Sophisticated cruising Jamaica holidays with new port of Falmouth to be "world class"
With Jamaica's old por of Falmouth rapidly developing to become a world class mega-port, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett told USA TODAY during an interview how the new port would enrich the Jamaica holidays industry and discussed plans for the island.
As the popular saying goes, good things come to those who wait, and that's definitely the case for the cruising Jamaica holidays industry with the soon-to-open cruise ship port in Falmouth. "It will be a world class mega-port," Jamaica tourism minister Edmund Bartlett told USA TODAY in an exclusive interview to discuss plans for the destination. "The (port) facility is state of the art, and the shore excursion experience that will be provided to visitors will be second to none."
Originally scheduled to receive its first cruise ships this year, the development of Falmouth's port was a bit delayed and still remains under works after construction delays that Bartlett blames in part on heavy rains during the fall. But he says he's confident that Jamaica holidays will be ready in time for several ships now scheduled to arrive in January with a Grand Opening scheduled for March.
Founded in the 1700s as a trading hub and once one of the Caribbean's busiest ports, receiving one too many passengers who arrived to holidays in Jamaica, Falmouth is noted for being one of the region's best preserved Georgian-era towns. Still, until now it hasn't drawn many tourists. It's located on the north coast of Jamaica less than 20 miles east of Montego Bay.
"The town is a Georgian architectural dream, and a lot of work is being done to restore and create the sense of the Georgian period," Bartlett explains .
Bartlett says the port will offer a wide mix of options for ships in the cruise holiday industry, including shopping. Already, all the major roadways in and around the town have been refurbished and repaved, and a number of historic buildings near the town's dock will have been restored by March, Bartlett says.
Still, Falmouth will be "a continual work in progress," he added. While the port facilities will be ready in early January, the historical part of the destination will take another year-and-a-half to be completely restored.
That said, Bartlett notes that while the average Caribbean port offers 40 tours for cruise passengers, Falmouth already has confirmed 60 tours for its debut.
The first ship now scheduled to arrive in Falmouth is Royal Caribbean's 3,114-passenger Navigator of the Seas, on Jan. 7. Other ships scheduled to begin visiting Falmouth in coming months include Royal Caribbean's 3,634-passenger Freedom of the Seas and, in March, the line's 5,400-passenger Allure of the Seas -- the world's largest cruise ship.
Allure's sister ship, Oasis of the Seas, originally had been scheduled to begin calling in Falmouth in May of this year.
Bartlett is predicting that, upon opening, Falmouth will create "a big buzz" in the world of cruise ship tourism. "We are the preferred destination in the Caribbean, and I think this new port is only going to add to the appeal of Jamaica," he concludes.
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