Cold fronts freeze Cayman cruise economy

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Cruise arrivals to Cayman during
February have declined by nearly 8,000 compared to 2009

Statistics released by the Cayman
Islands Department of Tourism showed that during February 2010, 128,994 people
came to Cayman while 136,809 visited the same time last year, a year-on-year
decline of 7,815 incoming passengers. It’s the worst February result since 2001,
which posted 107,463 arrivals.

Nor’wester

The unusually-high number of Nor’westers
had a significant downward impact on cruise arrivals, with a total of 12 calls
being unable to dock due to adverse weather conditions and, in one case, engine
trouble, explained Port Authority Cruise Ship Operations Manager Joseph Woods.

“For February we had projected
155,000 arrivals but we ended up with 128,900 so we lost 28,907. We would have
been on target had it not been for the weather,” he said. Projected arrivals
are based on the capacity of the cruise ships scheduled to call at Cayman.

Calls lost

A call was lost on Tuesday, 2
February, due to Carnival Destiny having engine problems. The weather then took
over to affect arrivals for single ships on, 11, 16, 24 and 25 February. All
four calls had to be cancelled on 23 February and a further two on 28 February
due to the weather, explained Mr Woods.

“Some years you have more Nor’westers
and cold fronts than others. On Tuesday [23 March] we had six ships scheduled
and managed to get four in and another cold front is forecast for Tuesday [31
March].

“Any time we get cold fronts we
have to go to Spotts [dock in Savannah]
but of course sometimes the weather will trip Spotts out too. If we get South-west
winds early in the morning so that the cold front is coming later this
afternoon then Spotts is out,” explained Mr Woods.

According to the Florida-Caribbean
Cruise Association, 87 per cent of cruise passengers come ashore on a
non-berthed, tendered dock call, with the average spend for 2009 visitors to
Cayman being $96.78. The inclement weather during February represented the loss
of approximately $2.4 million from the Cayman economy.

Air arrivals up

Air arrivals during February 2010
were up by 711 compared to 2009 figures. This year, 27,193 people came by airplane
to Cayman whilst in 2009 the figure was 26,482. That’s an increase of 2.68 per
cent.

Of the passengers who came by air,
21,540 originated in the United States,
2,422 from Canada and 1,989
from Europe.

The statistics document says that
the Cayman Islands Immigration Department records every visitor to the island
as a tourist arrival.

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Mother Nature made it difficult of cruise ships to dock in Cayman in February.
Photo: File
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1 COMMENT

  1. Okay, the weather was an issue this time, but crime will be the bigger issue next time and after and after. This must be controlled. Although I have family there, I honestly hate to visit and many more will also.I do not feel safe and avoid the trip.

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