Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer
For the second time in months, a cruise liner scheduled to dock at the new Falmouth Port in Trelawny has changed course.
The latest ship to cancel is Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas, which was booked to make its maiden call at the port this Friday. The ship would have carried some 3,000 passengers.
"The first ship will now come in on February 17, and that will be the Voyager of the Seas out of Galveston, Texas," said John Tercek, vice-president of commercial development at Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. The Voyager will make weekly calls as of then.
"It sort of makes sense for everybody. The reality is, it will be working better in February than now," said Tercek.
And by March 22, the megaliner Oasis of the Seas, which has a capacity of more than 6,000 passengers, will make its call.
Admittedly disappointed, Tercek said executives of the cruise line met with Port Authority of Jamaica officials at the facility last week and decided that the project needed more time.
He said the strike by workers at the dock yesterday made the decision easier.
"That sort of pushed us off the cliff in making the decision."
The workers are reportedly objecting to the amount of tax deduction from their pay.
Time to prepare
But Tercek is optimistic. "We have been pushing so hard, we feel the extra time will allow us to deliver a much better experience."
He noted that the town still needed some work to get it ready for the ships set to dock there, and said that some government agencies had already started painting buildings and installing street lights.
One of the issues that affected the decision by the cruise executives was the absence of landscaping. "We had anticipated that we would have some entertainment," said Tercek.
Another consideration, he said, was that once construction was going on, that section had to be closed down for a day and a half to accommodate any of the liners that dock there.
"So that is inconveniencing and will delay the job."