Barrington Flemming, Gleaner Writer
THE SLEEPY Georgian town of Falmouth sprang to life on Thursday when it welcomed Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines' Voyager of the Seas on its inaugural stop at the Falmouth Cruise Ship Pier.
Thursday's arrival of the Voyager of the Seas, with its 4,500 passengers and crew members, is being used as a dry run for the official opening of the facility which will welcome the world's largest cruise liner, Oasis of the Sea on March 22.
The town was awash with people from as far as Kingston, who made the journey to be part of the history-making event, as Things Jamaican, artisans and craft traders presented some of the best of Jamaica's art and craft.
Mento, reggae and steel-pan music, Rasta drumming, dancers and other performers, including the Deeside cultural group, Hatfield cultural group and Western creativity, all combined to present stirring entertainment.
The HEART Trust National Training Agency mounted "taste of Jamaica experience booths", which had Brad and Tiffany Heyland of Dallas Texas (cruise passengers) relishing the Jamaican fare.
"The food is great, it's our first time to Jamaica and we have always heard about the Jamaican cuisine; this is wonderful. The whole atmosphere is just great," said Tifanny with Brad sharing: "It's just wonderful the food and everything else is excellent."
Minister of Transport Mike Henry told The Gleaner that he was pleased with the project and the activities planned to welcome the vessel.
Regional coordinator of the Tourism Product Development Company, Stainton Baker, said the company was proud to have invested in the beautiful and historic town and was happy that it was now coming to life.
"We realise that this new cruise port will add value to the industry and we are ensuring that we are a part of the development here. Falmouth can only get better from what is happening here and we realise that the people here have embraced it," said Baker.
Grade-12 student of the Herbert Morrison Technical High School Everton Clarke said it was a great opportunity for economic growth in Falmouth.
"This will be a great opportunity for the economy of Falmouth to see some growth. It will create more jobs and people from other sectors will begin to benefit from the cruise industry," Clarke said.
Former mayor and councillor for the Wakefield division, Jonathon Bartley, was beaming with happiness when he spoke with The Gleaner.
"My dream has come true; I am so happy. In 2003 when I became mayor, I always said that Falmouth once had five harbours and I always believe that one should reopen to capitalise on the cruise market because Falmouth has a lot of history that can put Trelawny on the world market. I always lobby for that, so I am so proud today."