July 30, 2015 – Cruise berthing facilities in George Town harbor have been debated for so long that many Caymanians were either children or not even born when the issue was first considered.
Despite the efforts of successive governments, to date there has been little progress to report (other than a virtual – and expanding – library of consultant studies and reports). That appears likely to change.
The current People’s Progressive Movement-led government has initiated yet another effort with a thorough process that includes an exhaustive and expensive (approximately $2 million) environmental impact assessment, a thorough economic analysis, and widespread public hearings. Read More

The argument for

The Cayman’s Port, Cayman’s Future group argues for the new cruise port. Read More

The argument against

Caymanian Bo Miller makes an argument for why the cruise berthing project should not go ahead. Read More

Read the reports

Full reports from over the years as Cayman considers cruise berthing facilities. Read More


Constructing cruise ship berthing piers in George Town has been talked about for more than a decade and is one of the most controversial projects of our time. Merchants and environmentalists have expressed strong opinions, but the matter is one of significant complexity that goes beyond the arguments made. The Cayman Compass Special Report: The Dock Debate is a comprehensive exploration that looks at where Grand Cayman has been, where it is and where it might be heading in terms of cruise tourism.

Ministry of Tourism Message

on the proposed cruise berthing facility

For more than a decade, successive governments have attempted to construct a berthing facility in George Town Harbour on the basis that the sustainability of our cruise tourism industry was in jeopardy without one. Rather than accepting assumptions or considering conjecture regarding its provision, the Cayman Islands government has sought to unequivocally establish the facts. One of the world’s most respected ‘big four’ auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers, was contracted to develop the Cruise Berthing Outline Business Case and provide independent, evidence-based analysis of the socio-economic benefits, as well as the environmental risks. Read More

The members of the Legislative Assembly are not yet revealing where they stand on the issue of whether a cruise berthing facility should be built in George Town Harbour. Read More

A historical look at more than 12 years of starts, stops, controversy and failure in the effort to build cruise berthing facilities on Grand Cayman. Read More

Over two-thirds of cruise ship passengers surveyed by the Cayman Compass think cruise berthing piers in Grand Cayman would improve or enhance their cruise experience here. A total of 87 cruise passengers were surveyed on July 23 from the Carnival Magic, Carnival Glory and Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas, which were moored in George Town harbor. The three ships collectively carried some 12,000 passengers. Read More

Building new cruise piers in George Town would mean significant further investment would be required, both from government and the private sector to ensure the country can cope with the additional influx of passengers. Read More

Construction costs of the $150 million cruise piers could be funded by a cruise line or consortium of cruise lines and repaid through passenger fees over 20 years. The exact financial model, and who covers the up-front costs, will be determined through a competitive bidding process if the project is given the green light. But under the preferred options for a public-private partnership, already outlined, involvement from cruise lines, either through direct funding or the provision of passenger guarantees, is a key element. Read More

The debate over a new cruise port in George Town Harbour is a balancing act between the protection of the coral reef ecosystem and overdue upgrades to cruise facilities, a driving industry for the Cayman economy. If economics is the deciding factor, policymakers will have to weigh the value of dive and snorkel sites such as Eden Rock and Cheeseburger Reef against updated facilities for cruise ships and the ability to attract the massive new Oasis and Quantum-class vessels. Read More

The latest National Tourism Management Plan found that the Cayman Islands should aim to position itself as a “distinctive, quality Caribbean destination for the discerning visitor,” and that a tourism strategy should be predicated on “increasing the value rather than the volume of visitors.” Some believe that the way to achieve such goals is to focus on the experience of cruise visitors and build a proposed cruise berthing facility. But other stakeholders say the cruise berthing facility will damage the very product that the country is selling to visitors, and that a strategic tourism plan must have a different focus. Read More

George Town has the fifth busiest cruise port in the Caribbean by total passengers according to 2014 cruise arrival statistics, and the Cayman Islands is the fourth-most popular country. It is also the only country in the top five without a cruise ship berthing pier. Read More

The proposed cruise berthing facility in George Town harbor could bring half a million more cruise passengers to Grand Cayman annually. Proponents say the facility could be a boon to the economy: half a million more visitors shopping, taking taxis to the beach, buying rum punches and sampling local foods, trying their hand at various water sports and signing up for excursions to tour some of the attractions around the island. Read More