An article on Grand Cayman featured in The Florida Caribbean Cruise Association’s magazine states that there has been a shift in demand to visit Cayman because of its friendly people, tourist attractions and natural beauty.
The three-page photo feature, which quotes Mr. Steve Nielsen, Vice President of Caribbean and Atlantic Shore Operations, Princess Cruises, is titled ‘Spotlight on the Cayman Islands’. It appears in the third quarter 2004 edition of Caribbean Cruising magazine.
The article focuses on Grand Cayman as a cruise destination and as host of the then planned FCCA Caribbean Cruise Conference for 2004, which was set to take place in early October. The annual conference was quickly relocated to Barbados following Hurricane Ivan.
Although the article was written post-Ivan, its content still more or less reflects the Cayman Islands as they are today.
In the feature, Mr. Robert Hammity, Proprietor of Tortuga Rum Cakes, attributes much of the success of the family business to the cruise industry.
‘Cruise ships are such an important part of the economy of the Caymans; after 9/11 if we didn’t have the cruise ships here, our merchants would have suffered considerably worse. Cruise ship growth is up. Last year (2003) we received 1.8 million visitors by cruise ship, and the 2005 number is projected at 2.2 million. We are now the number three or four destination in the whole Caribbean.’
And, just as cruise ships were invaluable to Grand Cayman following 9/11, so they were following Hurricane Ivan, when they were re-introduced to the island just over a month and a half after the devastating storm hit.
The article goes on to praise Cayman as a tourist destination. It quotes Mr. Larry Stauffer, Manager, Shore Excursions and Island Recreation Disney Cruise Line, as saying, ‘Grand Cayman truly has it all, from breathtaking scenery to incredible cuisine and a rich cultural history.
‘One of the greatest stand-out attractions in the Caymans is the opportunity to experience some of the best scuba diving and snorkelling in the world.
‘Guests who enjoy water sports rave about the coral reefs. In addition, the people who work in the tourism industry in Grand Cayman are great professionals. It is the combination of these features that make it a truly wonderful port destination.’
Indeed, having Grand Cayman on an itinerary will sell a cruise, says Mr. Patrick Schneider, Executive of Shore Excursions, Royal Caribbean International.
‘It falls into a place on any seven day run out of Florida, Texas or the Southeast. It naturally fits and also has a good name.’
The article speaks of the Cayman Islands as being ‘one of the strongest destinations in the Caribbean, alluring vacationers with coral-decked underwater vistas, white sand beaches, and fascinating natural outdoors attractions’.
The feature also hones in on the future of cruise tourism in Cayman, outlining the destination’s partnership with the FCCA in the construction of a new cruise ship facility in downtown Georgetown, the Royal Watler Cruise Terminal. This includes the creation of three more acres of property to accommodate 200ft. of tender pier. There will also be shopping facilities and a large pick-up area and bus terminal. The West Bay dock is also to be provided with new cruise facilities.
The article goes on to describe many of the tourist attractions in Grand Cayman including Stingray City and the Turtle Farm.