Royal Caribbean International's Voyager of the Seas today became the first ship to call at Historic Falmouth port. Situated between the popular cruise ports of Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, Historic Falmouth is the first-ever thematic cruise port and is also a convenient gateway for guests to embark on more than 60 exhilarating land experiences along the north coast of Jamaica. Additionally, restoration throughout the town of Falmouth offer guests a wide selection of cultural and historic experiences.
"We are delighted to see Voyager of the Seas make the first-ever ship call at Historic Falmouth," said Craig Milan, senior vice president of Land Operations, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "By partnering with the Port Authority of Jamaica, we are working to deliver our shared vision of Falmouth's rebirth. Together, we are bringing the town's historic sites to life and integrating the culture and authenticity of this destination into a superior guest experience."
The grand opening celebrations of Historic Falmouth port will take place on March 22, 2011 when Oasis of the Seas makes her maiden call into the port. Other Royal Caribbean ships that will be calling at Historic Falmouth include Freedom of the Seas on Feb. 23; Navigator of the Seas on Feb. 24; and Allure of the Seas debuting on March 30. Guests can experience a diverse variety of shore excursions at an additional cost while at Historic Falmouth, including:
- Good Hope Great House: located fifteen minutes from Falmouth, guests can choose from the new horse & carriage ride, river-tubing, ATV exploring, among others, on this former 18th century Jamaican plantation.
- Dolphin Cove & Dunn's River Falls: adventure seekers can climb Dunn's River Falls; zip-line through the lush rainforest canopy or wind down the mountainside on a Jamaican bobsled at Mystic Mountain; or swim with the dolphins at Dolphin Cove.
- Appleton Estate: after a scenic drive through the Cockpit Country and Bamboo Avenue, guests can indulge in one of Falmouth's old-world delicacies by learning to make rum and sampling different aged rums.
- Rafting on Martha Brae: located five minutes from Falmouth, guests can enjoy a tranquil ride on a 30-foot bamboo raft.
"Falmouth has an important place in the cultural history of Jamaica. It is especially rewarding for us to use that history as an entree for a new generation of guests," said Hon Mike Henry, Jamaica's Minister of Transport and Works, who has portfolio responsibility for cruise shipping. "Our sights have always been set on being the preeminent cruise destination, and with the best-in-class berthing facilities at the Historic Falmouth port, we'll now easily welcome the world's largest ships."
The revitalization of Historic Falmouth is a multi-phased development project with the first phase near completion offering a two-berth pier, retail and restaurant services as well as a transportation center. Subsequent phases will include onsite attractions and experiences, hotel and residential developments, as well as additional retail and restaurant options. The town also has many prominent houses, shops and public buildings built in the 18th and 19th centuries that are still standing, but are in need of refurbishment. The restoration and preservation of several historic buildings in Falmouth is currently underway.
Falmouth was founded in 1790 from land owned by Edward Barrett. His granddaughter Elizabeth Barrett Browning would later be celebrated as one of the greatest poets in the English language. At that time Jamaica was the world's leading sugar producer, and this was most evident in Falmouth with more than 80 sugar estates nearby. The town was meticulously mapped out in the Colonial tradition, with streets named after British royalty and heroes—King Street, Queen Street, Rodney Street (after 18th century naval leader Admiral Lord George Rodney) and Wellington Street (after Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington). The remarkable density of historic Georgian architectural buildings, which residents have lived in and maintained, is reflective of the town's rich heritage. Its public amenities included the first piped water supply system in the Western Hemisphere, established in 1799. The town prospered throughout the first half of the 19th century and was the birthplace of the abolition slavery movement. Falmouth was the site of many revolts, and many of the buildings in the town served as safe houses for those who had escaped. In fact, a prominent Falmouth reverend, William Knibb, whose house still stands in the town, was granted Jamaica's highest civil honor, the Order of Merit, in 1988, 150 years after the abolition of slavery.