Cruise ships return to port

Cruise tourism took a beating from Hurricane Dean in the form of a potential 16,682 cruise visitors that didn’t make it to our shores, but yesterday three cruise ships were due back in port.

Six cruise ships that had been scheduled to call over Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday earlier this week did not come into port following the storm.

The six ships, Imagination, Inspiration, Enchantment of the Seas, Carnival Legend, Carnival Valor and Carnival Triumph together had a maximum capacity for over 16,000 passengers.

However, on Wednesday, the Port Authority was cleaning up the port in readiness for three of the four scheduled ships due into port on Thursday. The Rhapsody of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas and Carnival Conquest were due in. The fourth scheduled ship, Caribbean Princess would not be in, as it had changed its itinerary prior to the storm, explained Manager Cruise Operations and Security with the Port Authority Joseph Woods. However, it would be back on its next visit.

A press release from the Ministry of Tourism noted that the Port Authority received no significant damage. ‘All key infrastructure is in tact and operational,’ it said.

There was some very minimal damage at the port, in the form of a chain link fence being broken, said Mr. Woods. However that was repaired quickly.

Indeed, even on Wednesday things were returning to normal at the port, with the discharging of one cargo ship, said Mr. Woods.

The cargo warehouse opened Tuesday at noon. Customers were requested to claim their goods.

Meanwhile, attractions on the island are up and running for the cruise tourists.

Boatswain’s Beach, which reported only minor damage to landscaping, reopened Wednesday.

Curator Terrestrial Exhibits Geddes Hislop said that there had been no building damage and all the reptiles, fish and birds were fine.

The only thing that was not operational this week was the salt water snorkel lagoon, which was being cleaned as the pumps were turned off during the storm. However, Mr. Hislop said he expected it would be filtered and operational by the weekend.

The Tourism Attraction Board has advised that all of its attractions, which include Pedro St. James, the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, the Cayman Craft Market and the Hell attraction site, were to be open Thursday, for normal business hours.

Pedro and the Botanic Park suffered merely some wind burning of plants TAB Marketing Executive J.D. Mosley-Matchett said.

Meanwhile, at the Butterfly farm, all is well with the 1,000 or so exotic butterflies numbering about 34 different species, and it is back open for business.

Tour guide Erin Gray explained that before the storm the staff spent about six hours catching the butterflies, which they placed in boxes with food and water and took them inside to the gift shop.

‘We turned the a/c down really low because when it’s cold they don’t move and therefore won’t injure themselves.’

Both the gardens and wire mesh are fine, she said.

Also open are Tortuga Rum Company Ltd. Stores, Island Companies Ltd. stores and Kirk Freeport Ltd. stores.

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