May cruise numbers spike

Swine flu diverts ships from Mexico

The Cayman Islands experienced a 17.8 per cent increase in cruise arrivals in May, primarily because of ships diverting from Mexico due to the H1N1 virus outbreak in that country.

However, air arrivals for the same month showed a continuation of the downward spiral they have been experiencing every month since September 2008 – falling by 16.7 per cent last month.

The increase in cruise arrivals had not been seen for the past two years. A consistent decline in cruise arrivals in the Cayman Islands began in early 2007.

Cruise lines suspended calls to Mexico shortly after the first rash of swine flu cases were reported there. As a result, the Cayman Islands gained extra cruise calls.

In May, cruise passenger numbers increased by 18,000 from the previous May, to 119,329.

Manager Cruise Operations and Security with the Cayman Islands Port Authority Joseph Woods said that during the month of May there were 11 extra calls from Carnival ships diverted from Mexican ports, bringing an additional 25,159 passengers to Cayman.

‘When the cruise lines announced that they were temporarily refraining from calling at Mexican ports due to the outbreak of swine flu, (the Port Authority of the Cayman Islands) offered them the ability to call at Cayman instead,’ he explained.

Mr. Woods added that in

June Cayman received an additional eight calls from Carnival ships, which added an additional 22,474 passengers to Cayman’s figures. Between May and June 2009, the total additional passengers received were 47,633 from the 19 additional calls.

Carnival resumed calls to Mexican ports in late June.

For the year to date, cruise arrivals are down 10.4 per cent with 84,265 less passengers than the 808,354 seen for the same period in 2008.

Air arrivals for the month of May were 21,438, down from 25,722 in May of 2008.

Within the key markets, the US was down 17.2 per cent from 2008, Europe was down 19.6 per cent and Canada was down 15 per cent.

For the year to date, air arrivals are down 13.2 per cent, down 19,859 from 2008 to 130,491.

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