I had not been to Grand Cayman since 2012 but not much had changed apart from one or two more Condominium buildings near the beach. For the rest the sky line still looked the same. I do not know about downtown, more shops or less, as I did not go ashore. Too warm, too many people and too much to do. The too many people came from the four ships in port. We had the Norwegian Epic on Anchorage number 3, The Liberty of the Seas on Anchorage number 2, the Disney Magic on Anchorage number 1, and the Pullmantur Monarch was scheduled for Anchorage nbr 4 but arrived late and opted to stay on the engines instead of passing the Oosterdam who was scheduled to drift but was now sort of blocking the approach to anchorage number 4. The Oosterdam who had arrived around 07.30 was drifting right in line with the tender dock in downtown Georgetown and that brings the question why is the anchorage number 4 East of the other 3 which are counted from the far west down to the town.
Ocean Liner row in Grand Cayman. From top to bottom: Norwegian Epic, Liberty of the Seas, behind it the Pullmantur Monarch, Disney Magic and behind it the Oosterdam right opposite down town. the light blue area indicates shallow waters, The yellow is the reflection of the radar.
Reason is very simple, anchorage nbr. 4 was an addition. It was added in the late 90’s when more and more ships came to Grand Cayman and after some political bickering another small piece of sand bank was made available for an extra ship. You would expect that if it had been a logical place from the beginning, 1,2,3,4 or 4,3,2,1 would have been their all the time. This already gives the indication that it is not a great anchorage. It is when there is no wind. Then you have the best parking space of everybody. But there is always wind in Grand Cayman and then it is only a nice anchorage if the wind is exactly right. ENE to keep the ship lying behind its anchor and the wind pushing it nicely off the Reef. When the wind is more to the East, then the wind is stretching the ship behind its anchor and the stern goes towards the ship at anchorage number 1. And they do not like that. Nor does the ship that is at anchorage 4. When the wind goes more to the south or to the north, the ships swings towards the shallows and that is not nice either.
Looking at down town from the Bridge of the ms Oosterdam with a ships tender heading straight for downtown.
Today it was a wise decision of the Monarch to stay on the engines. There were squalls in the area causing ever changing wind directions and the wind was never right for anchorage nbr 4. If they would have been there and had to leave, escape, departing quickly, it would have been difficult as the Oosterdam was right behind anchorage. Unfortunately because of their late arrival time, they could also not hoover near the anchorage as the Oosterdam was already doing that and we had no intention of moving.
The ships at anchor. There is quite a bit of space between them, needed in case one ship swings more than the other, or faster.
Yesterday I mentioned the most likely cruises the ships who call at Grand Cayman were making, so let’s see if that came out: Norwegian Epic ( 8 days) is making a around Cuba cruise, starting in Cape Carnaveral, going Eastwards and then west under Cuba. Liberty of the Seas (7 days) from Galveston is coming down the Westside of Cuba and goes as far as Jamaica and then back north of Cuba. The Disney Magic (7 days) sailing from Miami comes down from the west as far East as Grand Cayman and then goes west again. The Monarch (7 days for mainly Spanish speaking public) sails from Puerto Limon and goes as far as Montego Bay before returning. Thus only the Oosterdam has Grand Cayman as part of a longer cruise, the rest is all on shorter cruises, and either staying in the west side of the Caribe or doing a very quick circumnavigation of Cuba.
The total number of guests which came ashore today from these ships based on the lower occupancy, was 14,400 guests, maybe even more, as Disney with all the kids on board is often way over the minimum occupancy rate. So the shop keepers and tour operators did not have anything to complain today.
We ran our own tender service while the other operators used shore tenders. Those shore tenders are nice and big but take a long time to fill up and to empty so whether it is a better service is a big question mark for me. Also they tendered to their own dock, further out of town, except the Monarch who also came to down town. But we had the south dock which is a perfect dock for our tenders so even with this busy day we had the best of it.
Tomorrow we have a sea day. Around 04.00 hrs. In the morning we will round Cabo San Antonio at a distance between 6 to 8 miles and for those up early, at that distance you can see the beam of the lighthouse clearly sweeping against the sky.