JIS News

Carnival Sunrise will dock at the Ocho Rios pier in St. Ann on Wednesday (September 22) bringing more than 2,000 cruise passengers to the island.

The Carnival Cruise Line’s vessel will be the second mega liner to call at Ocho Rios in two consecutive days, with the 3,000-passenger MSC Meraviglia docking at the resort town on Tuesday (September 21).

Wednesday’s visit by Carnival Sunrise, will be the fifth cruise call to Jamaica since the phased reopening of the sector in August. All the vessels have docked in Ocho Rios.

Speaking with JIS News, Chief Strategist/Adviser in the Ministry of Tourism, Delano Seiveright, said that the Ministry is encouraged by the cruise-ship visits and is working with all relevant agencies, including the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) and the Ministry of Health and Wellness, to ensure that the health and safety guidelines are being followed.

Mr. Seiveright said that the Ministry is cognisant of concerns raised by some craft vendors and tour bus operators and continues to work with the relevant stakeholders to address the issues.

“Because it’s a phased reopening, we have to do things in a controlled way. We will get better as we go along, where everything will be more inclusive, but for now, we have to follow international protocols and be cognisant that we are operating in a pandemic and that the cruise passengers cannot just go anywhere and without the assurance that those places are in compliance with the established guidelines,” he pointed out.

Mr. Seiveright said it should also be noted that Ocho Rios is the first and only cruise town that has seen any ships since the reopening of the sector and that the town will be used as a template going forward.

“The way we handle things in Ocho Rios will determine, in a big way, the path going forward for Falmouth, Montego Bay, Port Royal, Kingston and Port Antonio. The other cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean are watching,” he noted.

Meanwhile, Mr. Seiveright told JIS News that Jamaica could be on the itinerary for the world’s biggest cruise ship, Wonder of the Seas, which is set to make its long-awaited debut in 2022.

The nearly 7,000-passenger vessel is scheduled to sail from Fort Lauderdale in the United States on March 4, heading to the Caribbean, which could include Jamaica, he noted.

The vessel will then sail to Barcelona and Rome for European tours, eventually making its way to China.

“We could have a banner cruise-shipping year in 2022 if we play our cards right,” Mr. Seiveright said.

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