- Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the call of the largest cruise ship in the world, Harmony of the Seas, at the Falmouth port in Trelawny last week, justifies the investment in the construction of the facility.
- It was built in anticipation of the growing demands of the cruise industry and the fact that ships are getting bigger.
- “We can now look back and say that the deal with RCCL to construct Falmouth was very significant,” he points out.
Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says the call of the largest cruise ship in the world, Harmony of the Seas, at the Falmouth port in Trelawny last week, justifies the investment in the construction of the facility.
He notes that of the 1.7 million cruise passengers who visited Jamaica last year, 1.2 million came through the Falmouth port.
The facility, which opened in March 2011, involves partnership between Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL).
It was built in anticipation of the growing demands of the cruise industry and the fact that ships are getting bigger.
The port has a variety of retail and duty-free shops, restaurants and excursion options.
The three largest cruise ships in the world – ‘Harmony of the Seas’, ‘Oasis of the Seas’ and ‘Allure of the Seas’, which are all owned by RCCL, will be making regular calls at the port during the winter.
Harmony docked at the port last Tuesday (November 22) with 8,550 guests and crew.
Minister Bartlett says that for Jamaica to compete as a cruise destination, it has to be able to accommodate mega liners such as ‘Harmony of the Seas’.
He notes that given its proximity to the home ports of Florida, Jamaica has become a year-round cruise destination and a mainstay on western Caribbean itineraries.
“We can now look back and say that the deal with RCCL to construct Falmouth was very significant,” he points out.
“Throughout this winter, it will be hosting the three largest cruise ships in the world, which would not have happened if we weren’t proactive in our approach. For this I want to single out the Port Authority and its leadership for their vision,” he says.
He notes that in order to compete with other ports of call in the region, it was imperative that a facility of the calibre of Falmouth be built, giving Jamaica the opportunity to accommodate the mega liners.
This view is also shared by Captain of ‘Harmony of the Seas’, Johnny Faevelen, who sees the Falmouth port as the proverbial “goose that lays the golden eggs”.
“It was a brilliant idea to construct this port,” he notes.
“It was truly a stroke of genius and Jamaica is now reaping the benefits. Being nestled neatly between Ocho Rios and Montego Bay gives it the perfect opportunity to get the best of both worlds,” he adds.
The Port of Falmouth is located on the nation’s northern coast, approximately 43 miles east of Montego Bay, 59 miles west of Ocho Rios, and right along cruise-shipping routes.
From Falmouth, visitors can access most of the tours currently offered from Montego Bay and Ocho Rios.
Given its excellent location and its ability to host mega liners, many cruise ships that make the Caribbean their home, make regular calls at the Falmouth port.
The port adheres to international standards for security required by the major cruise lines and United States Homeland Security.Mr. Bartlett tells JIS News that Jamaica has enjoyed a good relationship with RCCL.
“Indeed, it is a partnership that has resulted in the largest port of entry in the English-speaking Caribbean and one that has taken our cruise tourism to newer heights,” he notes.
Mr. Bartlett says the visit to Jamaica of the three major ships in the world will enhance the growth in tourism and increase the potential for visitors to come back for longer stays.
He says the Government is committed to “building out the experiences that the cruise visitors require when in Falmouth.”
“We are committed to ensure a safe, seamless and secure destination. We have been investing along that line for quite some time now. Our partners, the Port Authority and the Urban Development Corporation (UDC), have been collaborating to build out the creative experiences in this historic town,” he indicates.