As dark rain clouds gathered over Grand Cayman Tuesday afternoon hundreds of cruise passengers lined up all along Harbour Drive, some on ships departing early because of forecasts for bad weather.
As many as 14,610 passengers may have visited Grand Cayman if all were at full capacity on the seven ships that called yesterday.
However, some passengers were told to be back on their ships early because of forecasted rough winds picking up and a bad weather front.
Those on board the Norwegian Spirit, scheduled to leave at 4pm, were told to get back on board by 3pm because of impending weather conditions, while those on the Disney Magic were also told return at 3pm, although the ship had not been originally due to leave until 5pm. This was also attributed to the weather. Passengers of Carnival Miracle, which was due to leave at 4pm, were not told anything about bad weather, but were informed to return to the ship at 3pm.
It is not known whether Zaandam passengers were informed of adverse weather conditions.
However, it is believed that all passengers were queuing to get on the last cruise tenders to their ships at 3pm.
Some ships left in early to mid afternoon such as Norwegian Majesty at 3pm, Century, at 3.30pm, and Grandeur of the Seas, which departed at 1pm. These were not affected by changed departure times.
Most passengers managed to avail of island tours, going snorkelling, or visiting island attractions such as Stingray City and the Sandbar, Hell or the Turtle Farm.
However some afternoon snorkel and Stingray City trips were cancelled.
Disney Magic passenger Lisa Loveday had booked a snorkel trip for noon on board the ship, but when she discovered it was cancelled she managed to independently book a morning one when she disembarked. Morning trips booked on board the ship had not been cancelled, she said.
According to the Port Authority of the Cayman Islands, it is up to the Captain of each ship to make the call on whether it visits Grand Cayman on scheduled days and whether it leaves earlier than scheduled.
The Port Authority said it expected scheduled ships this morning as usual, unless informed otherwise by the cruise lines.
When waters are too choppy for cruise ships in George Town Spotts Landing is usually used. However, Spotts Landing cannot be used for disembarkation until it comes up to the special security standards. The dock can only be used for emergencies.
According to the Meteorological Office a cold front moved over the Cayman Islands yesterday and was set to move over Jamaica this morning. Yesterday was to be partly cloudy skies with winds moving North to North East at 10 to 15 knots, becoming North Easterly at 15 to 20 knots last night. Waves were to become rough last night and be four to six feet high.
Five cruise ships were expected into Grand Cayman this morning: Imagination, Inspiration, Costa Allegra, Voyager of the Seas and Grand Princess.