After reading the 24 Sept. article by James Whittaker, (‘Cruise line boss claims piers could mean 2-5 million passengers’), I was finally inspired to write this letter to the Compass.
From the standpoint of an American having Cayman Residency and enjoying this island since 1980, I say, “Who wants more cruise visitors to our island?”
Michael Bayley, one of the partners of the Verdant Isle consortium subsidising the proposed cruise dock, is projecting 2.5 million cruise visitors (or 700,000 additional passengers) per year to Cayman. Can you imagine the crowds on the sidewalks at the harbour?
With the estimated 1.7 million to 1.9 million passengers annually over the last three years, our stayover visitors have intentionally not gone to town when cruise ships are anchored in or expected in the harbor.
Gone are the days when we always dressed in a skirt when going into town. Sadly, cruise ships unload bikini-strutting females (some of whom shouldn’t be seen in a bikini) and males baring their armpits and/or bulging bellies in tank tops. Do the shopkeepers really believe these people are going to increase their revenue enough to endure the construction chaos of the proposed $250 million dock?
And the restaurateurs are dreaming if they believe the increased numbers of people slogging along the streets are going to stop in for a meal when they fill their stomachs three and four times a day on their ship. I do not believe that a new dock will boost tourism spending.
Additionally, I fail to understand how the dock will double the volume of cargo capacity as Mr. Bayley claims. Little has been revealed about a larger dock for cargo ships if this is what he means!
Personally, I’ve been on cruises where the ship pulls into a dock and, upon disembarking, one must walk about one quarter of a mile to the land in order to find a tour bus, go to a beach, or shop (if there even is a town). On one cruise, I stopped at Grand Cayman and experienced a delightful ride to shore on a tender boat. Some passengers, perhaps from the mid-west, who have never ridden in a small boat, were thrilled to enjoy this added benefit. Who needs a dock?
My dear people of Cayman, please don’t be bulldozed by Mr. Bayley’s enthusiasm and promises. Stay true to your wonderful country and stand strong against more changes. Vote no to the cruise port.