The first cruise ship to call to Cayman Brac in the past few years was scheduled to call there today.
That is if all went according to plan, and weather permitting.
According to Manager Cruise Operations and Security with the Port Authority Joseph Woods, there have not been any cruise calls to Cayman Brac in at least the past three years.
‘There were some interested in calling there, but for various reasons it didn’t happen,’ he said. Reasons have included transportation issues on Cayman Brac and weather, he said.
‘I’m praying the weather holds out for this visit so we can test this and see how things work out,’ he said.
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.
Creek Dock on Cayman Brac is up to International Ship and Port Facility standards, Mr. Woods explained.
However, if weather is rough, ships intending to visit Cayman Brac are left with no choice but to cruise on by.
The ship scheduled to visit, MS Europa from Germany’s luxury Hapag Lloyd Cruises, has a capacity for 408 passengers, excluding crew, and last Thursday District Administration’s Marketing and Promotion’s Manager Chevala Burke was trying to get confirmation of exactly how many passengers were to be on the ship when it called at Cayman Brac.
The stop would be part of the ship’s 15 day Caribbean cruise.
The MS Europa, says the cruise line’s website, is the fleet’s flagship and sets international standards: it is the only cruise liner worldwide to have been awarded the coveted distinction of five-star plus seven times in a row by the Berlitz Cruise Guide 2007.
It is understood that this ship will bring in its own tenders to transport passengers from the ship to the dock in Cayman Brac.
Noting that details of the visit were still being fine tuned, Ms Burke said, ‘We do need more facilities on the island but we feel we have enough to handle this visit’.
She listed some of the activities that would be available for passengers to partake in: cars or scooters can be rented for island exploration; craft vendors will sell their wares; stores can be browsed; nature and island tours are available; food can be sampled and the beach experienced.
‘We would like them to experience all the island has to offer,’ said Ms Burke.
She noted that this visit would be a start for the Brac in terms of any potential for more regular cruise visits.
At the recent Florida Caribbean Cruise Association’s conference in Grand Cayman Sister Islands’ MLA Moses Kirkconnell made a presentation to the FCCA on the possibility of regular visits from smaller cruise ships to Cayman Brac.