Weather keeps cruise tourists off island

Strong winds and choppy seas kept scheduled cruise ships from stopping in Grand Cayman Thursday and kept tourists off the local beaches. 

Three cruise ships planned to stop in George Town Thursday but all had been canceled, said Harrison Ebanks with the Port Authority. There is one cruise ship expected Friday, weather permitting. 

The bad weather is also impacting local businesses, including dive operators. 

Sergio Coni, with Don Foster’s Dive, said his company canceled its dive trips Thursday because they were all scheduled for cruise ship passengers. He said the dive shop plans to run dives Friday on the south side of Grand Cayman from Red Bay. 

“It just so happens that this week, the cruise ships are on the lighter side,” Mr. Coni said, so his company did not lose too much business. Any trips off North Side or to Stingray City would be canceled in this weather, he said. 

Ronnie Anglin, with Captain Marvin’s, said all of his company’s tours were canceled Thursday and he wasn’t sure about the rest of the week. “There’s a good possibility that we’ll lose two or three days in a row,” he said, if the weather continues as forecast through Saturday. 

The cruise port may have been quiet, but downtown George Town was busy with stay-over tourists looking for something to do away from the choppy waves along Seven Mile Beach. 

Waves came in against the ironshore in downtown George Town, sending spray up and, at times, over the one-story buildings along the water. 

Stephen Heffner and a friend were taking pictures of the waves along the waterfront while, they said, their wives were shopping across the street. “Today, we were trying to decide between a helicopter ride or the submarine trip, and then had a reservation to take a Red Sail trip to Rum Point for dinner tonight. Now that’s all off the table,” he said. 

“But there’s plenty to do,” Mr. Heffner said. The group plans to drive out to East End and eventually make their way to Rum Point for dinner. 

Forecast 

The clouds and rain should move out by Friday morning but the wind and high seas will stick around until late Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.  

A cold front from the north moved in this week, bringing rain and winds blowing at more than 20 knots.  

The cold front is not expected to bring much additional rain, with the exception of a few passing showers. However, Cayman Islands National Weather Service Chief Meteorologist Kerry Powery said breezy conditions will continue through Saturday, with winds of 23 to 29 miles per hour.  

Already on Thursday, gusts of more than 30mph were recorded on Grand Cayman. 

“We had a gust of 28 knots (32mph) recorded at 7 a.m.,” he said.  

The windy conditions will create rough seas, with waves of 6 to 8 feet. A small craft warning is in effect through Saturday. “It depends on the size of the craft,” Mr. Powery said of the warning. “Small craft should really stay in harbor, but with larger boats and ships, it’s the captain’s decision.” 

Forecaster Gilbert Miller said the National Weather Service is watching the system. “These systems always either slow down or speed up,” he said, so the forecast can change over the coming days. 

Mr. Miller added that forecasters are also keeping an eye on another system that could bring more cold weather in the middle of next week. 

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Waves smash against the ironshore in downtown George Town on Thursday as high seas and winds pushing 30 knots kept cruise tourists off the island. – PHOTO: TANEOS RAMSAY
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  1. Such a shame we don’t have a cruise ship dock in a protected area. We wouldn’t have lost a very busy day this week. So we got one ship Friday that was able to come.We have 2 months left March and April left of the season. Then from May 1st till Oct 31st 10 days per month of cruise ships.
    What happened to the cruise ships? We did well last year but now this year less ships for the summer.
    Is it because no one knows if the EIA will say build or can’t build ? Suppose they say , NO? Will we do another EIA for……….? Suppose that one says ,NO. Will we not build a Cruise line docking facility?
    Maybe the Cruise Lines are fed up and are saying NO. Lets start looking elsewhere and see if other islands have the same issues?

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