more than three ships in at the same time. If we do our greed will once again let cruse business degrade the quality of our stay over tourism product. Sadly I fear the opposite is what government will do.

  46. Anonymous says:

    Micky Mouse just dropped a 30 ton anchor and chain on a pristine coral nursery and some of us celebrate. This whole charade is sickening.

  47. Just the facts man - no waffle says:

    To be more accurate – let us change the first sentence to read:
    “Premier Wayne Panton has said the return of cruise ships reflects the “unbalanced and unpragmatic approach” the government has taken with the confusing tourism reopening plan and its “contrarian reintroduction” of ships.

    Yes, that’s better. Facts over waffle please Wayne.

  48. Anonymous says:


    Please be sure to buy our $hitty souvenears and discounted jewlerly to support local!

    As one of the guys from ‘Effy Jewerly’ said on the compass – “IT’S TIME TO MAKE SOME MONEY”

  49. Anonymous says:

    just get rid of travel restrictions at this point. It really lacks all logic to have any restrictions if you are letting cruise ships in.
    We know what is going to happen, you are waiting until after Easter break to get one last jab at us in there…. just be done with it.

    • Anonymous says:

      100% waiting till after Easter to make changes for LFT for air travel. Need to pocket the money off tourists one last time.

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