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Falmouth ready for Voyager of the Seas

Published:Thursday | February 17, 2011 | 12:00 AM
Men working to repave Water Square in Falmouth. - PHOTO BY RUDDY MATHISON

Ruddy Mathison, Gleaner Writer

TRELAWNY, Falmouth:

AS ROYAL Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas cruise ship makes its maiden call to Falmouth this morning, residents of the historic town are anticipating its arrival.

The last cruise ship left the Falmouth harbour more than 50 years ago. For some Falmouth residents, the idea of a ship docking in the town seems a novelty, but history will recall that in the 19th century when sugar was king, several ships would dock at the harbour at any one time.

Today's arrival of the more than 3,000 passengers on board will mark the beginning of a new era in the rich legacy of Falmouth.

While the multimillion-US dollar cruise-ship terminal is not expected to be completed before the end of June, enough has been accomplished to facilitate Voyager of the Seas.

"The project is at a stage where it can accommodate cruise ships, even the world's largest cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas, which is expected to call at the Falmouth port in the month of March," said Jes Olsen, manager of the development project.

However, a number of residents say they are not happy with the last-minute efforts by the authorities to get the town ready for this major endeavour. They pointed to Water Square, where the Port Authority with support from the major stakeholders, the parish council and Urban Development Corporation (UDC) are carrying out repaving work.

In time for arrival

According to the UDC, the repaving work and the general beautification of the town will be completed in time for the arrival of the Oasis of the Seas on March 22.

Meanwhile, the Trelawny Parish Council, the UDC, the National Works Agency and the National Solid Waste Management Authority are spear-heading a massive clean-up campaign around the town in anticipation of the arrival of the cruise ship and its passengers. A reception ceremony is also slated to take place this morning, as the parish welcomes the passengers and crew members.

Royal Caribbean, one of the world's largest cruise lines, partnered with the Jamaican Government in building the multifaceted pier and will be docking its two largest ships there - the Oasis and the Allure of the Seas. The first ship was expected to dock in January, but was re-routed because the port was not ready.

rural@gleanerjm.com