The Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) has secured a number of calls for the upcoming season which signals an uptick in cruise shipping activities across all cruise ports island wide.
This augurs well for Jamaica as during the past year, the PAJ, with the guidance and support from the ministry of health and wellness (MoHW), has been systematically devising and implementing mechanisms and solutions to ensure a safe and secure restart of the cruise shipping sector within the Covid-19 operational context.
Some of these calls which are scheduled to start in mid-November, include inaugural visits as well as calls from ultra-luxury premium cruise lines.
The intensity may be partly attributed to the successful restart in activities at the Port of Ocho Rios which saw the return of cruise ships to the country after a 17-month suspension due to restrictions arising from Covid-19 protocols.
Additionally, the state-of-art modernised world-class cruise ports and facilities contribute significantly to our attractiveness and favourable global stature which in tandem with the allure of our cruise product, resulted in the recognition of four World Travel Awards this year.
Jamaica itself took the title of Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Destination, while Port of Falmouth has been honoured with the trophy for Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Port.
Port of Montego Bay took Caribbean’s Leading Home Port, while the Historic Naval Dockyard at Port Royal was recognised with the prize of Caribbean’s Leading Tourism Development Project.
The Port of Ocho Rios has enjoyed a steady schedule of calls since the restart in September by Carnival Sunrise and MSC Meraviglia which should continue throughout the season.
Port Royal will play host to a number of ships from ultra-luxury premium cruise lines this season including ship calls from Holland America Cruise Line (Nieuw Statendam and Nieuw Amsterdam), Crystal Cruises (Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony), Seabourn Cruise Line (Seabourn Ovation) which is a brand-new ship from Saga Cruises (Spirit of Adventure) and Marella, the first line to call at the Historic Naval Dockyard, which returns with four more calls this season.
A number of inaugural calls are also scheduled including one of the newest ships from MSC Cruises, the MSC Seashore, which will call at the Historic Falmouth Port in November as well as a first call by the Spirit of Adventure which will call at Port Royal in March.
In accepting the World Travel Awards at a virtual ceremony held recently, Gordon Shirley, PAJ chief executive, expressed his delight at the recognition and commented that “although the awards emanated from a period of challenges, we are beginning to see cruise restored to normalcy and bookings are on the increase”.
He also used the opportunity to remind cruise enthusiasts globally of the great value to be obtained from an award-winning cruise destination like Jamaica.
He stated further that “the PAJ are even more hopeful that as a result of the investments the organisation has made in cruise infrastructure this year, the calls for next year’s season will surpass those slated for this year”.
William Tatham, vice president, cruise shipping and marina operations, PAJ added: “I am pleased with the progress of the PAJ’s cruise restart activities, and I am confident that we will deliver a safe and rewarding cruise passenger experience in the upcoming season.”
He also noted that many of the regular ships will return this season including vessels from Disney Cruise Lines and indicated that the Disney Fantasy is scheduled to call at the Historic Falmouth Port in December.
Arising from a successful meeting with Disney Cruise Line’s executives at the recently concluded Seatrade Cruise Global Conference held in Miami, United States, a number of calls from tis line have been secured for the season.