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Key West Voters Approve Ban on Large Cruise Ships


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The 1,300 capacity appears to be guests and crew combined.

Luxury lines who tend to operate smaller ships have a higher crew to passenger ratio.  Many SilverSea ships for example have ~400 crew for between ~500 to 600 passengers.  SilverSea appears to qualify.

Like SilverSea, Azamara will qualify with their small ships squeaking under the combined 1,300 person capacity limits with something closer to a 2:1 guest to crew ratio.

Royal Caribbean's smallest ship, Empress of the Seas has a combined capacity of ~2,400 crew and passengers.  All Royal Caribbean ships will be banned.  Likewise the Carnival (WhaleTail) fleet is banned as is the NCL fleet.  HAL, Princess, P&O, MSC, AIDA all banned.  No mass market cruise line can go there now.  

Consequently the ban isn't limited to large ships.  Only the smallest ships are allowed but most of those sail exotic destination like the Antarctic, Galapagos, river cruises in Europe or along the Mississippi river.  

Only luxury line sized ships are now permitted but luxury lines tend to call on a different type of cruise port of call.  Who would spend $15k or $25k on a cruise to visit Key West?

It's conceivable to state they have effectively banned most cruise ships if not all cruise ships that would tend to call on Key West.  Seeing a cruise ship in Mallory Square will certainly be an oddity now.  

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I remember staying in Little Torch Key for a few nights in mid November, 2018 and visiting Key West on a Friday. There were 2 ships in port that day (couldn't tell you which ones they were off hand). I remember Duval Street and the surrounding streets being very crowded during the time passengers were allowed off. Most restaurants were very crowded and hectic too. But as 5:00PM and all aboard came around there was a day and night difference in the crowds and Mallory Square at sunset was beautiful with not allot of people around. I do also remember as sunset was approaching the ship nearest to Mallory Square was leaving and there were people beginning to get upset because as the ship was pulling away it was blocking the view of the sunset, but it turned out OK, the ship got out of the way with time to spare.

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The other curious ballot item gives preference and docking priority to cruise lines that have the best health and environmental records.

How will this be implemented?  Who will create the scorecard for all passenger ships worldwide? 

CDC's VSP doesn't rate ships on a comparative basis.  They simply provide results.  Many ships spend time overseas.  They are only subject to VSP exams once they come to America.  They will naturally have fewer violations because they have fewer VSP exams.  Few countries around the world have a dashboard for environmental violations. 

Will the City of KW now have to hire and build a team to create a dashboard to rate environmental and health metrics for cruise ships?  That sounds like a pretty significant effort.  

The real winners here will be the lawyers who litigate this.  

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Bummer.  I had always wanted to visit Key West, but never got around to it.  I figured visiting via cruise ship would have been my best bet; i don't really envision myself flying to Florida, renting a car, and driving all the way down to Key West.  Oh well,  plenty of other places to visit and spend money.

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4 minutes ago, karl_nj said:

Bummer.  I had always wanted to visit Key West, but never got around to it.  I figured visiting via cruise ship would have been my best bet; i don't really envision myself flying to Florida, renting a car, and driving all the way down to Key West.  Oh well,  plenty of other places to visit and spend money.

You can fly into Key West.

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1 hour ago, princevaliantus said:

You can fly into Key West.

I've looked at this before.  Paris, France was a cheaper ticket.  

I have driven an RV along the Keys several times and stayed on a few of them.  I've also rented a convertible and driven the Keys after a cruise (because flying from KW was price prohibitive).

Key West is not a focus destination.  Few people will make a vacation dedicated to KW if they haven't be so inclined before.  That all but eliminates the air option for most.  Air travel is not going to increase with this change, those that flew before will continue to do so such as timeshare owners.

Some tourism businesses will take a bit hit.  Hotels will see no change from this change.

The people have spoken.  They want it to be a sleepy mostly locals only island.   Some tourism business will close, others will see a decline in business, others will see no change.   Bottom line this is what the voters want.

