This Week in Cruise: Caribbean Islands Step Up Cruise Investment

The Bahamas
The Bahamas just announced a big plan to promote cruise travel to the destination. // Photo by dani3315/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

This week in the cruise industry saw major Caribbean destinations stepping up their investment in cruise travel.

Partly in order to accommodate Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, the Oasis-class Symphony of the Seas, the Bahamas has signed a multi-year agreement with the cruise line that involves major enhancements to CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private island destination. The updates will include the construction of a pier, additional guest features and amenities, and new opportunities for vendors and craftsmen to promote the culture of The Bahamas to visitors. The new pier will be able to accommodate the line's Oasis-class ships, including the Symphony of the Seas

The agreement also aims to grow cruise tourism to the Bahamas. 

Royal Caribbean plans to work with the Bahamas government to develop a training program to provide those who aspire to a career in hospitality with a unique opportunity to participate in innovative training and development. The cruise line will create a curriculum that will prepare many thousands of students for careers at sea on board one of Royal Caribbean’s ships. The classes will be facilitated by dedicated instructors who will provide students with theoretical and practical knowledge to help them develop valuable and marketable hospitality skills. In addition to the classroom experience, students will receive on-site guidance and training from shipboard professionals.

At this week’s Seatrade Cruise Global event, meanwhile, Edmund BartlettJamaica’s minister of tourism, and Paul Pennicook, director of tourism, will lead discussions on the island’s "Cruise Jamaica" initiative. Jamaica’s tourism leaders, along with the Port Authority of Jamaica, will focus on increasing greater awareness of Jamaica as a leading cruise destination. Jamaica will be at booth #2621.

Jamaica saw 518 cruise ship port calls in 2016 and more than two million cruisers are expected in 2017. The country is home to five cruise ports, located in Montego Bay, Falmouth, Ocho Rios, Kingston and Port Antonio.

Recently, Jamaica welcomed six of the world’s largest cruise vessels and megaliners on the same day in the ports of Falmouth, Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Kingston. With the six vessels in port, Jamaica played host to over 15,000 cruise passengers.

The new plans come as the Caribbean continues to be a dominant region when it comes to drawing North American cruise travelers. In CruiseCompete’s just-released CruiseTrends report for March, the Caribbean was named as the most popular region for premium and contemporary cruise travel. 

Keep visiting our cruise travel news page for the latest cruise industry announcements, updates and research.