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Grand Cayman set to welcome first cruise ship in 20 months

  • Cruises
  •   11-27-2021  11:59 am
  •   Pax Global Media
Grand Cayman set to welcome first cruise ship in 20 months
Grand Cayman. (File photo)
Pax Global Media

Grand Cayman will welcome its first cruise ship in 20 months as Holland America Line’s (HAL) Nieuw Statendam has been given the green light to call to the island on Dec. 28, 2021, according to reports.

The news was announced last Wednesday (Nov 24) by Cayman Island’s Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan, who noted that strict protocols will be in place for cruise travellers visiting the island.

“Grand Cayman will be the first port of call for Holland America Nieuw Statendam, and the capacity will be limited to 1,600 passengers,” he said. “Guests and crew aboard the ship will be subjected to exactly the same requirements as stay-over visitors, such as pre-arrival testing.”

According to HAL’s negotiated conditions for Grand Cayman, the passenger count must represent 60 per cent of the vessel’s capacity and all guests and crew must have had the final dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to the beginning of the cruise.

In addition, all guests must present a negative viral COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) taken within two days of their embarkation, all guests and crew going ashore must observe local requirements, including wearing face masks and maintaining proper social distancing, and no guests or crew exhibiting any signs of illness will be allowed to go ashore.

Grand Cayman closed to tourism in March of 2020 but reopened its air borders in November.

The destination’s cruise sector hasn’t officially opened just yet – the resumption of cruising to the Cayman Islands had been scheduled under phase 6 of a reopening plan and, currently, the islands are in phase 4.

The destination, which is one of the last Caribbean regions to reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic, appears to be handling the situation on a ship-by-ship basis.

“This has been an ongoing conversation with the cruise industry about what conditions are required to make this a safe experience for everyone involved and how to make that feasible,” Minister Bryan was quoted as saying.

“We thank Holland America for being an excellent partner and leading the way for this new era of cruise travel in the Cayman Islands for the foreseeable future. My people can be assured that my approach and negotiation strategy is for quality first.” 

Grand Cayman will be the first stop on Nieuw Statendam’s seven-day cruise to the Western Caribbean, which departs from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Dec. 26.

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