Cayman Brac will get weekly visits from an adventure cruise ship, the MS Star Flyer, for the winter season, providing a much-needed boost to the island’s tourist-based economy.
The four-masted, 16-sail ship, which carries around 150 passengers, first visited the Brac in February on a trial basis.
Now the Star Clippers cruise company has decided to add both Grand Cayman and the Brac to its Caribbean itinerary on a consistent basis.
Neil van Neikerk, president of the Sister Islands Tourism Association, welcomed the news, saying it would open up the Brac to new tourists.
“Cayman Brac has long needed fresh exposure to new tourists, and the Star Flyer will hopefully provide fresh eyes who may become stay-over tourists in the future,” he said. “Cruise visitors to the area stimulate the local economy and provide incentive to develop the Brac tourism product further in the future.”
Chevala Burke, marketing and promotions manager in the Department of District Administration, said the Star Flyer has made five trips to the Brac and its representatives were pleased with what the passengers and crew saw.
“Now they have added us to their schedule for the next two years,” she said. “Their trips were very well received by the community, and we are looking forward to them making more regular calls.”
The Star Flyer is a different kind of touring vessel than the large cruise ships that bring thousands of visitors to George Town.
Marketed to higher spending, adventure-seeking tourists, it attempts to follow a less-traveled route, calling at ports like the Brac that can’t support the much larger vessels.
Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell said in February that the ship operates in a niche that is perfect for the Brac.
Tourism on the island has struggled compared to that of Little Cayman and Grand Cayman, where business is booming. The closure of the Alexander Hotel on the Brac earlier this year was the latest blow to the economy.
But officials believe improvements to the airlift into the Brac, and now the confirmation of regular cruise visits, will help turn things around.