Jamaica welcomes sixth cruise ship for the week

November 19, 2021
Carnival Sunrise (right) and the MSC Meraviglia arrive at the Ocho Rios Port and the Reynolds Pier, respectively on Wednesday ( November 17). - Contributed photo

Jamaica received its sixth cruise ship for the week on Friday, with the Aida scheduled pulling up to port at the Falmouth Port in Trelawny.

These are the most vessels the island has seen in one week since the return of cruise ships in August.

Four of the ships called at Ocho Rios – Norwegian Gem and Aida on Monday (November 15), and Carnival Sunrise and MSC Meraviglia on Wednesday (November 17). The Norwegian Gem and MSC Meraviglia docked at the Reynolds Pier, which has been undergoing a multimillion-dollar facelift for about a year.

The week began with the Falmouth Port receiving Carnival Corporation’s Emerald Princess on Sunday (November 14), which was the first cruise ship call for the coastal town in 20 months.

Speaking with JIS News, Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett said, “it has been a historic week, so far,” noting that the positive development is the result of the joint efforts of the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the Port Authority of Jamaica in positioning Jamaica as a destination “that is both safe and ready for business”.

"The return of cruise shipping to our ports is further proof of the growing demand for our first-class and top-quality tourism product. Six ships in one week is an indication that the cruise sector is coming back and based on current projections, we expect to welcome some 75,000 cruise passengers between November and December 2021," he said.

“I would like to take this opportunity to commend all the stakeholders who have worked together to make this possible,” he added.

Mr Bartlett noted that with Ocho Rios, Port Antonio and Falmouth already seeing a return of cruise business, focus will be placed on Port Royal and Montego Bay.

“We are also in discussions to get Kingston in on the act, ensuring that by early 2022, all of our cruise ports are back in business,” he said.

Minister Bartlett assured that arrangements have been made to ensure strict adherence to the coronavirus (COVID-19) protocols, including managing the movement of cruise passengers.

Meanwhile, business operators in Ocho Rios are welcoming the return of the cruise ships.

“To say we are very happy would be the understatement of the year,” Taj Mahal Plaza’s owner Sanju Chatani, told JIS News.

“We have to understand, however, that there is no room for complacency and that every effort should be made to get even more ships,” he said.  

Transport Operator, Robert McKenzie, for his part, said “it has been 20 months of not seeing a ship in port. To have five in a single week… this is great,” he said.

Vice President of Cruise Shipping and Marine Operations, Port Authority of Jamaica, William Tatham, in a statement said that the entity is pleased with the progress of the cruise resumption activities.

“I am confident that we will deliver a safe and rewarding cruise-passenger experience in all of our ports, just as we have done in Ocho Rios, Port Antonio, and Falmouth,” he said.

-JIS News- 

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