New Port Could Revive Jamaica’s Cruise Industry

 

Oasis to dock at Falmouth

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica -- At the Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association’s 49th Annual General Meeting Tuesday, JHTA President Wayne Cummings said last year was Jamaica’s worst year ever in the cruise industry.

Cummings says Jamaica saw a 16.1 decrease in cruise visitors in 2009, with March being the only month where the country didn’t see a decrease. March was flat compared to 2008, so there wasn’t one month in the year where Jamaica’s cruise arrivals improved in 2009.

But Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited, Jamaica and $250 million says that may change soon.

Travel Agent and other press took a first hand look at the much anticipated port at Falmouth, a small town of roughly 4,000 people located just to the east of Montego Bay.

John Tercek, vice president of commercial development for Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited and president of the Falmouth Jamcia Land Co. Ltd, spoke about the project and the expected impact it should have on Falmouth and Jamaica cruising in general.

Tercek noted that the port is owned by the Jamaica Port Authority and that Royal Caribbean is managing the project as well as investing in it. The port, which should be ready by January with the first call scheduled for January 7, 2010 on Royal Caribbean’s Navigator, will cost roughly $125 million dollars. There will also be three separate phases which will include retail shops, dining, an Appleton Rum tour, a Blue Mountain coffee tour, jewelry stores and walking tours. Those phases will also cost roughly $125 million, bringing the total cost to about $250 million.

The impact is such that Tercek says he expects Falmouth’s population to grow to about 15, 000-20,000 people just a few years after the project is complete.

The port is built to accommodate larger ships, mainly Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, an 18-story ship. The smaller ships will continue to call at Port Antonio, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, bringing Jamaica to a total of four active ports, the most in the Caribbean. The preliminary itinerary calls for a stops in Haiti, Jamaica and Cozumel.

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