Jamaica's Consul General greets Oasis of the Seas passengers


Sandra Grant Griffiths, Jamaica's Consul General, greeted Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas' passengers this past Saturday to commemorate the mega-ship's first stop at the brand new Falmouth cruise port in Jamaica.

The moment took place in Port Everglades, Florida as Griffiths wished the ship a great vacation as it would begin a journey to bring its passengers to Jamaica.  Oasis will dock at Falmouth today, March 22, which coincides with the celebration of the official opening of the Falmouth Port.

Mrs. Grant Griffiths was accompanied on tour by officials of Royal Caribbean Cruise Limited, officials of Broward County Commission, and the Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.

Royal Caribbean cancels all stops in Japan due to earthquake


Royal Caribbean has decided to  cancel all stops in Japan due to the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit the country last week.

Its Legend of the Seas ship will forgo stops at Fukuoka, Japan and will instead skip ahead in its itinerary to Busan, South Korea.

In a statement, Royal Caribbean explained the motivation behind the change, "We are aware that several countries have issued advisories discouraging travel to Japan, and many of our guests have expressed concern about whether it is safe to call there. Although the areas of concern are far from Fukuoka, Japan, there is no doubt that the situation remains fluid and continues to deteriorate. Therefore, we have decided to cancel Legend of the Seas' port call."

Caribbean worried about more ships going to Europe


With another Royal Caribbean ship moving from the Caribbean to Europe in the summer of 2012, the Caribbean Tourism Organization has expressed concern over the growing momentum to take business away from their region of the world.

Royal Caribbean announced earlier than Serenade of the Seas would be leaving the Caribbean in favor of a European itinerary and the CTO is taking steps to develop alternative strategies, with the goal of becoming more competitive in the cruise line business during the summer period.

The Caribbean is still an in-demand place to visit and remains highly rather and Caribbean cruises form a significant part of tourism in general.  Supporting this data is the fact that arrivals increased by 6% in 2010, which continues to build upon strong tourist figures that have been steadily accumulating over the past four decades.

Of particular concern is the Southern Caribbean, which experiences good demand in the winter but the summer season is disadvantaged by the geographic factor and the high cost of fuel.

Royal Caribbean leaving Barbados


Royal Caribbean has decided to end port of calls in Barbados after moving Serenade of the Seas to Europe for the Summer 2012 cruise season.

The move has upset Caribbean officials, namely the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), which has expressed concern about the loss.  CTO Secretary General Hugh Riley said they are aware that repositioning is a normal course of business within the cruise sector, particularly during the summer months.

St. Kitts added to Allure of the Seas' itinerary


St. Kitts and Nevis’ Minister of Tourism Richard “Ricky” Skerritt announced that Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world, will make a stop to St. Kitts in December 2011.

Allure will make a stop at the island's Port Zante cruise pier on December 30.

Royal Caribbean's vice president of Government Relations, Michael Ronan, is excited about the news of bringing Allure to St. Kitts for the first time, "Royal Caribbean International is delighted to bring the world-renowned Allure of the Seas to St. Kitts. While Allure of the Seas is the world’s largest and most revolutionary cruise ship, the ship’s ports of call are also very important to our guests. We look forward to bringing more of them to beautiful and vibrant St. Kitts."

Royal Caribbean now expects 45 ports of call to St. Kitts in the 2011-2012 season by its ships, doubling the 2010-2011 season when just 20 calls were made there.

Falmouth is ready for Oasis of the Seas and other mega ships


The Port Authority of Jamaica announced today that its brand new Falmouth port that opened to cruise ships yesterday is now ready for mega ships like Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas or Allure of the Seas now that all navigational requirements have been met.

When Voyager of the Seas docked yesterday in Falmouth, she was able to confirm that the berthing facilities "met and surpassed global standards".

Falmouth is a joint venture between the Port Authority of Jamaica and Royal Caribbean that cost $170 million.

