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Key West Voters Approve Strict Cruise Restrictions


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Here's the actions Key West voters approved Tuesday.....

 

▪ Limit the number of daily cruise ship visitors at 1,500. Voters approved this by about 63%.

▪ Prohibit cruise ships with 1,300 passengers or more from docking. This passed with about 60% of the vote.

 

▪ Give docking priority to cruise lines that have the best health and environmental records. This passed with about 81% of the vote.

 

https://news.yahoo.com/key-west-voters-put-limits-020209414.html

Edited by mnocket
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Having had the experience of being in Key West when the big boats pull in and dump thousands of cruisers into the core of the town this is a good decision.  It is good for the community and the environment.  

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Assuming this makes through all legal hurdles, will be interesting to see the effect on Duval street (and all adjacent shopping areas). The demand necessary to support 50 Tshirt shops all selling the same shirts is gonna dry up.

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I wonder whether COVID played a part in the decision. With foreign ports being less likely to accept cruisers were they worried about an increase in ships, more environmental damage and increasingly larger crowds of often obnoxious cruisers overwhelming the attractions and restaurants?  

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Can the city of Key West control who docks at the Navy Pier, as cruise ships currently do? I would think that they wouldn’t have control. 

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23 hours ago, CT Sean said:

Assuming this makes through all legal hurdles, will be interesting to see the effect on Duval street (and all adjacent shopping areas). The demand necessary to support 50 Tshirt shops all selling the same shirts is gonna dry up.

We can hope 🙂

 

Hank

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On 11/5/2020 at 3:10 PM, Hlitner said:

We can hope 🙂

 

Hank

And replace them with what?  I'm not sure the demand is there for 50 high end boutiques instead.  It's hard to imagine that most of them will be anything but a closed up shop.

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On 11/9/2020 at 8:08 AM, CT Sean said:

And replace them with what?  I'm not sure the demand is there for 50 high end boutiques instead.  It's hard to imagine that most of them will be anything but a closed up shop.

have you even been to one of the hundreds and hundreds of destinations without cruise ships?  Their main streets are busy and successful and usually more attractive than areas around cruise ports.  Duval Street will be the same.

 

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23 hours ago, keywester33 said:

have you even been to one of the hundreds and hundreds of destinations without cruise ships?  Their main streets are busy and successful and usually more attractive than areas around cruise ports.  Duval Street will be the same.

I have been to Key west many times and I have been to destinations that aren't a cruise destination many times.  To suggest that there non cruise destinations, by overwhelming majority are busy successful and more attractive is simply not true. Some are in fact busy and successful and more attractive, some are only 2 of 3, some are none of 3.     It also ignores the fact that such destinations have developed their supply based on the demand of available tourists - none of which arrive by ship.  I don't know the specifics of what the net daily passenger change may be when large ships no longer dock, but to suggest the there will be no impact to supply following an immediate reduction in demand is to ignore basic economics.

 

Duval street may very well be fine - eventually - and I really hope it is,  but an economic "adjustment" is unavoidable.

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On 11/4/2020 at 12:28 PM, Geobugs said:

Key West is a dump.

Have you ever visited Key West (and surrounding areas) for more than 6 or 7 hours, or explored beyond the Duval St area? In my humble opinion, it isn’t fair to call Key West a dump if you’re basing your statement on the very limited experience that a cruise stop can provide. 
 

I’ve had the chance to visit Key West by land, and it does provide a different and fascinating experience beyond what the majority of cruise passengers see. You need more than a few hours in port to explore beyond Duval street and truly reach that conclusion. 
 

After reading all the comments, I do get why Key West residents voted in favor of this mandate. I will miss my stops in Key West, but I do agree that the amount of money that I, and other cruisers spend, doesn’t justify the negative impact that ships may have. For comparison purposes, I will spend a few thousand dollars on a land vacation in Key West (spread among lodging, restaurants, transportation, entertainment, tour operators) vs $50-$100 between lunch and a few cheap souvenirs when I go there on a cruise ship. 

Edited by Tapi
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The Keys are five to seven hours drive from my house.  We had vacationed in Islamorada, Key Largo and Key West.  We have visited John Pennekamp and Bahia Honda State Parks.   I have snorkeled and fished off the upper keys a dozen times. 

 

However, if Key West was excluded from the itinerary of major cruise lines, just think of the possibilities.  I can name ten Western Caribbean ports which I would rather stop at.  Some would argue distance, but most of the other ports are along the route.

Would you rather sail to Nassau and Key West?

My top ten places:

Cozumel

Grand Cayman

Roatan, Honduras

Ocho Rios

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Belize City

Havana

Progreso

Private Islands

 

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1 hour ago, Tapi said:

Have you ever visited Key West (and surrounding areas) for more than 6 or 7 hours, or explored beyond the Duval St area? In my humble opinion, it isn’t fair to call Key West a dump if you’re basing your statement on the very limited experience that a cruise stop can provide. 
 

I’ve had the chance to visit Key West by land, and it does provide a different and fascinating experience beyond what the majority of cruise passengers see. You need more than a few hours in port to explore beyond Duval street and truly reach that conclusion. 
 

After reading all the comments, I do get why Key West residents voted in favor of this mandate. I will miss my stops in Key West, but I do agree that the amount of money that I, and other cruisers spend, doesn’t justify the negative impact that ships may have. For comparison purposes, I will spend a few thousand dollars on a land vacation in Key West (spread among lodging, restaurants, transportation, entertainment, tour operators) vs $50-$100 between lunch and a few cheap souvenirs when I go there on a cruise ship. 

 

Neither Key West or Nassau are dumps.  It's really such a naive thing when people call them that.

