New Year 2011 will herald the first of many cruise ships to arrive at the 32-acre, two-berth Historic Falmouth Cruise Port, when the Navigator of the Seas comes calling at the port on January 7.
The port is a US$220 million project under development by Royal Caribbean Limited (RCCL) in partnership with the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) for the berthing of the cruise line’s Genesis class ship, the newest and largest class of cruise ships.
Historic Falmouth will offer visitors a new port experience, featuring walking tours of the 240-year-old town; restaurants, duty-free and boutique shops, a craft market, and offices. Additionally, visitors will have access to 60 attractions in the surrounding area and in nearby Ocho Rios and Montego Bay.
Work is underway on the building, which are being constructed as part of the US$220 million Falmouth cruise ship port in Trelawny.
When JIS News visited the site recently, work was underway in earnest to complete the terminal and other buildings in time to meet the January deadline.
JIS News also observed a supply cargo ship, the OSC Vegadiep, docked at Berth 2 where it was unloading construction material, testing the readiness the recently completed berth. The finishing touches were also put on Berth 1 recently.
“Historic Falmouth is the first cruise port to become an attraction in its own right, and is poised to transform the town into a host city for Jamaica’s growing cruise industry,” Director of Tourism John Lynch told JIS News
“Smart planning and superior berthing capabilities will attract an increased number of large vessels, and will significantly boost visitor arrivals. Historic Falmouth Port will additionally showcase Jamaica’s diverse range of attractions,” he said.
Work underway in earnest to complete the terminal building at the Falmouth cruise ship port in Trelawny
Falmouth boasts a cadre of historic sites and attractions, some of which are being restored as art of the development plan and to provide services and activities for tourists and locals.
Restoration work on a number of these historic sites has begun and work will continue on others in the years ahead.
Among the historic sites are the majestic court house built between 1815 and 1817 and served as host to many town gatherings, from balls to poetry readings, which now houses the parish council offices.
There is the Barrett House owned by Edward Barrett of Cinnamon Hill, on whose land much of Falmouth was built and the Albert George Market, originally built in 1896 and refurbished in 1989. This market was named for Albert, Duke of Clarence and the future King George V, who visited Jamaica in 1882.
The Phoenix Foundry is an original structure built by a field engineer around 1810. It was used as an interpretation centre and museum in the late 1970s. The armoury at Fort Balcarres is a 15-square-foot structure with walls four to five feet thick.
St. Peter’s Anglican Church is the first church built in Trelawny (in 1796) while the Tharp House, built in 1785, was one of three houses owned by John Tharp, the largest land and slave owner in Trelawny during the sugar era.
The Old Baptist Manse, which was originally built as a Masonic temple, later became the residence of the missionary and emancipator William Knibb, for whom the William Knibb Memorial Baptist Church is named. Built in 1837, this church is the second Baptist chapel in Falmouth and essentially served as the headquarters of the anti-slavery movement on the island.
Water Square is the site of one of the first public water system on the island and provided Falmouth residents with piped water even before New York City.
The cannon at Fort Balcarres is one of the original two cannons that remain of the fort built in 1811 to defend the harbour.
Among the attractions are the Glistening Waters, which lies just east of Falmouth. This luminous lagoon is one of Jamaica’s most spectacular natural wonders.
The restoration and preservation of several historic buildings in Falmouth is being undertaken as a multi-agency government project involving both private and public sectors. It is expected to generate 300 new jobs in addition to the several hundred created during the construction stage.
Founded in 1769, Falmouth is considered one of the Caribbean region’s best-preserved towns from the Georgian era. The historic district is a National Heritage site with many late 18th-century and early 19th-century buildings still standing.
Also recognised by the World Monuments Fund, Falmouth has been listed on that organisation’s “Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites” four times in the last decade. This rich architectural heritage gave inspiration to the design of the project, which will support a natural integration with the historic town of Falmouth.