The Cayman Islands has for years been a top Caribbean cruise destination, but that status will not continue when sailings resume sometime this year. The country’s premier announced this past week that cruise ships will not return to the territory in 2021.
Alden McLaughlin, the Cayman Islands premier, said in a news conference that although he is “optimistic” the territory’s vaccine program will enable the resumption of some tourism activity in March, cruise travel will not be a part of the initial equation.
Cruising “is not on our radar at all at this stage,” McLaughlin said in a local news report. He added that he does not anticipate cruise tourism to the country resuming “on any sort of significant level before next year. The cruise ship business is not really within our contemplation at this stage.”
In August 2020, the Cayman Islands became one of the few Caribbean destinations to formally close its harbor to cruise traffic for the remainder of the year.
The 2021 shutdown will cost the destination the lion’s share of its annual visitors and subtract millions of dollars from cruise-reliant tourism businesses as the Cayman Islands hosted 1.83 million cruise ship visitors in 2019, the last full year of cruise activity. The total ranked the Cayman Islands third in cruise arrivals among Caribbean nations tracked by the Caribbean Tourism Organization.
Virtually all of the major cruise lines operating from U.S. ports have canceled sailings at least through this spring. On Tuesday, Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd. officials announced voyages aboard its Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara brands have been canceled through April 30.
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