Yeah mon! Jamaica’s new terminal is still not ready to welcome cruise ships

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Royal Caribbean have invested a small fortune in developing a new cruise terminal at the port of Falmouth, Jamaica, to be used by their giant ships Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.
They pumped in £75 million to add to the £90 million the port borrowed from HSBC to pay for the project, which should by now be employing 600 people to welcome more than half a million visitors every year.
But construction delays meant that by the scheduled date of March this year the terminal was not completed , and itineraries for Oasis were hastily rearranged, taking the ship to Costa Maya in Mexico instead.
All was expected to be ready in time to welcome 1,800 passengers from P&O’s Aurora and another 1,250 from Holland America’s Ryndam on November 3, but those visits have now been cancelled and the ships will divert to Ocho Rios.
“The port is not conducive to make a call,” Holland America’s vice-president of Caribbean affairs, Matthew Samms, told local newspaper the Daily Gleaner after visiting the site last week.
Ryndam was scheduled to make several further visits during December, and HAL’s 1,900-passenger Noordam was due in on Boxing Day.
The Gleaner had anticipated the problems, reporting some weeks ago that “the town is in a deplorable condition, the streets are dirty, the courthouse that will greet cruise passengers on arrival is shabby and in need of an urgent facelift.
“A walking tour that is being touted by the community has reached nowhere. Outside of Outameni Experience and Martha Brae rafting, Falmouth has no real attraction that is ready for visitors to experience.”
Royal Caribbean’s 3,100-passenger Navigator of the Seas is now expected to be the first ship to use the terminal, on January 7, with Oasis and Allure following in March.
Jamaica’s president of cruise shipping, William Tatham, said: “Having spent so much money developing this port, our feeling was that the guest experience was more important than anything else. It was always agreed that we would deliver only at a certain level to our customers.”
And putting a brave face on it – but clearly having misplaced their diary containing the original schedule – a spokesman for Royal Caribbean told me: “The revitalisation of Historic Falmouth Port is moving forward as scheduled and we look forward to beginning ship calls at what will be a great cruise port.
“By mutual agreement between the Jamaica Port Authority and Holland America, initial ship calls to Falmouth that were scheduled during November and December 2010 will now anchor at Ocho Rios. This modification will minimize interference with the ongoing construction efforts that include more than 300 workers on site.
“Royal Caribbean looks forward to the cruise port’s successful completion and readiness by January 2011.”
Jamaica operates on its own “island time” and doesn’t have a word which conveys quite the same urgency as “manana.” Here’s hoping they can finally deliver this time.

By | 2010-10-19T18:17:22+00:00 19 October 2010|Cruise destinations, Cruise news|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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