Carnival Cruise Line Returns to Jamaica as Island Reopens to Cruise Industry

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Cruising returned to Jamaica this morning at 07:30 AM local time as Carnival Sunrise docked in the port of Ocho Rios. The Carnival cruise ship became the first to visit the island since it shut down last year for all cruise operations.

Carnival Sunrise is now the seventh ship in the Carnival Cruise Line fleet to start operating. On Saturday, the cruise ship departed from Miami, Florida, bringing back fun to the Caribbean Island of Jamaica and Bimini in the Bahamas.

Jamaica Welcomes First Cruise Ship Back

The return of cruise ships to Jamaica is welcomed by the government and the thousands of people who depend on the industry. In 2018, Jamaica had the third-highest number of direct spending from the crew, passengers, and cruise line, netting $245 million, creating 9,293 jobs, and creating wages amounting to $56.6 million.

Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett: “We welcome this resumption as we know that thousands of Jamaicans depend on the cruise shipping industry for their livelihood, and it will have a positive impact on our economy in general.”

Carnival Sunrise in Ocho Rios
Carnival Sunrise in Ocho Rios (Photo Credit: The Port Authority of Jamaica)

Christine Duffy, President of Carnival Cruise Line, is delighted to have Carnival return to Jamaica: “We are delighted to be the first cruise ship to return to Jamaica and to offer guests an opportunity to experience all of the country’s beauty. On behalf of Carnival, I would like to personally thank the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Health and Wellness, and our partners for working with us to bring safe cruising back to Jamaica.”

Guests onboard Carnival Sunrise will have the chance to explore the area independently or go on a tour organized by the cruise line.

Options for guests in Ocho Rios include ziplining, horseback riding, ATV excursions, Dunn’s River falls, and even bobsledding, Jamaican-style.

What are the Health Risks for Jamaica?

While the pandemic still poses a threat to travelers and residents of areas that rely on the travel industry, the Jamaican government is now taking a line of risk management.

Stating the importance of the cruise industry, the Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, said a balance is needed between protecting lives and livelihoods:

“These are the challenges we face but we cannot continue to manage the pandemic by always shutting down. Shutting down has serious financial implications and increases the fiscal risk to agencies and statutory bodies like the Port Authority.”

Carnival Cruise Line has decided to sail with at least 95% of the guests and crew fully vaccinated. The cruise line will be conducting extensive testing with those guests who have not been vaccinated. Tourism workers in Jamaica involved with the cruise industry will all receive a vaccination if they haven’t done so yet.

Carnival Sunrise Guests in Ocho Rios
Carnival Sunrise Guests in Ocho Rios (Photo Credit: The Port Authority of Jamaica)

Tourism attractions in the area will be accredited by the government as soon as all those working there have been vaccinated.

The Prime Minister of the island even went as far as to say that cruise lines will not be calling in Jamaica if tourism workers who intend to interface with their clients are not vaccinated.

“We want all workers to be vaccinated and are going to be very strong. We have established a special task force under the co-chairmanship of the permanent secretary, Jennifer Griffith, and the president of the JHTA, Clifton Reader, to drive this process. No cruise passenger will go to any attraction that is not COVID-certified and have licences to operate.”

Carnival Sunrise Sailing the Caribbean and the Bahamas

The 101,508 gross ton Carnival Sunrise sailed from PortMiami on Saturday for a five-day cruise. Besides the call at Ocho Rios, guests have already enjoyed a day at sea; after another sea day, the ship will also be calling in Bimini in the Bahamas.

Carnival Sunrise is the seventh Carnival Cruise ship to resume operations, including Carnival’s newest cruise ship, Mardi Gras.

Carnival Sunrise was formerly named Carnival Triumph; however, the vessel received a makeover in 2019 and was renamed Carnival Sunrise. The cruise ship has space for 2,984 guests, but the ship will be sailing with around 70% occupancy due to the current safety protocols and requirements.

Also Read: Reasons to Take a Carnival Sunrise Cruise

The Carnival cruise ship will be alternating four- and five-day cruises in the Caribbean and the Bahamas. Ports of call on selected itineraries until the end of the year include Princess Cays, Nassau, Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, Grand Cayman, and Ocho Rios, amongst others.

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