It’s been almost ten years since we visited some of the ports on this cruise; with the exception of the rebuilding of Grand Cayman, I was disappointed in what the decade has brought. Back then, the ships docked at local piers, often in the heart of the real city.
With the advent of the larger ships, new piers have been constructed, especially in the two places we stopped in Mexico. I don’t have a problem with newer or bigger piers, but I found that the end that wasn’t attached to the cruise ship was designed to deposit passengers in fabricated “town squares” created specifically for shopping. Now you can island hop and never actually see the real island culture. Instead you can get margaritas, shop name brands, and take your chances with local food that’s all designed for the shopper. Think of it as a movie set . . .
I’m the first to admit that spending a day in a Caribbean port has never been a way to have an in-country experience. But this new trend makes it even more removed from experiencing the many different Caribbean islands. Make no mistake, each one is different; but turning them all into duty free shopping destinations obliterates that. The area and the cruising industry, as well as the passengers, are the worse off for it.