A year on from the last cruise ship visit to Cayman Brac another made a day trip to the second largest of the Cayman Islands last week.
Approximately 75 cruise passengers disembarked the luxury cruise liner Hebridean Spirit in Cayman Brac Wednesday morning for a day of sea and sand, nature walks, a visit to the parrot reserve, or diving.
Some 85 passengers were on the ship, explained District Administration’s Marketing and Promotions Manager Chevala Burke.
‘I spoke with the tour manager on board the ship and everyone was very pleased with the visit. In particular the passengers loved the food on the beach and the parrot reserve,’ she said.
The ship came into the Creek Dock port area after 8am and passengers began to be ferried ashore on the ships own tender boats from 9.15am.
Passengers were taken to the public beach by taxi and tour operators waiting at the dock.
‘The taxi and tour operators were really pleased because they got some much needed business,’ said Ms Burke.
As a luxury cruise line, the beach and tour transportation and the food on the beach was paid for by the cruise line and not the passengers themselves, Ms Burke explained.
She noted that at the beach a craft market with local vendors’ wares was set up. Also, an information table was set up by the Department of Tourism and the District Administration’s marketing and promotions unit.
The cruise line had also pre-arranged for food and refreshments to be made available to its passengers on the beach. Two local restaurants provided this. Golden Jerk served up jerk chicken and Aunt Sha’s Kitchen served fried fritters and fresh lemonade.
Restrooms, showers, cabanas, tents and extra seats were all available on the beach for the passengers’ use, said Ms Burke.
Some passengers also took advantage of free nature tours around the public beach area and of a tour of the parrot reserve courtesy of Nature Cayman.
Three passengers also did a dive with a local dive operation, Ms Burke noted.
At the end of the day the last tender boat left at 5pm and the ship departed at 6pm.
There was much interest from the local public, said Ms Burke, with cars turning out to the dock to view the ship, tenders and the cruise passengers.
Another small cruise ship, Sea Cloud, had been due to visit Cayman Brac on 2 January but because of weather conditions that was not possible.
The visit of small cruise ship MS Europa to Cayman Brac in January 2007 saw about 300 cruise passengers spend a day on the island. That was the last visit before this most recent one.
The next scheduled visit for a cruise ship to Cayman Brac will be next month, 24 March, when the MS Delphin, with a passenger capacity of 500, is scheduled to visit.
Although Ms Burke said some are for and some are against cruise ships visiting Cayman Brac, the island is most suited to small ships.
Assisting Ms Burke with the coordination of the cruise passengers on the beach was Derrylee Martin, assistant programme coordinator with Heritage House.
There to greet passengers when they arrived on Cayman Brac was District Commissioner Ernie Scott, Deputy District Commissioner Mark Tibbetts, Sister Islands MLA Moses Kirckconnell and Cayman Islands Investment Bureau Business Advisor Lolita Bodden.
Also checking in on the activities during the day was MLA Julianna O’Connor-Connolly and offering a helping hand during the day was former Junior Minister of Tourism Nicholas DaCosta in the absence of current Junior Minister Myfanwy Leggatt, who was on Grand Cayman.