The Cayman Islands is a popular destination for Caribbean cruises. Now, the islands are considering closing their ports to cruise ships even longer than planned due to concerns about pollution and safety – at least until there’s more clarity on how much money will be needed to clean up the reefs.
The “ports closed to cruise ships 2021” is a recent announcement from the Grand Cayman’s tourism board. The board has stated that they will be closing the ports to cruise ships even longer than expected.
With prudence in mind, the Cayman Islands has pushed back the dates for the phased border reopening plan, potentially affecting cruise liner arrivals at this famous Caribbean port.
This is related to the reappearance of community spread on the islands, as well as unknown COVID-19 numbers aboard ships, the spread of the Delta variety, and breakthrough cases among vaccinated passengers.
Dates for reopening the border have been shifted.
Increased community transmission of COVID-19, particularly growing breakthrough cases on cruise ships, has led the Border Reopening Plan to be somewhat delayed, according to Cayman News Service, with Phase 4 commencing November 20 and Phases 5 and 6 still to be announced.
For vaccinated passengers from nations with a minimum 60 percent vaccination rate for the first dose of an authorized vaccine, Phase 4 includes the relaxation of quarantine restrictions.
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/ericlaudonien
Phase 3, which started on September 9, allowed for a limited return of tourist visitation, however neither Phase 3 nor Phase 4 allow cruise passengers to enter. Cruise travel will be prohibited throughout Phase 5, but it is expected to return in Phase 6, pending additional evaluation of the situation.
For the time being, no date has been announced for the start of Phase 5 or Phase 6, while Phase 5 is projected to begin in January 2022. With no date set for Phase 6, it might be many months before cruises to the island country are allowed to resume.
On its border reopening website, the Cayman Islands government writes, “During the last phase of COVID-19 review continues in the local and international settings to decide when and how to proceed with further easing of limitations, including for cruise tourism.”
The final evaluation had been scheduled on January 27, but it is now likely to be postponed.
It’s difficult to figure out how many cruise ships there are.
Part of the reason for the caution in restarting cruises to the Cayman Islands is that, despite stringent safeguards such as vaccine requirements, pre-cruise testing, medical inspections, face mask rules, contact tracking, and increased cleaning routines, outbreaks aboard cruise ships persist.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted, “Despite the deployment of tight processes by cruise ship operators to avoid the introduction of COVID-19 from passengers, ensuring passengers are uninfected upon embarkation has proved challenging.”
“Passengers have been sick on the day of embarkation and denying symptoms to the cruise company, or passengers have been symptomatic for many days on board before reporting their symptoms to the medical facility.”
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/Angela N Perryman
According to CDC statistics, between June 26 and October 21, 1,359 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infections among passengers and crew members were recorded aboard cruise ships traveling from the United States.
When compared to the anticipated 600,000 passengers who traveled between June and October, just around half of one percent of cruise ship passengers tested positive for COVID-19.
Simultaneously, community transmission in the Cayman Islands has increased marginally, with a three-day total of 678 positives recorded from November 5-8. Six hundred and sixty-nine of the cases are locals, with just nine tourists testing positive. Further restrictions on tourists will guarantee that no new cases are imported into the country until community transmission rates have returned to normal.
According to Our World in Data, 82 percent of Cayman Island inhabitants were properly vaccinated against COVID-19 as of November 5.
Alternatives are being investigated in the Cayman Islands.
The Cayman Countries, which originally imposed a ban on cruise ship travel in August and extended it until the end of 2021, has been one of the most cautious of the Caribbean islands in reopening to tourists as the epidemic improves. The Cayman Islands, unlike other islands that are highly reliant on cruise tourists, have alternative economic choices.
The Cayman Islands have booming banking and construction businesses in addition to tourism travel, which attracts hundreds of thousands of land-based tourists each year.
Grand Cayman Authorities’ rendering
Furthermore, the Cayman Islands has been hesitant to proceed with large-scale pier building projects that may harm its fragile marine habitat. The nation’s cruise-based tourist business is becoming increasingly constrained due to a lack of adequate dock facilities to handle ever-larger cruise ships.
Also see: What to Do in Grand Cayman While on a Cruise.
Activists in the Cayman Islands are likewise concerned about cruise ship emissions and the potential harm they may do to air quality and other aspects of the Caribbean environment. The government of the country has no plans to increase port infrastructure at this time, although it may examine policy adjustments regarding the size and frequency of ships allowed to visit.
While ship travel remains prohibited, the need to solve environmental problems has waned, but many in this gorgeous Caribbean island remain concerned.
The “grand cayman travel restrictions” is a new law that has been passed by the government of Grand Cayman. The law will make it so that cruise ships cannot dock in the city for longer than two hours at a time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Grand Cayman closed to cruise ships?
A: As of May, 2018, Grand Cayman has been closed to cruise ships.
Is Grand Cayman open to tourists now?
A: Yes, the island is now open to tourists.
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