After two years of closed borders and no cruise travel, the Cayman Islands – which only reopened to cruise travelers in March – is now looking to expand cruise tourism and enhance guests’ experiences at the popular Caribbean destination.
In association with the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), the Cayman Islands is embracing an agreement with cruise lines visiting Grand Cayman to collaborate on new opportunities to benefit both cruise passengers and the local community.
New Agreement to Enhance Cayman Islands
The agreement, announced May 19, 2022, encompasses both the government of the Cayman Islands as well as the FCCA trade group and its member cruise lines that include Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Cunard Line, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, and others.
The landmark agreement is designed to encourage greater economic opportunities in the Cayman Islands, promoting stronger ties between local retailers and the cruise lines.
“Through this agreement FCCA will fulfill the Cayman Islands’ initiatives, which focus on assisting the private sector, improving employment, [and] fostering cruise lines’ purchase of local goods,” said Michele Paige, FCCA’s CEO.
Cruise tourism generated more than $224 million in total expenditures and $92 million in employee wage income in the Cayman Islands during the 2017/2018 cruise year, according to a Business Research & Economic Advisors report.
The nation is routinely one of the most popular cruise destinations in the Caribbean, bringing in nearly 2 million visitors annually.
“For decades, cruise tourism has been intrinsic to the Cayman Islands identity,” said Rosa Harris, the Cayman Islands director of tourism. “As a luxury lifestyle destination, our delicious food, award-winning beaches, five-star amenities, and friendly wildlife are meant to be shared among friends and global travelers.”
“Through this partnership with FCCA, we are eager to further elevate our tourism product and welcome a new generation of adventure-seekers aboard cruise ships,” Harris added.
Enhancements for Cruisers
Cruise travelers can look forward to new, unique opportunities when visiting the Cayman Islands. With developments through this agreement and partnerships between local companies and international cruise lines, guests will have new, in-depth shore tour offerings as well as elevated experiences to enjoy.
Possible options may include flights to sister islands for more exclusive tours, deeper interactions with local residents to explore Caymanian culture, or finer local cuisine options for culinary aficionados. This may create longer port stays, which will further broaden opportunities for Caymanian retailers to generate further revenue from cruise travel.
“The Cayman Islands has always delivered a phenomenal experience,” Paige said in praise of the islands’ offerings during talks earlier this year. “It is only fitting to make sure that we elevate the product and elevate the expenditure that the passengers and crew spend in the Cayman Islands, that it is going to be a very rewarding time for all Caymanians.”
Disney Magic was the first ship to return to the Cayman Islands after the pandemic shutdown ended and the nation reopened to cruise travel, calling on Grand Cayman March 21, 2022 – almost exactly two years after the borders were first closed. That visit was quickly followed the next day by visits from Carnival Paradise and Carnival Sunrise.
In recent weeks, ships from Celebrity Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, and other lines have happily returned to the popular port.