TWO OF Jamaica's premier attractions - Dunn's River Falls and Dolphin Cove - have been cited by cruise officials as "the most popular and exciting" in the Caribbean for 2003.
Both attractions, located in Ocho Rios, have been given the thumbs up by passengers, cruise officials say, as the places they enjoy most while visiting the Caribbean throughout the cruise shipping season.
"As it relates to feedback from passengers, there's nothing to compare to Dolphin Cove and Dunn's River Falls," said Captain Leif Otto Bang from the Royal Caribbean megaliner Navigator of the Seas in a visit to Ocho Rios last week. "The cruise lines today are more attraction-driven and I must say that Jamaica has two of the finest in the Caribbean." Captain Bang made the comments while on a scheduled stop in St. Mary where members of his crew brought gifts and Christmas cheer to a group of needy children.
His comments also echoed those of Roger McGregor, an executive of Carnival Cruise Lines. "Our passengers consistently rate Dunn's River and Dolphin Cove as two of the premier attractions in the Caribbean," he said. "Ocho Rios has really come a long way and is now one of our better ports of call."
Dunn's River Falls has for years been one of the island's biggest attractions. Literally a tourist haven, it is also one of the country's biggest foreign exchange earners.
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK'
Dolphin Cove located near Dunn's River despite being the proverbial 'new kid on the block' has steadily grown in stature to the point where it is one of the most popular on the north coast. In fact, it is now running a close second to Dunn's River in terms of visitor appeal in Ocho Rios.
According to marketing director Marilyn Burrowes, she is not surprised that Dolphin Cove is popular among cruise visitors, noting that "we stress customer friendliness here at Dolphin Cove... everything revolves around our customers." Mrs. Burrowes said the attraction was bent on continuing on its pathway of excellence for 2004, stressing that "we have an excellent team that only knows one thing, and that is to strive for excellence."
At present, the resort town of Ocho Rios is seeing anywhere between seven to eight vessels per week, the most being experienced by a Jamaican port. The figure is expected to be increased by three more ships come January, making this cruise shipping season one of the best seen in years.
Also cited positively by cruise passengers were Chukka Cove, Taj Mahal Plaza, Island Village and White River Valley.