Falmouth’s cruise boon downgraded
Michael Belnavis, the chairman of Jamaica National Cruise Council, says the expected boon from the increase in the number of ships calling at Falmouth Pier due to hurricane destruction to other piers in the Caribbean and Key West in Florida, has fallen short of original expectations.
"Our original expectations were that 68 ships would be re-routed to Falmouth," said Belnavis. "We have had a number of cancellations. This is because Royal Caribbean has decided to repair damaged piers rather than wait on respective governments. As a result, some of the damaged ones have come back on stream quicker than originally expected."
The chairman further disclosed that although there have been cancellations, Falmouth has been benefitting more than usual.
"It is not just Falmouth ... two entertainment destinations have shown increased visitors from cruise ships," added Belnavis. "Dunns River Falls and Chuka Cove have registered increased numbers when compared to last year this time."
In the meantime, Belnavis revealed that an added entertainment spot will soon come on stream as a part of the entertainment on offer to cruise passengers coming to Falmouth.
"Plans are far advanced to transform the old Barrett Building on Market Street in Falmouth into a mega entertainment spot. This will go a far way in providing alternative entertainment for passengers disembarking in Falmouth," said Belnavis.
Ships now calling even on Sundays
Falmouth mayor Colin Gager says that despite the cancellations of some of the vessels which were expected to come to Falmouth, Trelawny, he was still pleased with the increase in numbers.
"We now have ships calling almost every day of the week, including Sundays," said Gager. "We have done some things to remedy the harassment. It is not totally eliminated, but the new arrangements where drivers are parked in a designated area is working wonders.
" The craft traders, who were at the public health facility, have been removed to a more attractive area. They will be there temporarily until a new facility on Seaboard Street is completed," added Gager.
However, Kayan McGlasin, one of the relocated craft vendors, is not pleased with the new arrangement for craft vendors, saying they are suffering from a lack of business.
" The port officials have not marketed our new area well ... we have requested that the trolley with its passengers stop by us but this has been denied. If the trolleys stop by us, we would see increased business," said McGlasin.