The largest ship to visit George Town Harbour (Grand Cayman Island) since the Caymans reopened to cruising last week, was MSC Cruises' liner MSC Seashore. Seashore arrived on Tuesday, March 29, carrying just 1770 guests, even though the vessel has max pax capacity of 5877.
Since the Cayman Islands' government began the phased return of cruise ships on March 21, seven cruise ships have brought 14,000+ passengers on 4 separate days. Two cruise ships arrived on Wednesday, March 30, HAL-Holland America's ms Rotterdam and Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Reflection.
The government said it would be monitoring the impact that the return of cruisers had on the current spread of COVID before it allowed any further increase in the number of liners and people onboard to dock in George Town.
PACT is hoping that by allowing the cruise ships to return, it could stop paying stipends to tourism employees unable to work, which was initiated after the borders were closed 2+ years ago.
The cruise industry is offering diminishing benefits to the ports where liners dock around the globe while exacerbating environmental problems, such as pollution.
In Cayman, since overnight tourism generates 3 or 4 times as much money per head in comparison with cruisers, many hoped the government would rethink its policy before allowing liners to return.
However, the government remained focused on increasing the number of locals working in the tourism industry and maintained that cruise tourism was a major part of the goal.
Premier Wayne Panton and Tourism Minster Kenneth Bryan promised to rethink the policy on cruise ship calls. However, the tourism ministry began searching for consultants to help shape its new policy at the beginning of March, suggesting that any change in direction was a long way off.