(CNS): While the Cayman Islands Government is planning to officially open the borders on Thursday, 1 October, it has made it clear that it will not be allowing cruise ships to visit Grand Cayman until well into next year. Despite these public declarations, Carnival Cruise Lines is selling five-night cruises that include Grand Cayman as a port of call in November, misleading their potential customers.
All cruise ships based in the United States are currently under a no-sail order issued by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and it is still not certain that the ban will be lifted before the end of October. It could even be extended, given the continuing pandemic and mounting death toll.
The major cruise lines have submitted a proposed plan that they say will protect passengers from the virus, though the very nature of cruising is a super-spreading environment.
Cruise ships played a significant role in spreading the virus around the world and were fundamental in bringing it to the Caribbean. While it is not certain when the coronavirus actually arrived in Cayman, the first and only fatal case was in passenger from a cruise ship who came ashore because of an unrelated medical emergency.
It is also now known that in the weeks leading up to the closure of Cayman’s borders several cruise ships that later recorded outbreaks of COVID-19 on board had docked here.
The cruise sector has been hard hit by the pandemic but it was suffering significant publicity challenges in the months before the pandemic turned all tourism on its head. An appalling environmental record and concerns over employee abuse were just some of a list of issues facing a sector of tourism that has enjoyed massive growth over the last couple of decades.
Carnival is currently facing legal action by investors who say the company falsely represented its outlook, which led to inflated share prices.
In the latest in a long line of questionable behaviour, Carnival is now selling cruises that it is not going to be able to provide, even if the CDC clears the company’s ships to return to the water.