Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer
JAMAICA WELCOMED its first Finnish cruise line Tuesday morning at the Montego Bay Cruise Ship Pier.
The ship, Kristina Katarina, is also the first to home-port in the island for a total of three days, giving restaurants and nightlife operators in the Second City an opportunity to host the sea-based passengers outside regular cruise-ship hours.
The cruise, which started in Barbados and stopped in Dominican Republic en route, had some 334 passengers and 92 crew members on-board. Jamaica is its homeport, meaning the passengers who were brought here via sea will fly from the island to their respective countries, while another group of passengers will commence the cruise here.
"We have been working on getting them here between two and three years now," stated an excited Oliver Townsend of Caribic Vacations during a plaque-exchange ceremony on-board Tuesday.
According to Townsend, it is extremely encouraging to have the ship home-porting, as the passengers do excursions, visiting various parts of the island during the day, "And are able to take in the nightlife and visit some of our restaurants at nights."
The ship's handlers are Lannaman and Morris Shipping Limited, the company which organised the plaque-exchange ceremony aboard.
On hand to welcome the ship was mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Glendon Harris, William Tatham, vice-president of cruise shipping at the Port Authority of Jamaica, Andrew Issa, honorary consul to Finland in Jamaica, Mark Hart of Hart Group of Companies, and Melody Haughton, president of the Craft Traders Association.
Issa presented the ship's captain, Ulf-Peter Lindstrom, with a very special conversation piece, a signed Usain Bolt shirt which was beautifully framed.