The US State Department has revised and raised its travel warning advisory for Jamaica, urging travelers to reconsider visiting the popular Caribbean destination at this time due to increased crime.
As of May 10, 2023, Jamaica is now listed as a Level 3 warning of the four-tier system, with only Level 4: Do Not Travel considered a more urgent warning.
Jamaica Travel Advisory
The advisory to reconsider travel to Jamaica has been recently revised with updates to crime information. The overall summary of crime in the nation notes that:
“Violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides, are common. Sexual assaults occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts.”
The advisory goes on to point out that local law enforcement can be ineffective in responding to incidents, with lengthy prosecution times and different standards of medical care (in case of violent assaults or injuries) than expected in the US.
The travel advisory of a Level 3: Reconsider Travel was first advised for Jamaica in early 2022. This latest update maintains that advisory, but expands on the discussion of types of crime and specific regions of the country where more crimes are recorded to give travelers the most detailed information to make their travel decisions.
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Previously, Jamaica had been listed as a Level 4: Do Not Travel when both crime and COVID-19 conditions were considered, but at that time, the US State Department had many Level 4 advisories for countries all over the world based on local healthcare availability and disease transmission.
In mid-2019, Jamaica was listed as a Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution, with concerns still noted about local crime, but the cautions were not as severe as the current Level 3 advisory.
Cruising to Jamaica
A wide variety of cruise lines visit the several cruise ports of Jamaica, with Ocho Rios and Falmouth being the country’s most popular cruise destinations. Depending on the cruise line and the ship size, vessels may also call in Montego Bay, Port Antonio, and Kingston.
Ships from Carnival Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Holland America Line, TUI Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, and more visit the larger cruise ports, while smaller, luxury lines such as Seabourn, Silversea, and Marella Cruises visit the smaller cruise ports.
When visiting Jamaica, cruise lines offer a variety of curated shore excursions, or guests can choose to explore the port destinations independently.
Popular tours include dolphin swims, snorkeling or other watersports, horseback riding, climbing the iconic Dunn’s River Falls, visiting local rum distilleries, ziplines, jungle hikes, grotto cave explorations, botanical gardens, or the fun and unique “Jamaican Bobsled” mountain coaster.
Read Also: 11 Ideal Things to Do in Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Overall, Jamaica is the sixth most popular Caribbean cruise destination, with roughly 1.66 million visitors annually when all its cruise ports are combined.
Cozumel, Nassau, Grand Cayman, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten outrank Jamaica, but the passenger totals between the fourth (St. Thomas – 1.69 million), fifth (St. Maarten – 1.67 million), and sixth (Jamaica – 1.66 million) ports are very close, and Jamaica could well rise in the rankings with a busy 2023 ahead.
When visiting Jamaica, or any cruise destination, cruise guests should always be cautious and stay in well-populated, well-lit public areas and remain vigilant about their surroundings.
At this time, no cruise lines are revising their itineraries to exclude stops in Jamaica, though the safety of guests and crew members is always a top priority and such revisions can be made if cruise lines determine port calls to become too dangerous.