JIS News

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  • Chairman of the National Cruise Council (NCC), Michael Belnavis, says Jamaica is now a major cruise destination, attracting the world’s largest vessels.
  • He cited the visit of Carnival Cruise Lines mega liner, the ‘Carnival Vista’ on November 30, coming eight days after the call of the world’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s ‘Harmony of the Seas’, at the Falmouth Port in Trelawny.
  • Mr. Belnavis said the combination of Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Falmouth as major ports of call has now positioned Jamaica as the premier cruise destination in the region.

Chairman of the National Cruise Council (NCC), Michael Belnavis, says Jamaica is now a major cruise destination, attracting the world’s largest vessels.

He cited the visit of Carnival Cruise Lines mega liner, the ‘Carnival Vista’ on November 30, coming eight days after the call of the world’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s ‘Harmony of the Seas’, at the Falmouth Port in Trelawny.

Mr. Belnavis said the cruise lines are very selective about where they send their luxury vessels, and the fact that Jamaica now plays host to the “crème de la crème” is “more than a feather in our cap”.

“This should not at all be viewed lightly or taken for granted,” he said. ‘Harmony of the Seas’ is the biggest in the Royal Caribbean Oasis-class luxury fleet and the ‘Carnival Vista’ is Carnival’s newest pride and joy. Having both of them now calling on Jamaica is a ringing endorsement of our tourism offerings,” he said.

On April 28, Carnival Cruise Line, the world’s largest cruise company, launched its biggest ship ever, the 3,954-passenger ‘Carnival Vista’. The vessel, which has just completed a stint in Europe, is now plying the Western Caribbean route, making its inaugural stop in Ocho Rios last Wednesday.

Mr. Belnavis said the combination of Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Falmouth as major ports of call has now positioned Jamaica as the premier cruise destination in the region.

“It is not a stretch to suggest that Jamaica is now enjoying first-call status as a cruise destination,” he noted.

“I am also encouraged that the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) is being proactive in carrying out infrastructure work in the major cruise-shipping towns to enhance the product,” he added.

For his part, owner of Royal Shop, Ravi Daswani, who is a key member of the Duty-Free Association of Jamaica, urged stakeholders to “continue putting their best foot forward” in ensuring that the tourism product is protected.

“These are really exciting times that we cannot afford to squander,” he pointed out.

“The cruise lines have given us an unbelievable vote of confidence and we cannot afford to be complacent. We have to understand that cruise shipping, and by extension tourism, is everybody’s business and we have to do everything to keep the moment going,” he added.