Record week for cruise shipping, says Bartlett
Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett says Jamaica's cruise shipping is continuing on its stratospheric rise with a record nine ships calling on the nation's ports last Wednesday.
Bartlett said it was the first time in a very long time that every cruise shipping port in the country, including Port Antonio and Kingston, were receiving ships calling within days of each other.
"It was a record week for cruise shipping," Bartlett said.
"On Wednesday, we broke the record for the most ships calling on Jamaica in a single day by two. Of course, we will recall that we had a record seven ships in 2012, but on Wednesday we had nine: three in Ocho Rios, three in Montego Bay, two in Falmouth and one in Port Antonio."
Bartlett noted that the nine ships represented some 20,000-plus passengers in a single day, giving Jamaica's cruise tourism industry another significant boost.
The ports of Falmouth, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, Bartlett noted, should be having another banner week starting today.
... Tourism minister happy about interest in Port Antonio and Kingston
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett is noting that Kingston and Port Antonio are very unique tourist locations, offering visitors a chance to see some of the most historic attractions in the country.
"I am very happy with the state of affairs, especially in the interest we are starting to see in both Port Antonio and Kingston," the tourism minister pointed out.
"Of course, the large mega liners cannot go into those ports, but the smaller boutique ships can and that is where our focus will be."
Back in December, Jamaica hosted six ships in a single day, including one in Kingston.
For his part, chairman of the National Cruise Council, Michael Belnavis, said there is absolutely no doubt that Jamaica is well on its way to becoming the number one cruise port in the region.
"In December, I said that having six ships in one day is a major feat by any stretch of the imagination. Well, in March 2017, we have had seven, which is as phenomenal as it gets. I am also happy that Kingston and Port Antonio are starting to get their slice of the cake."
Jamaica currently plays host to the six biggest cruise ships on the planet: the three Royal Caribbean Oasis-class luxury vessels - Harmony of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas. The remaining three are the Norwegian Pearl and the Norwegian Epic, followed by the Carnival Vista.
"I am confident that the projections for tourism over the next five years will be met, especially with what is happening with cruise shipping," Bartlett further added.
"When we get the ships here in record numbers, we can be assured of a large audience that potentially will come back for longer stays. This is why I like to point out that it is a very convenient marriage between cruise shipping and stopover arrival."