On the waterfront

For entrepreneurs who depend on cruise passengers for business, the debate between berthing and tendering boils down to dollars and cents. Basically, do what’s reasonable to keep visitors coming. 

Paperman’s Coffeehouse opened a location on the waterfront just before Christmas, in anticipation that a cruise dock would be built in the foreseeable future. “I am confident that a cruise dock will come to George Town,” manager Paul Storey said. “But it needs to be on an appropriate scale.” 

Mr. Storey said a simple cruise dock should improve visitor numbers, but it doesn’t necessarily make sense to spend hundreds of millions of dollars constructing a huge facility. He suggested that a wiser investment might be to invest in the airport expansion and runway extension, in order to draw more stayover guests. 

Mark Button, owner of Moby Dick Tours, said the hypothetical discussion of the relative merits of berthing and tendering serves no real purpose at this point. 

“For me, the question is, ‘are the cruise ships absolutely dictating whether we need a cruise dock or not?’ The answer is yes,” he said. 

Mr. Button said there appears to be some correlation between having cruise berthing and increasing the number of visitors who come ashore. With the berthing question looming over Cayman for some 15 years, it’s worrisome that the country still doesn’t know what’s going to happen, he said. 

Mr. Storey said, “The tender company does a great job. It’s been a good system for us. It’s unfortunate we’re at a place where the ships have decided they want berthing.”

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