The Cruise Ship Costa Magica docked in the Ocho Rios harbour on Thursday, January 19 carrying approximately 2,700 passengers and 1,100 crew-members on its inaugural visit to the island’s shores. With a planned schedule to visit the island every two weeks until the end of April, the number of passengers visiting the island via the Costa Magica should provide a noticeable boost to cruise figures for 2006.
Cruise Liasion Officer of the Jamaica Tourist Board, Sharon Williams (left), and Regional Director of JTB, Clive Taffe (right) present Captain of Cruise Ship Costa Magica, Giusepp Russo (centre) with a book on Jamaica, as the ship made its inaugural visit to Ocho Rios, recently.
Representatives from several local organizations, including the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) were invited on board the vessel for a ceremony to welcome the captain and his crew to Jamaica. Gifts of Plaques and books about Jamaica were presented to the ship’s Captain, Giuseppe Russo, by Representatives from the JTB, The Port Authority of Jamaica, St. Ann Chamber of Commerce, Jamaica Attractions Association, Lannaman and Morris Shipping, and Jamaica Tours Limited, which handles shore excursions transportation for the cruise line. According to Captain Russo, the one-week cruise on the Costa Magica will see its passengers visiting ports in Key West, Florida; Cozumel, Mexico; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; and Grand Cayman. Pointing out that he captained the Costa Atlantica on visits to Jamaica in 2005, Captain Russo said he had always received excellent feedback from his passengers about Jamaica and therefore had no second thoughts about including the island on his schedule.
“The projection is extremely good, at the moment we have 2,700 passengers on board and for the next visit we expect 3,000 passengers,” he said.
Regional Director for the JTB, Clive Taffe, who visited the ship, told JIS news that with 2005 being a record breaking year for tourist arrivals to the island generally, then inaugural visits such as that of the Costa Magica was extremely good for the island.
“Jamaica offers so much to the visitor both on land as well as the cruise ship visitors, so we look forward to cruise ships such as this coming to Jamaica more and more,” he stated.
Chief Executive Officer of Lannaman and Morris Shipping Limited, Harry Maragh, told JIS News that out of 14 cruise lines visiting Jamaica his company represented nine. “Jamaica today is a very hot commodity, the tours are improving, the harassment is down,” he said. Lannaman and Morris Shipping handles that cruise line in Jamaica.
He credited the efforts of the Port Authority of Jamaica to create more berthing space, which he noted was needed in the Montego Bay and Ocho Rios ports. Mr. Maragh called for a more centralized organization of craft markets across the island, for vendors to fully benefit from the cruise ship industry.