The perception of the Cayman Islands’ post-Ivan looks quite sunny with only a few clouds dotted here and there when viewed through tourists’ postings on a computer monitor.
A posting from last month on the travel website www.fodors.com reads, ‘I just returned from nine days in paradise! What a wonderful place to unwind and relax. The water was so beautiful and clear that I felt like I was in a heated swimming pool with sand on the bottom. The natives couldn’t have been any friendlier and I found it very easy to get around without renting a car.’
The visitor stayed at the Westin Casuarina Resort, describing it as ‘beautiful’ and a wide range of restaurants on Grand Cayman are praised.
Another posting replies to this one, saying, ‘Strange thing is – we went to Mexico instead of Grand Cayman this year due to Hurricane Ivan and ended up having to leave Mexico early due to Hurricane Emily!’
Another posting points out ‘Stingray City was an experience you don’t want to miss.’
Cayman Airways praised
National flag carrier Cayman Airways also gets some good feedback on the site in response to a query asking if anyone has had an experience with the airline.
‘We are very happy to fly Cayman out of Chicago now that they offer a direct flight. They still offer a meal and free rum punch.’
Another one reads, ‘Great no frills airline with very friendly staff. I strongly support them because they are the national carrier to the Cayman Islands and they proved invaluable when it came to transporting people and supplies after Hurricane Ivan . . .’
Yet another states, ‘Just returned from Grand Cayman and we flew Cayman Airways. It was one of the best experiences we have had in recent history on an airline. We actually left earlier than scheduled (everyone was on board and ready to go) – the flight was extremely smooth – the flight attendants were friendly – and yes, they provide complimentary rum punch, fruit punch and soft drinks. I would not hesitate to fly this airline again.’
Another posting suggests Grand Cayman to a couple seeking a honeymoon destination.
‘I would suggest Grand Cayman for the snorkelling/diving. It’s wonderful and the water is so clear . . . This island is definitely not over commercialised – nice shops in George Town but not too many. It’s busy there when the cruise ships are in town but if you go around 3.00 most ships are getting ready to leave by then.’
One tourist posted a log following a five-day stay at the Marriott Beach Resort.
‘The newly renovated Marriott is very nice and the staff was very friendly as was everyone we met on the island. Their beach area is not too wide, but accommodated everyone nicely . . . The water there is a beautiful shade of blue and clear – you could see fish swimming right off shore.’
However, this posting goes on to point out Ivan damage is still in evidence around the island.
‘I was amazed at the amount of damage that still remains from Hurricane Ivan – it will take years for the island to recover. There are still many ruined houses and apartment complexes waiting to be demolished. A lot of tall pine trees were completely stripped of their branches except on one side’
Another notes, ‘Just returned from a seven night stay at the Marriott Courtyard in Grand Cayman (June 2). The weather was wonderful and although the damage by Ivan is still evident, the island is beautiful and the warm Caribbean water is turquoise and perfect!’
Another posting brings up an increase in crime in Grand Cayman following Hurricane Ivan and one reply states, ‘We were there this spring and had a great time . . . even with the post-Ivan crime increase, I still felt safer in Grand Cayman than here (the US). Hopefully Grand Cayman will get the crime stopped ASAP, I would hate to see it start to have the problems that the other islands have. That’s a major reason we pay a premium to vacation in the Cayman Islands.
Another posting promotes Cayman as a family destination. ‘Our family also loved Seven Mile Beach in the Caymans. The island is arid and Seven Mile Beach is not remotely ‘Caribbean feeling’ as we prefer, but the water and beach are out of this world. Teens can jet ski, parasail, swim with stingrays . . . just about anything to keep them happy, and trust me, when they see that water, not much else compares.’