Mike Henry, Minister of Transport & Works for the Port Authority was excited to welcome even bigger ships to Falmouth, “We are elated with the successful completion of this project which now creates an opportunity for Jamaica to receive Oasis of the Seas, the world’s largest and most luxurious cruise ship, and we will do so at a time, when there is a high level of competition in the cruise industry. In addition, we would like to express our sincere appreciation to our main partners, the Royal Caribbean Cruise Limited, for forming this strategic partnership."

Voyager of the Seas becomes first ship to visit new Falmouth port


Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas became the first ship to dock at the brand new port of Falmouth in Jamaica, located between Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, which opened unofficially on Thursday after several months delays .

The construction of the port results from a joint effort between Royal Caribbean and the government of Jamaica, whose opening was scheduled for last May, but construction delays pushed consecutive opening and forced to change routes of Allure of the Seas & Oasis of the Seas to visit Costa Maya in Mexico.

The official opening of the port is scheduled for March 22 when the Oasis of the Seas will make its first stop there, says a statement from Royal Caribbean. The new port will still receive the scales of the Freedom of the Seas on February 23, Navigator of the Seas on the 24th of this month and the Allure of the Seas on March 30.

In a statement Royal Caribbean says Historic Falmouth is the first port theme and a gateway to more than 60 experiments land on the north coast of Jamaica, including the Good Hope Great House, Dolphin Cove and Dunn's River Falls, Appleton Estate or Rafting on Martha Rae.

Thanks to SoloPolo Kidrealtype Anderson for the photos!

Falmouth port opens today


The port of Falmouth in Jamaica is set to welcome its first cruise ship today after years of construction and some recent delays.  Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas will dock at 8:00am and be the first ship to dock here since Royal Caribbean and the town of Falmouth planned to build a brand new cruise port in this historic port.  

It's been 50 years since the last cruse ship visited Falmouth but today's arrival will bring 3,000 tourists to the town that used to be a center for sugar production in the hemisphere.  

Construction isn't 100% complete yet and wont be until sometime in June 2011, but enough is done so that ships can stop here.

Jes Olsen, manager of the development project at Falmouth is excited for the new first stop, "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".

Royal Caribbean excited about Falmouth partnership


Charly McDonald, a Royal Caribbean Director, is excited about the partnership between the cruise giant and Jamaica.  The brand new port of Falmouth in Jamaica is set to open this week, a project that Royal Caribbean has been working with Jamaica for years to become operational.  Navigator of the Seas will become the first ship to dock in Falmouth on Thursday.

"The port in Falmouth is a good measure of our commitment to Jamaica. We have our biggest ships coming to the island and we will be bringing about 12,000 guests a week to Jamaica who will be able to experience the island, and I'm sure they will love it."

"It certainly will be a great opportunity for the Jamaican industries; the vendors, taxicabs, shop owners and tour operators. Our guests always come back loving their Jamaican experience."

"As we have gone ahead and built bigger ships, we have chosen to partner with a lot of Caribbean nations and different destinations to ensure that the port area, specifically, and the docking facilities are top-notch. If you take a look at our ships, they are essentially five-star resorts on water, and we want to ensure that when we pull into the port, that experience is transferred when our guests walk off the ship; we want them to be comfortable and be able to fully enjoy the destination."

Falmouth businesses getting ready for cruise ships to arrive


Thursday will mark the first cruise ship stop at Falmouth, Jamaica, the new port project that Royal Caribbean has spearheaded to build. Falmouth's opening has been delayed due to construction falling behind schedule but on February 17, Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas will be the first ship to stop at Falmouth and local businesses can't wait.

Joy Laesch, president of the newly formed Trelawny Art and Craft and Entertainment Association, which comprises some 300 of the parish's craft vendors, says locals are ready, "We are prepared spiritually, mentally, and physically. Persons from all walks of life are now seeing the benefits of the trade. There is going to be big demand for local craft items."

The members of the association have been making their own preparations, which includes formal training, with lessons in business and entrepreneurship covering how to manage a business, balance the books, marketing, and customer care.  In addition, the vendors are prepared to operate their businesses in an orderly manner and rotate vendors so that the first 100 craft vendors will sell their goods to guests on Voyage of the Seas on Thursday and another 100 or so will do business when Oasis of the Seas arrives in March.