‘Sunshine’ returns to Ja’s cruise industry
Jamaica’s cruise-shipping industry began a gradual return to normalcy with the arrival of the first cruise ship in over 16 months on Monday.
The Carnival Sunshine, owned and operated by Carnival Cruise Line, pulled into the Ocho Rios Cruise Terminal in St Ann yesterday to much fanfare. The vessel’s early morning arrival signalled the resumption of cruise operations, which were halted with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic as part of the Government’s containment measures.
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, in a media release last week, said the ship’s arrival was aided by the implementation of international health and safety guidelines to protect Jamaicans and passengers.
A team from the Ministry of Health and Wellness was also on hand to assist passengers sanitise their hands and conduct temperature checks upon arrival.
Representatives of Lannaman and Morris, the shipping agent responsible for over 70 per cent of cruise lines that visit Jamaica, including Carnival Cruise, were present to welcome the ship and its 1,758 passengers, 93.6 per cent of whom are vaccinated against the virus.
The agent’s operations manager, Martine Bramwell, said: “A lot of work was put in by the players of the industry. It eventually came down to Lannaman and Morris’s communication with the Ministry of Health and Wellness to receive the final clearance for passengers to disembark. We are confident that the ministry has been thorough, and they received full cooperation from the cruise line and that Jamaica’s interests, not only on the economic front, but from a health perspective, have been protected.
“Today is a stepping stone for cruise ships to return to Jamaica. We are coming up on the cruise season, which starts in November, and the experience from today will be shared with other cruise lines so that they are aware of the requirements and are prepared to comply,” Bramwell continued.
Carnival Sunrise, which arrived from Miami, Florida, will travel to Bimini in The Bahamas before concluding its voyage in the United States.
An estimated 25 calls from Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, and MSC Cruises will be made to the island’s ports between Monday’s resumption and October 26.