Update, 3:30pm: The Ministry of Tourism confirmed that water will not be distributed to tourists in George Town every day but only when large numbers of cruise visitors are in port. Volunteers from the Association for Advancement of Cruise Tourism and by Department of Tourism dock staff will hand out the water free of charge.
Thirsty tourists from cruise ships will be able to avail of water as they prepare to join the long queues to reboard their ships, courtesy of the Ministry of Tourism.
Making water available to cruise ship visitors in George Town from Wednesday, 16 January, when seven ships carrying almost 18,000 passengers, is an effort to make “immediate improvements” to the cruise visitors’ experience, according to the ministry.
A statement from the tourism ministry, released Tuesday morning, said that while the arrival of 18,000 visitors was “great news based on the high number of cruise visitors in port on a single day, the Ministry of Tourism also saw this as an opportunity to improve the experience of cruise visitors while in port”.
It said Minister of Tourism Cline Glidden instructed his ministry to partner with the private sector to provide water distribution at points along Harbour Drive on the George Town waterfront, “This water distribution is a fairly simple improvement that will enhance the cruise visitor experience as they will undoubtedly have to form long lines in order to be tendered back to ship,” the statement continued.
This move follows an announcement by Mr. Glidden at a government press conference last week that a new procurement process to build cruise berthing facilities in Cayman would be followed in accordance with international best practice. As that procurement process and any subsequent establishment of cruise ship berths is destined to take some time, in the meantime, the government is seeking other ways to make cruise ship passengers more comfortable, including providing improved shade and seating.
“Looking to interim improvements to the cruise visitor experience, the Port Authority of the Cayman Islands has examined the Royal Watler Cruise Terminal and identified physical improvements. First, the Port Authority is currently in the process of acquiring new shading to replace the tents that are now worn. Second, the Port Authority is also currently in the process of acquiring benches to replace the concrete blocks, which will be replaced with the current tents that are in place,” the statement from the ministry read.
It added: “The Ministry of Tourism is currently in the process of identifying other improvements to the cruise visitor experience and will be discussing additional improvements at the meetings on 17-18 January with the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association.”
Mr. Glidden said the ministry would keep the public up to date on any further improvements that were identified, until “there is a proper cruise berthing facility in place”.