It appears that a cruise ship, albeit a small one, won’t be visiting WHOI and Woods Hole this summer after all. WHOI cited COVID concerns when announcing that it had canceled the arrangement. But it is easy to imagine that there was more to it. Do any of WHOI’s scientists really want to take a day off to lead a bunch of tourists around the facilities?
Catherine Bumpus no doubt spoke for most of the business community when she said that cruise ship visitors would be no benefit to the village economy, since they don’t eat in restaurants and can’t buy anything but small items they can take with them.
It has puzzled us mildly why cruise ships anchor off Oak Bluffs in the summer but have always passed Falmouth by. It probably has to do with the cachet of the island and the shoal waters off Falmouth. Cruisers might not like a long ride back and forth from the ship.
But if they did, would downtown businesses like it? They might; the annual street fair is popular and the impact is similar: a big rush of people crowding Main Street for the day. An occasional cruise ship stop might bring a welcome rush of visitors for the day without clogging the streets with traffic.
Then the question is whether the village of Falmouth, in the eyes of cruise ship management, would be of enough interest to their passengers. We, of course, think it would and bet most would agree. But the perception of the cruise lines is the reality Falmouth faces in this case.
Still, it’s interesting to think about. Woods Hole is too small and already crowded in the summer, but the village of Falmouth might welcome the business.