Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer
More than 23,000 cruise-ship passengers and 9,000 crew members docked at three of the island's ports yesterday, as the season kicked into high gear.
The former cruise-ship capital, Ocho Rios, welcomed three vessels, Historic Falmouth Port ushered in two, and the tourism capital, Montego Bay, had two mega liners docked at its Montego Freeport.
Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas and Allure of the Seas docked in Falmouth with 9,450 passengers; the Carnival Magic and Norwegian Jewel brought 6,599 persons to Montego Freeport; and the Carnival Breeze, Norwegian Pearl and The Riveria combined had 7,739 persons onboard in Ocho Rios
"A total of seven ships in one day is signalling a robust season which kicks in early December and ends in April 2014," was how Dolphin Cove's Marilyn Burrowes described the arrival of the vessels.
She pointed out that the passengers were not only docking and looking at the country from their cabins, but were, in fact, "descending the cruise liners and touring our attractions".
Burrowes, who is director of marketing at the iconic St Ann attraction, gets 50 per cent of her business from the cruise sector and 50 per cent from land-based operators.
She said the numbers were heartening, owing to the fact they were down earlier this year.