Can the Islands cope?

With cruise ships continuing to grow in size and number are the islands struggling to cope with these additional tourists, who put a stain on everything from sewerage systems to roads and hospitals.

We have been reading ‘Cruise Ship Squeeze: The New Pirates of the Seven Seas’ By Ross A. Klein, which says that cruises destinations are jumping though hoops to attract cruise passengers, with the hope of numerous economic benefits to justify the cost of accommodating the ships. However the economic boom created by cruise ships has not been as powerful as hoped, as large multinational companies have taken the financial benefit as their own. Royal Caribbean actively tried to stop the port feeling overwhelmed by the Oasis of the Seas & Allure of the Seas by building new facilities for the quick transfer of passengers.

The recent and ongoing issue of Charleston is of interest, Charleston historical societies, neighbourhoods and environmental groups have taken a stand against the cruise lines by filing a law suit against Carnival Cruise Lines saying that the Carnival Fantasy flout building regulations. This rather interesting case of classing the ship as a temporary building will be interesting to follow, however the groups in Charleston say the ship has increased traffic issues and gridlock as well as being to tall, and violating environment laws.
If Charleston don’t want Carnival Fantasy, I know Liverpool is after a homeported cruise ship!

Cruise Ship Squeeze points out that some destinations may have developed an overdependence on cruise ships as between 85 and 90% of tourists in Cozumel and the Cayman Islands are Cruise Passengers. In St Thomas and St Maarten  the figure is around 75%. On average St Thomas & St Maarten have 12,000 or more cruise passengers everyday. This is not a hard figure to achieve with Oasis of the Seas carrying around 6,000 passengers.

Many complain that the cruise industry has ruined these islands, with cheap souvenir shops and Jewellery stores opening. With all of this and a significant amount of cruise passengers the port towns lose the appeal that made them great tourist destinations in the first place. It’s not just Caribbean ports which can feel the stress of Cruise Ships, In the Mediterranean Venice and Monaco are just a few which can see thousands of cruise passengers in a day.

Shore Excursions provide jobs…right? Yes they do, but usually the Cruise Line deals with an agent which arranged these excursions, with the cruise line taking a cut, then the agent taking a cut, leaving very little for the local tour guide.

We think this issue which, with the growing size of vessels will only become more important and one destinations will work hard to avoid, except made Charleston!
Do you think some ports are struggling under the sheer number of cruise passengers?
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Other Articles in this series ‘Sustainable Cruising’
Green Cruising
Sustainable Tourism and Cruising

* We also have Cruise Ship Squeeze Available from £2.25 at The Crociere Store *