The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism & Transport announced the long-awaited arrival of the first cruise ship to Port George Town, signaling the restart of the industry in the Grand Caymans. HAL-Holland America's ms Nieuw Statendam (scheduled to arrive on December 28) will be the first cruise vessel to call at the Cayman Islands in ~20 months.
Tourism and health officials set strict safety protocols in order for the ship to arrive at Grand Cayman. These conditions include: the Cayman Islands have to be the first port-of-call during the cruise, 60% passenger occupancy, guests and crew must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before the start of the voyage, passengers need to have a negative PCR/antigen test taken within two days of embarkation, visitors disembarking the vessel must observe local requirements like wearing face masks and 6 ft (1.8 m) physical distancing.
Holland America agreed to these conditions and said it would adjust the 7-day itinerary of Nieuw Statendam to the western Caribbean which is due to depart Port Everglades/Fort Lauderdale (Florida USA) on December 26, sailing with a limited capacity of 1600 pax.
According to Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan, the first cruise ship call would allow authorities to find the safest way to welcome back cruisers.
Mr. Bryan said Nieuw Statendam's guests and crew would be "subjected to exactly the same requirements as stay-over visitors, such as pre-arrival testing.”
“This has been an ongoing conversation with the cruise industry about what conditions are required to make this a safe experience for everyone involved and how to make that feasible. We thank Holland America for being an excellent partner and leading the way for this new era of cruise travel in the Cayman Islands for the foreseeable future. My people can be assured that my approach and negotiation strategy is for quality first.”