A technical team from one of the major cruise lines will visit Cayman Brac the second week of December to assess the possibilities of having small cruise ships visit the island on a regular basis.
Leader of Government Business said the development follows a presentation made by Sister Islands MLA Moses Kirkconnell to members of the cruise industry during the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association Conference held on Grand Cayman earlier this month.
‘[The technical team] will go to Cayman Brac to have a serious look at the possibility of having that as a second port of call for cruise ships in the Cayman Islands,’ Mr. Tibbetts said.
The idea would be to route some of the smaller cruise ships – those that carry between 200 and 800 passengers – to Cayman Brac.
‘The comments made to us are that the cruise lines are always looking for another destination,’ Mr. Tibbetts said. ‘If it can happen, it certainly will happen, but I don’t want to make this sound like it’s a done deal.’
Minister of Tourism Charles Clifford said the technical team will look at things like the current infrastructure in Cayman Brac, and what would be needed to bring smaller cruise ships there.
Where the cruise ships would go and how they would offload their passengers would have to be determined.
It is possible that the existing Creek Dock could be used to accept tendered cruise passengers.
Mr. Tibbetts said another possibility was the dock being slowly constructed near the Scott’s cemetery in West End.
‘It’s not so far along that it couldn’t be altered to accommodate the berthing of small ships,’ he said. ‘The water is naturally deep there not far off shore.’
Regardless of which direction a docking facility might go, Mr. Clifford said the level of investment needed would not be at the same level as the Royal Watler cruise berthing facility because the cruise ships coming to the Brac would be much smaller.
Mr. Clifford said another factor that would have to be considered is how many days a year might have favourable weather to allow cruise ships to call on port.
Because of its size and shape, Cayman Brac does not offer the same consistency of calm waters that George Town Harbour offers on Grand Cayman.
Mr. Clifford noted that the cruise line technical team would have to assess the available attractions on Cayman Brac in terms of products and services.
Bringing cruise ships to Cayman Brac would create an opportunity to expand those products and services, Mr. Clifford said.
‘There would be a need for additional food outlets and attractions,’ he said.
Mr. Tibbetts said eco-tourism would also play a big role in developing the tourism product in Cayman Brac.
In addition to diving and snorkelling, other types of eco-tourism attractions in Cayman Brac include rock climbing on the Bluff, nature trails and cave exploring.