Grand Cayman loses cruise calls

Royal Caribbean International Cruise Lines is cutting 60 calls of its ships to the Cayman Islands over the next year.

This is because of redeployment of the vessels to other areas, and, according to Port Authority Manager Cruise Operations and Security Joseph Woods, is not a cause for much concern.

He pointed to the fact that 60 calls per year translates to only one call per week.

Mr. Woods noted that the ships that are being redeployed are smaller ships whereas new ships that Royal Caribbean is adding to the Western Caribbean route, which includes Grand Cayman, are bigger.

In the cruise industry often ships get redeployed and others are brought in, he said.

Some recent media coverage has pointed to a weak demand for the Caribbean market – a problem affecting the entire cruise industry.

Royal Caribbean had not responded by press time to queries as to whether weak demand has anything to do with the ships being redeployed from the Western Caribbean route.

However, in the next few years, all three Royal Caribbean’s Freedom class ships, their largest, at 160,000 gross tons, are slated for regular Western Caribbean routes, stopping at Grand Cayman. The ships are Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas and Independence of the Seas.

Freedom of the seas already alternates each week between eastern and western Caribbean itineraries.

Liberty of the Seas, the cruise line’s newest ship, will sail alternating Eastern and Western itineraries from Miami.

Independence of the Seas debuts in the US in November 2008 and will offer alternating weeks of Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises.

As for the ships being re-deployed, it is understood the Explorer of the Seas, at 138,000 gross tons, is to be redeployed to New Jersey and do Eastern/Southern Caribbean, Bermuda and Canadian routes from later this month.

Legend of the Seas, at 70,000 gross tons is being redeployed first to go to Santa Domingo in the Dominican Republic from December where it will do Southern Caribbean and transatlantic cruises.

Rhapsody of the Seas, at 78,500 gross tons, is to be sent to Asia late this year.

The Zenith, a Celebrity Cruise ship (part of Royal Caribbean Cruises) has been sent to sister-line Spanish-based Pullmantar.

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