Buoyed by the arrival of half a dozen cruise ships in one week, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett is pushing to add Kingston to the list of ports welcoming vessels.
“The return of cruise shipping to our ports is further proof of the growing demand for our first-class and top-quality tourism product. Six ships in one week is an indication that the cruise sector is coming back. Based on current projections, we expect to welcome some 75,000 cruise passengers between November and December 2021,” he said.
The minister noted that with Ocho Rios, Port Antonio and Falmouth already seeing a return of cruise business, focus will be placed on Port Royal and Montego Bay.
“We are also in discussions to get Kingston in on the act, ensuring that by early 2022, all of our cruise ports are back in business,” he said.
Jamaica received its sixth cruise ship for the week on November 19, with the Aida calling at the Falmouth Port in Trelawny.
These are the most vessels the island has seen in one week since the return of cruise ships in August.
Four of the ships called at Ocho Rios – Norwegian Gem and Aida on November 15, and Carnival Sunrise and MSC Meraviglia on November 17. The Norwegian Gem and MSC Meraviglia docked at the Reynolds Pier, which has been undergoing a multimillion-dollar facelift for about a year.
The week began with the Falmouth Port receiving Carnival Corporation’s Emerald Princess on November 14, which was the first cruise ship call for the coastal town in 20 months.
“It has been a historic week, so far,” said Bartlett noting that the positive development is the result of the joint efforts of the ministry he leads, the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the Port Authority of Jamaica in positioning Jamaica as a destination “that is both safe and ready for business”.
The minister assured that arrangements have been made to ensure strict adherence to the safety protocols, including managing the movement of cruise passengers.