The Nieuw Statendam, the largest cruise ship ever to visit Port Royal, arrived Thursday morning, November 25, 2021, with 1,300 passengers aboard from luxury cruise line Holland America. The Port Authority of Jamaica has been working hard to get all cruise ports operational before the end of the year since Ocho Rios opened up just weeks ago.
The pandemic has played havoc on the island’s tourism industry, and the return of cruise ships such as the Pinnacle-class Nieuw Statendam will help with the recovery efforts.
Offering New Opportunities to Kingston
Jamaica’s capital, Kingston, has consistently been underestimated as a cruise port of call. Ports such as Ocho Rios receive the majority of cruise ship tourists. However, Port Royal, in particular, has more than enough to offer all by itself. The local authorities hope they can demonstrate the port’s potential with the call from the Seattle-based Holland America Line cruise ship.
PAJ assistant vice president, Marketing and Communications, Kimberley Stiff:
“It will provide an opportunity for Port Royal, and by extension Kingston, to showcase its sought-after heritage, culture, entertainment, and other unique offerings that distinguish its cruise passenger experience from any other,” she noted.
The vessel stopped in Port Royal on November 25, the day after she made her first call in Jamaica on November 24 at Ocho Rios. The visit was done with meticulous planning and preparation, especially to ensure everyone stays safe.
“The anticipation is great over here in Port Royal and as we did in Ocho Rios, Port Antonio and Falmouth, we expect that everything will go as smoothly and as seamlessly as possible… with all the health and safety protocols being followed,” Ms. Stiff added.
A Season of Firsts
Nieuw Statendam departed Port Everglades, in Fort Lauderdale, on Sunday, November 21. She is currently sailing a 7-day voyage that, besides Port Royal and Ocho Rios, Jamaica, also calls in Nassau, and Half Moon Cay, the company’s award-winning private island.
The vessel is the fifth cruise ship in the Holland America fleet to resume sailings in 2021. The 2,666-passenger ship will be sailing the Caribbean until April 2022, which includes calls in Jamaica on cruises ranging from 7-11 days, sailing to the Eastern, Western, and Southern Caribbean.
In December, Nieuw Statendam will also be the first cruise ship to call in the Cayman Islands. The vessel will need to comply with a wide variety of health and safety measures developed to keep everyone safe; however, she is, so far, the first and only cruise ship that received permission to restart visits to the Cayman Islands, one of the most popular ports of call in the Caribbean.
As for Jamaica, cruise ship traffic will be increasing even more in the coming weeks as all five cruise ports become operational. The island expects over 100 visits from Carnival Corporation ships, while Royal Caribbean has already hinted at stationing multiple Oasis-class ships at ports inside the country. So far, four out of six cruise ports are operational, with the remaining two due to reopen soon.