Cruise lines will need to figure out where they can dock now that Key West is no longer a destination.
Lost in the mega election news that gripped the country, Key West is making headlines after voting to ban large ships from docking.
If you travel on one of the major cruise lines and check your itinerary when you book, many ships will list Key West as a port of call but that is going to change once the big ships head back to sea.
Key West citizens were given three choices during the most recent election. Limit the capacity of passengers on a cruise liner that can dock, limited the number of passengers that disembark at the port, and prioritize ships with the best health record. All three measures were passed.
So what does this mean for the cruise industry? It means that the easy stop heading back from Mexico or the quick entertainment stop to drop off souvenir seeking passengers will cease.
The obvious cruise lines that will be hit the hardest are the big lines. Norwegian, Carnival, and Disney to name a few. The smaller lines whose passenger lists are less than 1,500 passengers will not be affected.
With the passing of these bills, cruise ships that exceed 1,500 passengers will not be permitted to dock. While this is an interesting development that was passed by those who live in Key West, you have to wonder what this will do for the tourist industry in that town.
Consider that loads of passengers descended on Key West when a ship arrived in port. These passengers would spend hours doing nothing more than buying merchandise, drinking at the bars, and eating at restaurants like Sloppy Joes. Now, that part of the economy is going to take a hit but for the locals, there will be a larger return to the quaint and quiet lifestyle that used to be the norm.
Cruise lines are going to need to figure out alternative stops or add a day at sea. Promoting a three or four-port of call itinerary will now either consist of another port of call or a day at sea.
This shouldn’t be a major issue for cruise passengers. To be honest, I have traveled to Key West both during a cruise and driving down to spend a couple of days in the Keys. I didn’t really enjoy getting off the ship in Key West and tended to stay on board but I still had to pay the port taxes through my cruise purchase. I would have rather stayed at sea and that might be the best option for cruise lines going forward.