After a relatively slow start earlier this year, Jamaica is now full steam ahead with re-opening its border for the cruise industry and the much-needed economic boost that it will bring.
The Port Authority of Jamaica is working through plans to have all cruise ports on the island operational by the end of the year 2021. Currently, the only port operational in the country is Ocho Rios, which successfully served to provide data on operating other ports around the country.
After the careful start that saw Jamaica open up for cruises slowly and steadily, the country is now ready to open up more and more for tourists to arrive by cruise ship, at least, if it’s up to the Port Authority of Jamaica.
Assistant Vice President, Marketing Communications at the Port Authority, Kimberley Stiff said: The Port Authority, with the guidance and support from the Ministry of Health and Wellness, has been systematically devising and implementing mechanisms and solutions to ensure a safe and secure restart of the cruise-shipping sector within the COVID-19 operational context.”
The ports in Jamaica that are capable of receiving cruise ships include the largest cruise port on the island, Ocho Rios, on the north shore; Port Royal, the gateway to the nation’s capital Kingston; Port Antonio, a small port also on the north side; Falmouth, one of the more well-known cruise ports on the island; and Montego Bay, Jamaica’s second-largest cruise port.
Ocho Rios has already seen a steady stream of ships arriving over the last few weeks, and this will only increase. So far, Carnival Sunrise and MSC Meraviglia have been calling here and will continue to do so over the following weeks.
Port Royal will see visits from the Ultra-luxury cruise ships from Seabourn and Crystal Cruises and calls from Holland America Line’s Nieuw Statendam & Nieuw Amsterdam.
Falmouth expects visits from Liberty of the Seas, Celebrity Reflection, and MSC Seashore. Montego Bay will see AIDAluna, AIDAdiva, and MSC Divina coming for visits. The smallest of the five ports, Port Antonio, has only one visit scheduled so far, that of the Ultra-Luxury expedition cruise ship Scenic Eclipse.
Looking further into the future, Jamaica expects to provide a welcome home to some of the biggest cruise ships in the world, those of Carnival Corporation and the Royal Caribbean Group.
Also, only recently, Jamaica was assured by Carnival Corporation it could expect up to 110 port calls from Carnival’s ships, bringing more than 200,000 tourists to the island.
Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett said:
“Carnival has been one of our longstanding partners and a great friend of Jamaica. As you can see, they were the first cruise line to send a ship once cruises were back on the high seas and they have seen enough to see that our COVID-19 response has not only been commendable but has been of international standard and worthy of them sending their passengers to our ports,”
In November, Royal Caribbean will be looking to start operations in Jamaica and build that up to pre-pandemic levels in 2022, bringing in tens of thousands of fully vaccinated guests.
The tourism minister believes that Royal Caribbean will regularly send no less than four Oasis-class ships to Jamaica from 2022 onwards. These include Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, and the largest cruise ship in the world currently, Symphony of the Seas, with the possibility that Wonder of the Seas will also be making its way to Jamaica.