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46 minutes ago, karl_nj said:

Bummer.  I had always wanted to visit Key West, but never got around to it.  I figured visiting via cruise ship would have been my best bet; i don't really envision myself flying to Florida, renting a car, and driving all the way down to Key West.  Oh well,  plenty of other places to visit and spend money.

I feel the exact same as you.  In fact, I am booked on Brilliance in July 2021 and covid problems aside, Key West was the stop I was most looking forward to.  Something different.  Now I wonder if that itinerary will be changed again.

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13 minutes ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

I feel the exact same as you.  In fact, I am booked on Brilliance in July 2021 and covid problems aside, Key West was the stop I was most looking forward to.  Something different.  Now I wonder if that itinerary will be changed again.

My money's on you'll get to spend a day at Coco Cay now.

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Really a bummer, but at the same time that island can be really packed (like Saint Thomas, Nassau, others).  It's certainly a debatable, subjective opinion and everyone has different preferences.... I agree with the unfortunate sentiment that the real winners are the lawyers (as with a lot of things). 

 

I would add that there's another sea faring option and that is to take the Key west Express, a couple hundred passenger catamaran ferry that goes from southwest florida.  I am not an employee or anything, I'm not getting paid haha but I can say that I have taken it several times and will again.  It's a fun two or three hour trip and you can go down and back in a day or across multiple days.  The Catamaran itself is newer, clean and has a great three deck setup with food court, bar, different seating layouts....it's a great option if you're like me and the many other midwesterners who are in Fort Myers/Sarasota/Naples FL often.  If you look at a map, the way the keys curl back to the southwest, it's actually a pretty straight shot as the bird flies.  https://www.keywestexpress.net/

Florida-Map-Home-Page-1.png

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3 hours ago, karl_nj said:

Bummer.  I had always wanted to visit Key West, but never got around to it.  I figured visiting via cruise ship would have been my best bet; i don't really envision myself flying to Florida, renting a car, and driving all the way down to Key West.  Oh well,  plenty of other places to visit and spend money.

It's actually an interesting drive on the Overseas Highway (if you watch the doco's on how they built it and then the hurricane that destroyed it). Key West is a spot you probably only need to visit once in my opinion. It was good, but I don't feel like I need to return.

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3 hours ago, Southern1962 said:

I was introduced to Key West on a cruise ship.  I liked it so much we spent a week there the next year.  Maybe they could factor in visitors like us.    I would not have visited long term if not for the cruise ship stop.

Same for us.  Been there a few times and really like the town, but I understand their desire to keep it a quiet place.  

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16 hours ago, Rose City Cruiser said:

The 4-hour drive from Miami is not too bad if you plan on arriving a couple days pre/post cruise.  Depending on which direction the "tide" goes, maybe possibly Cuba will be opened up again?  Majesty/Empress will have purpose again.

This is defn going to be in the cards again...... I am sure of it....

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20 hours ago, dr martini said:

Really a bummer, but at the same time that island can be really packed (like Saint Thomas, Nassau, others).  It's certainly a debatable, subjective opinion and everyone has different preferences.... I agree with the unfortunate sentiment that the real winners are the lawyers (as with a lot of things). 

 

I would add that there's another sea faring option and that is to take the Key west Express, a couple hundred passenger catamaran ferry that goes from southwest florida.  I am not an employee or anything, I'm not getting paid haha but I can say that I have taken it several times and will again.  It's a fun two or three hour trip and you can go down and back in a day or across multiple days.  The Catamaran itself is newer, clean and has a great three deck setup with food court, bar, different seating layouts....it's a great option if you're like me and the many other midwesterners who are in Fort Myers/Sarasota/Naples FL often.  If you look at a map, the way the keys curl back to the southwest, it's actually a pretty straight shot as the bird flies.  https://www.keywestexpress.net/

Florida-Map-Home-Page-1.png

Very cool - didn't know that was even an option.   Many thanks!

 

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