After a reasonably successful Phase 1 of the reopening for cruise ship visitors, the Cayman Islands will be moving to Phase 2 in the coming week. This phase means the restrictions for the number of cruise ships calling each day will be removed.
During Phase 1, which started on March 21, 2022, almost 75,000 cruise ship passengers visited the Cayman Islands. It was the first time in more than two years that cruise ships were allowed to return to the Caribbean islands.
The Cayman Islands Opens Its Doors
After a period that took more than two years, cruise tourism has made a successful return to the Cayman Islands. During the last three weeks, the country has allowed cruise ships to return on a limited basis, a restriction that will be taken away now the government moves to Phase 2.
From Monday, April 18, the government will no longer limit the number of cruise ships allowed to call at George Town, Grand Cayman. The different phases are part of a long-term cruise tourism strategy developed to enable the country’s economy to rebound. With 57 ships expected from now until June, the process is well underway and returning to normal.
Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan said, “Ships will now revert to the normal process of liaising with the Port Authority Cayman Islands for approval to dock, rather than going through the Ministry of Tourism, as was the case for Phase 1.”
The cruise tourism phases are a separate process from the process of normalization of daily life in the Cayman Islands, which is now in Phase 5. The process is geared towards being able to open the country without restrictions to locals, overnight tourism, and cruise tourism.
Health Protocols Will Remain
The health protocols will remain in place during Phase 2, including all guests and crew members being fully vaccinated. In contrast, children under 12 who have not been vaccinated will need to be accompanied by a fully vaccinated adult.
Guests must also comply with all local rules, such as wearing a mask while ashore. Before embarking on the ships, guests are expected to show proof of a negative test.
The rules have proven to be effective; during phase one, there had not been any significant changes in new cases.
Interim Chief Medical Officer Dr. Autilia Newton said, “The stringent health protocols implemented by the Cayman Islands Government exceeds the guidelines issued by the Centres for Disease Control and have been effective in safeguarding the health of residents.”
“Furthermore, Public Health’s analysis of cruise passenger data collected during Phase I have not found any evident link between the number of COVID-19 cases currently on Island and cruise passenger arrivals.”
Tourism Industry Reports Significant Increase in Business
While the cruise industry will be more than pleased that it can send ships to Grand Cayman once again, the return has seen an almost immediate response, with many businesses reporting an increase in business.
Troy Leacock, CITA vice president said, “Despite the lower ship occupancy and the restricted number of ships, there has been a surge in visitor activity. This indicates a very strong demand from the cruise industry and cruise guests for our Cayman activities,”
Not everyone has been pleased to see cruise ships return to the Cayman Islands. Several locals reported that cruise ship passengers did not follow the local guidelines, specifically wearing masks.
The Minister of Tourism has urged the cruise lines to address the concerns to their guests: “The Cayman Islands government has asked cruise lines to step up their passenger communication to ensure that passengers are aware of the need to adhere to our on-island safety protocols, particularly social distancing and mask wearing while indoors at retail outlets and restaurants.”
There will be 19 calls from cruise ships to the Cayman Islands; during May; this will increase to 29 vessels during June.
For April, the Cayman Islands still expect to welcome nine ship visits, including Celebrity Equinox, Carnival Vista, Carnival Glory, Celebrity Apex, Carnival Paradise, MSC Seashore, Disney Fantasy, Carnival Horizon, and Saga Cruise’ Spirit of Adventure.