Carnival Cruise Line, on December 1, joined Aida Cruises, MSC Cruises, and Holland America as vessels to have made stops in at least two Jamaican ports since the resumption of cruise shipping to the island.
Carnival’s other stop was in Ocho Rios, St. Ann, while both Aida and MSC Cruises have visited Falmouth and Ocho Rios. Holland America has made stops in both Ocho Rios and Port Royal.
On Wednesday (December 1), Carnival’s Conquest-class cruise ship (Carnival Glory) gave tourism capital Montego Bay, St. James, its first ship in more than 20 months, ensuring that visits have been made to every major port of call in Jamaica.
Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said that with Montego Bay receiving
its first vessel since the resumption of cruise shipping, “Jamaica’s tourism sector has now crossed a major threshold on its recovery drive”.
“I am delighted to welcome cruise back to the tourism capital of Jamaica (Montego Bay),” Mr. Bartlett said in a statement.
“I am certain this will be a welcome move for our stakeholders, especially our small and medium tourism enterprises, which can earn significantly from cruise passengers. We certainly are looking forward to welcoming even more Carnival passengers to our shores, assuring them that they will have both a memorable and a safe experience, instilling confidence in travellers,” he added.
Noting that the return of cruise shipping to Montego Bay is being managed by the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) and Jamaica Vacations Limited (JAMVAC), Mr. Bartlett said Jamaica has been managing its COVID-19 tourism recovery much better than a lot of its international counterparts.
“Within the Resilient Corridors, travellers will be able to tour facilities and participate in prearranged excursions,” he noted.
“Our first objective was, and continues to be, instilling confidence in travellers. We want our visitors to feel comfortable and secure when they visit us, while also ensuring that their experiences are enjoyable and that our vivid Jamaican personality shines through,” Mr. Bartlett added.
For her part, President of Carnival Cruise Line, Christine Duffy, said her company is happy to be back in Jamaica, utilising multiple ports and experiencing Jamaica’s wonderful tourism product.
“We are delighted to return to Montego Bay and offer guests an opportunity to experience all the beauty and charm of this Jamaican port,” she said in a statement.
“On behalf of Carnival, I would like to thank our partners in Montego Bay for working with us to bring safe cruising and our guests back to Jamaica,” Ms. Duffy said.
As Jamaica’s cruise shipping sector continues to gain momentum, following the forced 20-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some persons are predicting a much quicker than expected return to normality, barring the unforeseen.
“The opening of another cruise port is welcome news for tourism and by extension our local economy,” said Chairman of the Island’s Resilient Corridors Committee, John Byles.
“This is especially so for many of the smaller players, such as craft traders and transport operators. They have been among the hardest hit since the closing down of our cruise ports last year March,” he added.
According to PAJ records, between August 2021, when the island reopened to cruises, and the end of October 2021, some 16,237 cruise-ship passengers visited across 10 different cruise calls.
Carnival Cruise Line already has more than half the fleet back in service, and there will be a further two ships restarting on December 13, 2021. The entire fleet is expected to be back sailing by March 2022.