Liberty makes inaugural Cayman call

Captain of Royal Caribbean’s newest ship Liberty of the Seas described the inaugural call to Grand Cayman as nearly perfect, but noted it would be better if passengers could walk directly on and off from shore.

Captain Hernan Zini spoke to those invited guests from the Cayman Islands who went onboard the ship Wednesday for its inaugural cruise call to Grand Cayman.

Sharing the title of world’s largest cruise ship with sister ship, Freedom of the Seas, Liberty has a gross tonnage of 160,000, and will call every second week to the port of Grand Cayman on its western itinerary.

Mr. Zini noted that both Grand Cayman and the day’s weather conditions were beautiful and the only thing that would make it better would be if passengers could walk directly onto the ship without the need for tenders, hinting at the cruise line’s desire for berthing facilities.

Negotiations are ongoing between the Cayman Islands government and the cruise lines for the project to build berthing facilities in George Town.

Those who went on board the ship included Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts, Speaker of the House Edna Moyle and Member of the Legislative Assembly Osbourne Bodden, along with senior civil servants and representatives from business organisations such as the Cayman Islands Tourism Association and the Chamber of Commerce.

‘It is very nice for us to take the newest Royal Caribbean addition to the fleet, and not only the newest but the largest ship in the world and most forward thinking ship in the world to one of the most beautiful destinations in the Caribbean, Grand Cayman,’ Mr. Zini said.

Manager Cruise Operations and Security with the Cayman Islands Port Authority Joseph Woods welcomed the ship’s first cruise to Cayman.

‘Royal Caribbean and the Cayman Islands have had a long and successful relationship together and we are indeed very happy that they have chosen Cayman for all the newest and grandest ships as a port of call and we are trusting that this relationship will continue,’ he said.

Mr. Woods gave apologies for Minister of Tourism Charles Clifford who was unable to go onboard the ship because of the conflicting schedule with the Sustainable Tourism Conference being held on Grand Cayman this week.

Mr. Woods participated in a plaque exchange with Mr. Zini, as did the Deputy Collector of Customs Jeff Jackson, Chief Immigration Officer Franz Manderson and Colin Reid of Bodden Shipping Agency.

Deputy Postmaster General Anthony Williams also exchanged tokens of appreciation with the captain.

Vice President of Government Relations with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Michael Ronan said it has always been a pleasure to bring the newest and most exciting vessels and to combine them with the preferred destinations such as Grand Cayman so that the vacation experience for passengers is optimum.

He said the cruise line was looking ahead to planning its next generation of vessels, the even larger Genesis class, and to incorporate Grand Cayman into its plan for the cruise line’s strategic future.

With a capacity of 3,634 guests, double-occupancy, Liberty features cruise-industry innovations such as the FlowRider surf simulator, cantilevered whirlpools suspended 112 feet above the ocean, the H2O Zone water park and the Royal Promenade entertainment boulevard. The Presidential Family Suite, which sleeps up to 14 people, is another Freedom-class concept catering to multi-generational family-cruising. In addition, guests will enjoy more than 20 restaurants and lounges aboard Liberty, as well as the line’s award-winning entertainment.