Cruise lines that once rerouted their ships to Cayman in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria are now returning to their original calls.
The shift in the flow of calls is being felt locally.
Acting Port Authority Director Joseph Woods, in response to questions from the Cayman Compass, said he believed Cayman has lost the extra ships that were diverted after hurricanes in the British Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos.
“The ships that called here after the islands in the eastern Caribbean were hit by hurricanes have all resumed their original itineraries,” he said.
Earlier this month, the Tourism Ministry issued its latest cruise ship statistics, which showed a 6% decline for the first half of 2019.
“Other than January and April 2019, which saw increases of 24.12% and 2.17%, respectively, cruise passenger arrivals have declined for every month of this year when compared to 2018. For the month of August 2019, cruise passenger arrivals were down 7.5% compared to August 2018,” the ministry statement said.
Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell, in a statement earlier this month, said the decline in cruise arrivals was “disappointing but not unexpected”.
“The reality is that our economy is service based, and we depend on the market being brought to our shores. If that market declines, we don’t have many options for our people to fall back on to maintain themselves and their families”, the minister said.
Conversely, air arrivals have continued to grow. Tourism figures showed a total of 37,356 stayover visitors arrived in August, an increase of almost 10% over August 2018.
Cruise lines resume Bahamas calls
Meanwhile, as islands in the Bahamas continue the path to recovery following Hurricane Dorian, cruise ships are resuming calls to bolster the economy there.
The strongest storm on record to hit the Bahamas, Dorian killed at least 50 people and left thousands homeless when it struck in early September.
Following the passage of hurricanes Irma and Maria, Cayman saw a jump in the number of cruise ships calling here. However, this was not the case when it came to the Bahamas, according to the acting Port Authority director.
“We have not had any from the Bahamas. Nassau was untouched and that is where the majority of cruise lines call,” said Woods.
Last week, Carnival Cruise Line announced the return of its call to Freeport in the Bahamas, with the first ship being Carnival Pride.
The company said it expects to make a total of 39 calls in Freeport, which will bring more than 100,000 visitors to the Bahamas by year’s end.
Tourism Ministry stats
Overall cruise ship arrivals down 6% in first half of 2019
January and April 2019 recorded increases of 24.12% and 2.17%, respectively
In August 2019, cruise passenger arrivals dropped 7.5%
August saw an increase of almost 10% in air arrivals
37,356 stayover passengers arrived by air