The visit of small cruise ship MS Europa to Cayman Brac earlier this week saw about 300 cruise passengers spend a day on the island.
District Administration’s Marketing and Promotions Manager Chevala Burke said at least 300 people disembarked the ship when it called Tuesday, including crew members. There were 331 passengers on the cruise ship.
Ms Burke explained that a tourist manager for the ship came ashore to hire buses because of a lack of transportation on the island.
Two school buses were hired to transport guests between the Creek Dock and the beach. Permission was gained, she said, to use La Esperanza beach, a private beach just east of the Public Beach.
Tour operators on Cayman Brac ran their own nature and island tours for the cruise passengers, she said.
Brac Craft makers had set up four stalls at the dock and were selling wares such as artwork, Caymanite and thatch-work.
The ship arrived shortly before 7am and was due to leave port again at 5pm.
Ms Burke said she believed the feedback from tourists had been very positive and people on the Brac were also pleased with the day, with many passing by the dock specifically to see the activity from the visiting guests.
The success of the visit could encourage more cruise ships to visit Cayman Brac in future, she said.
‘We’re on the radar now so I think well see some more,’ she said.
Some local businesses said they did not get any or many customers from the ship. However, most admitted they would like to see additional small cruise ships visit the Brac, and voiced a hope for more business from future ships.
Manager of the Captain’s Table Restaurant Lenny Neckerman said he got four customers from the ship but the late notice of the ship coming could have had something to do with this.
Aunt Sha’s Restaurant experienced a tourist trade on Tuesday morning but could not be sure if they were cruise tourists.
Although Ethan Dilbert of La Esperanza Restaurant did not get any cruise customers, he said if more ships come, perhaps he could get some extra business.
Doyle Dixon of Four Ds Car Rentals only got one rental from the day but said he would welcome more ships back.
But Todd Grant, manager of CB Rent-a-Car said his business would not get much trade from cruise ships in general as his business is west on the island, too far from the dock.
This was the first cruise ship to call to Cayman Brac in recent years. Previous potential calls did not work out because of transportation issues on the Brac and weather conditions.
Cayman Brac does not offer the same consistency of calm waters that George Town offers on Grand Cayman.
MS Europa is from Germany’s luxury Hapag Lloyd Cruises. The stop was part of the ship’s 15-day Caribbean cruise.