What’s new in transportation?

Boston Whaler's such as the Dauntless 240 and especially the 270 Vantage are popular choice in Cayman.

As new development and upgraded infrastructure continue to improve Grand Cayman, in particular, transportation services are upping their game as well.

A host of high-end services, some of them quite new, are available to residents and visitors alike.

Here’s a look at what’s new in transportation:

On the road

SUVs are increasingly becoming the car of choice on island, according to Chad Phillipps, brand manager at Mercedes-Benz (Car City) on Industrial Way.  The showroom, under new ownership, opened five years ago, and Phillipps said demand has been pretty steady.

“SUVs are really doing well – this is a general thing on island,” he said. “It’s the combination of the utility of the SUV, which can carry more passengers than a car, and can handle the road conditions, like the extra ground clearance when rain accumulates on the road.”

“The bottom line,” he said, “is it’s just a fabulous vehicle, well outfitted and with top of the line safety features.”

SUVs are included in the full line of Audi models in stock at the Audi Cayman Islands showroom on Market Street in Camana Bay. Since becoming an Audi importer more than 10 years ago, “we have had a welcoming response on the island”, said marketing manager Michelle A. Hydes.

“We have created relationships with our customers that go beyond the sale of one car. … Audi owners are part of an elite group that are included in premier events, such as Cayman Cookout [and] the Hedge Funds Care gala,” among others, she added.

For those who just want an Audi to cruise around in temporarily, an Audi A5 convertible is available from Hertz car rentals in Grand Cayman.

Meanwhile, electric cars continue to grow in popularity on island, particularly with the addition of Teslas a few years ago. John Felder, CEO of Cayman Automotive, introduced electric vehicles on island in 2009. Since then, Teslas have been added, as well as a lithium battery electric scooter.

For those who are not in the market for a vehicle, there are other options to private ownership.

A new car sharing service is underway for those who live and work in Camana Bay.  The service, called ZÜN, uses a fleet of Audi A3 Sportbacks.  Developed by Arch Automotive in partnership with Dart Labs, the service provides rental cars by the hour, day or week. A mobile app allowing 24-hour access launched in mid-April.

Private cars for hire are also available, primarily for airport transportation, but also for tours, charters and attractions. New to the space is Royal Limo.

“We launched in December after noticing room in the market for a luxury transfer service from the hotels on Seven Mile Beach,” said sales and marketing manager Chance Skauge. “We operate at the Kimpton, Ritz and Marriott with the Hertz brand. This is something that had been thought about for a while, but the timing seemed right this year.”

Skauge said the service has definitely been busy, with the 2019 Chevy Suburban the customer favourite among the fleet of three black cars.

Majestic Tours, meanwhile, has been in operation since 1985, and now counts a fleet of coaches, vans, an SUV and a BMW 7 Series, as well as a wheelchair-accessible van. Airport transportation and private car hire are available.

For those who prefer a different kind of ride, there is Cayman Custom Cycles on Dorcy Place in the Industrial Park. Tour the island on a Harley, or get your own bike customised or restored. Owner Keith Keller also offers motorcycle instruction.

On the water

Many people prefer taking to the water versus the open road, and there is no lack of yacht and boat sales and charters on Grand Cayman.

Harbour House Marina on Marina Drive sells Boston Whalers and Sea Rays, but the most popular choice by far is the Boston Whaler 270 Vantage, said assistant general manager Al Parsons. With its comfortable ride, a bathroom on board and a fair amount of shade, it’s the perfect cruising boat, he noted. Plus, it’s also suited for a day of fishing out in the ocean.

Speaking of Sea Rays, luxury charters are available through several companies on island. Cayman Luxury Charters, with an office on Market Street in Camana Bay, features the Elusion 42-foot Sea Ray 420 Sundancer, the Sea Star 40-foot Sea Ray 40DA Sundancer and the Evasion 29-foot Sea Ray 290 Sun Sport.

Cayman Yacht Charters at the Cayman Yacht Club has an array of choices as well, including a 31-foot Twin Vee Center Console luxury catamaran, a Sea Ray 46-foot Sundancer, and the Sea Ray SLX 310, a brand new luxury sport boat with a retractable roof, among other amenities.

In the air

For the ultimate get-away-from-it-all ride, private jet service is available from Grand Cayman’s Owen Roberts International Airport.

Priority One Jets, an online booking service, has charters has access to some 7,000 aircraft worldwide and can arrange flights from Grand Cayman within a few hours. Jet charters, air charter and jet rentals are available for personal or corporate use.

At PrivateFly, another booking platform for on-demand service, charter jets are typically requested and flown by private individuals, said Nicole Wilke, the company’s US marketing manager.

“We act as a broker for private jet charter flights, so we do not directly employ any crew or pilots,” she said. “Not many operators are based [in Grand Cayman], so for a flight originating in Grand Cayman, an aircraft and crew would need to reposition from their home base to the island first.”

“Our technology platform enables us to find private jets that will be either on the island or nearby for the requested date,” she added.

She noted a recent trend – that clients are combining business trips with a few days of leisure – “and this is particularly true around the Cayman Islands.”

The size of aircraft depends on customer preference and number of passengers, she said.

And here’s where Cayman’s upgraded infrastructure comes into play.

“Luckily,” she said, “the runway at Grand Cayman International is long enough to accommodate all types of private aircraft.”