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7 hours ago, Geobugs said:

However, if Key West was excluded from the itinerary of major cruise lines, just think of the possibilities. 

Without Key West, 4 night itineraries that call on Cozumel will most likely be one port itineraries. There aren’t other ports along the way that would make a 2 stop itinerary possible. Of all the short Caribbean/Bahamas itineraries, the Key West/Cozumel/At Sea itinerary is my favorite. 
 

With that said, on 7 night itineraries, the impact won’t be as noticeable since the longer time frame expands the list of ports that can be reached. My last cruise (Feb 2020 aboard Nieuw Statendam) included Key West which was our 4th and final stop and it was the perfect end to our cruise. Sure, we could’ve had an extra day at sea or stopped somewhere else, but knowing what I now know, I’m glad that we went to Key West.

Edited by Tapi
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On 11/11/2020 at 12:30 PM, Geobugs said:

The Keys are five to seven hours drive from my house.  We had vacationed in Islamorada, Key Largo and Key West.  We have visited John Pennekamp and Bahia Honda State Parks.   I have snorkeled and fished off the upper keys a dozen times. 

 

However, if Key West was excluded from the itinerary of major cruise lines, just think of the possibilities.  I can name ten Western Caribbean ports which I would rather stop at.  Some would argue distance, but most of the other ports are along the route.

Would you rather sail to Nassau and Key West?

My top ten places:

Cozumel

Grand Cayman

Roatan, Honduras

Ocho Rios

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Belize City

Havana

Progreso

Private Islands

 

Those are above Key West or just alternatives? 

Jamaica and Belize are absolutely no-go imho.  Private islands offer little more than a beach break, which I can do without cruising if I want (and I personally don't). 

 

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22 hours ago, Tapi said:

Without Key West, 4 night itineraries that call on Cozumel will most likely be one port itineraries. There aren’t other ports along the way that would make a 2 stop itinerary possible. Of all the short Caribbean/Bahamas itineraries, the Key West/Cozumel/At Sea itinerary is my favorite. 
 

With that said, on 7 night itineraries, the impact won’t be as noticeable since the longer time frame expands the list of ports that can be reached. My last cruise (Feb 2020 aboard Nieuw Statendam) included Key West which was our 4th and final stop and it was the perfect end to our cruise. Sure, we could’ve had an extra day at sea or stopped somewhere else, but knowing what I now know, I’m glad that we went to Key West.

5 night itineraries could include another stop past Cozumel.  Costa Maya and Grand Cayman should be easy. 

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Key West will likely become a great port for smaller ships that can work with the passenger load requirement - how nice as a passenger to deal with smaller crowds!  That said, I don't think I've cruised on a ship small enough to make it now.  

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3 hours ago, D C said:

Those are above Key West or just alternatives? 

Jamaica and Belize are absolutely no-go imho.  Private islands offer little more than a beach break, which I can do without cruising if I want (and I personally don't). 

 

 

It seems private islands are the future of cruising in the Caribbean, like it or not.  I have mixed feelings.  Personally, we don't cruise for "destinations" - we land travel for that.  So private islands also create a pretty fun, welcoming experience as a cruiser.

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13 hours ago, DLKC said:

Key West will likely become a great port for smaller ships that can work with the passenger load requirement - how nice as a passenger to deal with smaller crowds!  That said, I don't think I've cruised on a ship small enough to make it now.  

The small ship luxury lines would certainly be welcomed, but the reality is that those lines (i.e, Seabourn, Silverseas, Sea Dream, Regent, etc) do not spend a lot of time doing Caribbean cruises.  We have done a fair number of luxury lines and never spent a day in places like the Caribbean.  So a line such as Seabourn might have KW on their itinerary for a few stops per year...but nothing like mass market lines that are in KW on a weekly basis.   We were once vacationing in KW when The World docked near Mallory Square.  The World is a very high end condo ship with a small number of passengers (less than 400 on most cruises) who have lots of disposable income.  We were sitting at an outdoor bar near Mallory Square and watched folks walking back to The World...most carrying lots of shopping bags from some of the better local stores.  That started a conversation about how The World passengers were likely spending a fortune shopping in the best stores while when we would see folks heading back to a Disney ship they were loaded down with T-shirts.  In KW, just like many cruise ports, the cruise-oriented shops are a cliche.   I will even admit that when we have been in KW on cruises I will sometimes buy a "Hogs Breath Saloon" T-Shirt (they are very good quality).  But when we stay in KW for a few days we never venture near those T shirt places and rather will spend some time browsing and shopping in the better boutique shops.  Why?  I have no idea but I guess when on a ship you do as the masses do and buy T Shirts and souvenirs.   But when we stay in KW we are spending about $300 a night for our suite, at least another $200 a day on meals, and will often drop another $50-$100 at a favorite bar/night club.  As a cruiser we would spend $25 on a T-shirt and perhaps buy a cheap drink in a bar.  

 

I should add that drink packages have changed a lot in terms of cruisers.  Where many cruisers used to go ashore and spend money in bars/cafes drinking and eating...now you will hear many say "I am going back to the ship to get a drink."  The cruise mentality is that you can get free drinks and food on the ship so why spend $75 on lunch and a beer.  We even see this attitude in Europe when many cruisers will skip a meal (horrors) ashore and wait until they get back to the ship to head to the Lido.   When we overnight on a European cruise you will always find DW and me in a favorite local restaurant enjoying a long dinner.  Over the years we have had many other cruisers tell us we are "crazy" to pay for dinner ashore when its "free" on the ship.  It is just a cruisers mentality to not spend "unnecessary" money ashore.  We often find ourselves among the very few that get off a ship in the evening to head out for dinner and perhaps some kind of shoreside entertainment.

 

Hank

 

Hank

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