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#1 Oct 12, 2017 4:47 pm

New Historian
Active

Our annual infestation: cruise ships

Every winter, the Caribbean is overrun with an infestation of cruise ships. Our towns and beaches become clogged with millions of annoying day trippers who spend a few measly dollars on Chinese souvenirs and cold beers and who, as one disgruntled taxi driver put it: “Leave nothing behind but their shit!”

You can always rely on a taxi drivers for an abundance of street wisdom! There are two distinct types of tourist: stayovers and cruisers; and rarely the twain shall meet. So-called conversion drives are largely ineffective: you can hand out as many glossy brochures as you like, most cruisers will rarely come back on a “proper” holiday—they love their cruising life!

And what’s wrong with that, you might ask? Cruise ships are a positive contributor to the Caribbean economy, they are a good thing. According to a recent study by Business Research & Economic Advisors (commissioned by the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association): “During the 2014/2015 cruise year cruise tourism generated $3.16 billion in direct expenditures, 75,050 jobs and $976 million in employee wages”.

According to the BREA study, average spending by cruise ship passengers across the Caribbean is about $133 per day. However this is skewed by destinations known for duty-free shopping like St. Maarten, where expenditures are $400 per day. But most duty-free spending is leached right back out again on imports. At the other end of the spectrum, cruise ship passengers in Belize spent $78 per day, and in Grenada a paltry $46 per day. For half the year.

In addition to their minimal economic contribution, cruise ships actually cost us money. On cruise ship days some islands become unbearable, in St. Maarten there is literally no room to walk on the pavements, for the crush of tourists. As my taxi driver noted, that’s an awful lot of extra sewage, and electricity, and transport, and wear and tear on our roads. And who pays for this additional infrastructure? We do.

According to Friends of the Earth, the worldwide cruise ship industry dumps around one billion gallons of sewage into the oceans every year. Given that the Caribbean accounts for 34% of the world cruise ship industry, we can assume that an equal percentage of that sewage is dumped into our precious, fragile Caribbean Sea.

In addition to sewage, cruise ships also generate an enormous volume of trash. We can barely handle our own trash, let alone import from the cruise ships. So what do they do with all that on-board trash? They dump it. Out in international waters, far away from land, cruise ships routinely dump their solid wastes overboard—at night. But in the enclosed Caribbean, what you dump at sea turns up ashore—sooner or later.

Caribbean countries charge a head tax on cruise ship passengers, but it’s a token. When Grenada had the temerity to increase its tax, Caribbean Cruise Lines, the world’s largest, boycotted Grenada for years. Cruise lines are represented by strong lobbying groups like the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Ship Association; none of the Caribbean countries with a combined voice.

What we fail to realize is that we hold the handle, and they the blade. Every year there are two mass migrations of the world cruise ship fleet: from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean in September-October, and the reverse in April-May. In the winter, there’s nowhere else for them to go, they MUST come to the Caribbean. By not extracting a fair return from the cruise ship industry, we are not exploiting our market strength. In short: We are being played.

Yet again, is it too much to expect Caribbean countries to speak with one voice?


Antigua_cruise_ships.jpg

Cruise_shit.jpg

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#2 Oct 13, 2017 8:08 am

Dancer
Active

Re: Our annual infestation: cruise ships

' Hemingway '  You are a Caribbean man , seeing beyond the flooding of Cruise ships in our waters for a few quick dollars . With our Govts not  understanding our unique position and demanding better rewards.
Good post . New Historian . A little exposure has opened thine eyes. lol.

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#3 Oct 13, 2017 10:03 am

Real Distwalker
Active

Re: Our annual infestation: cruise ships

I would like you to know that I have never been on a Cruise ship but have made several stay-over trips to Grenada.

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#4 Oct 13, 2017 11:15 am

Slice
Active

Re: Our annual infestation: cruise ships

NH, this is an really nice piece.  Never saw Cruise ship in that light.  I was always wondering about what ah Grenadian said, while there were two Brazilian ship in port.  He said ah doh know why they doh stop coming to Grenada, these Brazilian ships doh spend no money.  Now ah really know what he was saying.

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#5 Oct 13, 2017 11:31 am

Slice
Active

Re: Our annual infestation: cruise ships

Real Distwalker wrote:

I would like you to know that I have never been on a Cruise ship but have made several stay-over trips to Grenada.

Ok, now you and NH are officially friends.

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#6 Oct 13, 2017 2:19 pm

New Historian
Active

Re: Our annual infestation: cruise ships

Slice wrote:
Real Distwalker wrote:

I would like you to know that I have never been on a Cruise ship but have made several stay-over trips to Grenada.

Ok, now you and NH are officially friends.


We always were lol!

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#7 Oct 13, 2017 2:33 pm

Real Distwalker
Active

Re: Our annual infestation: cruise ships

Except for once when I stayed with friends, I have always stayed at the Calabash.  Love that place.

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#8 Oct 13, 2017 4:19 pm

New Historian
Active

Re: Our annual infestation: cruise ships

My son will be very glad to hear you say that.

"Other environmental impacts include marine pollution, waste disposal and infrastructure damage. In particular waste disposal is a huge issue for cruise ships and in actual fact cruise tourists produce more daily rubbish whilst visiting ashore than the local people do."

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#9 Oct 13, 2017 4:32 pm

Expat
Active

Re: Our annual infestation: cruise ships

Nice illustrative piece.

Whilst I can see Cruisers do not spend much, if you look at the tat they are offered it is not surprising. The Tourist shops are selling mostly generic gifts with printed made in Grenada labels that on the previous visit said made in St Lucia, and they can be rubbed off with ease.

Our little spice souveniers are absolute crap. I bought one to give to someone in the UK one time, and I was very embarrassed when it was opened and was mostly packing material behind a pawtry spice selection. Rip off.

The latch on guides and the beggars must take the edge off a visit too.

There are organised tours, both in open top vehicles, taxis and quad bikes. Hopefully they are giving the tourist a decent outing. I am hoping to add to the quad bikes excursion with a little added value activity... fingers crossed for them, me, and the economy it comes to fruition. Early days.

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#10 Oct 14, 2017 3:35 pm

houston
Active

Re: Our annual infestation: cruise ships

Thanks Historian, I had no idea the Great Big Sea was being used as a dumping pond to that extent. Excellent information for everyone to be aware of.
No, have never been on a çruise ship and certainly don't plan to be on one.

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