Royal Caribbean, Carnival confirm policy for larger ships
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Carnival Corp. have confirmed they have no plans to use tenders to service the larger Oasis-style cruise ships.
Adam Goldstein, president and chief operating officer of Royal Caribbean, and Giora Israel, senior vice president of global port and destination development for Carnival, released statements through the Cayman Islands Ministry of Tourism dismissing suggestions that the 6,000-passenger mega-ships would use tenders.
Opponents of new cruise berthing facilities in George Town harbor have suggested an upgraded tender service could be used instead of building new piers. But tourism bosses say if Cayman wants to attract the larger ships, piers are the only option.
Minister of Tourism Moses Kirkconnell said cruise lines had confirmed during the annual Florida Caribbean Cruise Association in Mexico this month that the Oasis class vessels would not utilize tenders to transfer passengers ashore.
Mr. Goldstein, of Royal Caribbean, said, “When Royal Caribbean International launched Oasis Class ships six years ago, it was never intended that these vessels would be tendered. Royal has never tendered these ships and we have no plans for tendering them in the future.”
Mr. Israel, of Carnival Corp., said the cruise line was unlikely to use tenders for any of its new mega-ships, which will come into service from 2018.
“The key for a smooth operation of large ships in transit ports is the availability of piers or berthing facilities,” he said. “The itinerary planning executives at our various cruise brands that will operate those ships in the future will consider the availability of piers or berthing facilities as a key element in considering a destination and are unlikely to consider tender ports for such class of vessels.”
He added, “Carnival Corporation announced earlier this year the construction program for a series of larger ships, the first to be delivered in 2018. These state-of-the art ships will have a capacity of over 6,000 passengers …
“The ships will require piers or berthing facilities that can efficiently operate in all the destinations where they will operate in the future.”
He did not say where the ships would be used.
Mr. Kirkconnell said Carnival and Royal Caribbean accounted for approximately 82 percent of Cayman’s cruise business in 2014.
“The Ministry of Tourism reached out to them about their future plans and have been advised that tendering is not something they are willing to consider in the future …,” he said.
“The cruise industry is transitioning to mega-ships and the major lines all have vessels currently under construction.”
There are currently two Oasis class ships, the Oasis of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas, operating in the Caribbean. Carnival is commissioning a third ship, Harmony of the Seas, in the same size category, though it will operate, at least initially, in the Mediterranean.
Enticing mega-ships to Cayman has been cited among the reasons for a dock to be built.