Falmouth, Jamaica Photo Update


On our cruise to Falmouth, Jamaica last week, we took some time to take some photos of the port area to give you an idea of what the construction progress is like.  To be honest, we found the port a lot further along than we had read about.  

Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein evaluates Oasis of the Seas, Labadee and Falmouth


Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein has returned from a trip aboard Oasis of the Seas for an on-site evaluation of what's happening not only aboard the ship but he took a careful look at the operations at Labadee (Royal Caribbean's private island) and Falmouth, Jamaica.

Adam seemed pleased with how Oasis of the Seas was running and thought things were going well.   He did seem to have an issue with the art program aboard Oasis of the Seas, presumably related to the art auctions, "I did state in no uncertain terms that I was less than pleased with certain aspects of our art program."

While on Labadee Adam felt that things went exceedingly well and found the operation at Royal Caribbean's private beach to be top notch.  That being said, he thinks Royal Caribbean can do more to market Labadee and prepare its guests for what's waiting for them, "My takeaway is we need to do an even better job of marketing what Labadee is. I spoke to someone who had visited a number of the cruise industry’s private destinations prior to coming to Labadee. He said he and his people were just not prepared for how much there is at Labadee."

At Falmouth, Adam characterized the progress at the port as "90% done".  He mentioned that the most important task left to do here is to complete construction of the arrival/departure terminal building, which should have been done by now but Adam says it will be done in September.

In terms of merchants, Adam says Royal Caribbean expects 70% of the available retail space to be occupied in the next few weeks.  He also hinted that some new restaurants will be added in the near-future.

Jamaica Labor Party blasts Falmouth for slow development


Senator Dennis Meadows of Jamaica's Labor Party lashed out over the lack of development in Falmouth, Jamaica since the port opened to cruises in February 2011.  Falmouth's cruise port is a $7.5 billion endeavor that is a partnership between Jamaica and Royal Caribbean.

"The apparent abandonment of the town since the opening of the cruise ship pier demonstrates the perceived lack of commitment on the part of various government agencies in sustaining the focus on the development of Falmouth."

According to Meadows, businesses in Falmouth have experienced up to a 50 percent fall-off in their revenues since the implementation of the traffic management system in February.

When Falmouth was being planned, there were several projects that were to be included in the finished product including an artisan village, municipal market, and a transport center.

Meadows went on to claim that the people of Falmouth were feeling a sense of abandonment and urged the government agencies in the area to make plans to finish development of the area.

"There is a pervasive sense that the people are subjects of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines which seem to be the primary focus and the sole beneficiary of the development that has so far taken place, and this is unsustainable."

Falmouth helps propel Jamaica into top 10 fastest-growing cruise destination


Jamaica is back in the top-10 fastest-growing cruise destinations in the region after not making the list for the last five years.  Jamaica posted double-digit growth between January and May 2011, growth that has coincided with the opening of the Falmouth cruise port in February of this year.

Since February, Falmouth has seen nearly 181,650 passengers and 65,400 crew arrive which translates to generating $15.8 million in passenger expenditure.  

Falmouth was developed by the Port Authority of Jamaica in partnership with Royal Caribbean Cruise Limited (RCCL), whose investments were estimated at $167 million and $102 million, respectively.  Royal Caribbean has promised to send eight million cruise passengers over the next 8 years into Falmouth.

Ahead of Jamaica is St Maarten with 21.5% growth, followed by the Bahamas at 16% and Jamaica in third with 12.6%.

Falmouth Jamaica Photo Update


Many of our readers are eager to know the state of construction at Falmouth, Jamaica.  Being one of Royal Caribbean's newest ports of call, it's a common stop for many Royal Caribbean Western Caribbean cruises.  If you're curious what the state of affairs are, here are some photos of the port that Otterman34 posted on CruiseCritic recently.

Falmouth now busiest pier in Jamaica


The newly opened cruise port of Falmouth (developed by the Port Authority of Jamaica in partnership with Royal Caribbean) is so busy with ships stopping there now that it has overtaken Ocho Rios as the busiest on the island, according to data from the PAJ and Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB).

Much of the crowds coming to Falmouth is thanks to Royal Caribbean's massive Oasis class ships that visit each week, carrying some 6,000 passengers and 2,000 crew.

Falmouth's effect is being felt all over the island as this month alone has seen a 41% rise in total cruise passengers at Falmouth, Montego Bay, Ochio Rios and Port Antonio compared to a year ago.

From February to April 2011, the Falmouth pier has had almost 100,000 passengers and 34,650 crew pass through which in turn has generated roughly US$8.7 million in passenger expenditure.

The Jamaica Public Bodies 2011-12 doesn't want to forget about Ochio Rios and plans to keep the former leader competitive, "To further capitalize on developments in the cruise industry and maintain a secured position in this area, plans are also in place to upgrade the Ocho Rios cruise ship pier".

Vendor applications in Falmouth spike on cruise days


The brand new port of Falmouth, Jamaica is bustling with new cruise ship passengers who are visiting the port every week and that has local businesses excited.  So much so that the Trelawny Parish Council is overwhelmed with applications for vendor licenses on days when ships are in port.

Last month the Trelawny Parish Council started encouraging vendors to register after reports of some locals harassing cruise guests.  The council reports that in just four days, over 1000 applications have been submitted.

Falmouth Mayor Colin Gager isn't sure how to proceed, "We are overwhelmed by the number of venders who want to sell craft items and at this point we are not sure how we are going to accommodate all of them".

The original plans by the council called for between 20 and 25 vendors in Water square to be allowed on a rotating basis.  In addition, there would be another 50 allowed on the pier during a day when a cruise ship was docked.

Video of the Day: History comes to life in Falmouth, Jamaica


Some complain effects of cruises to Falmouth not felt yet


There's been about seven cruise ships to stop in the brand new Falmouth, Jamaica port so far and while the port's opening has been the subject of much praise and celebration, some locals in the port town are complaining that the economic benefit they were expecting has not been felt yet.

Trelawny Chamber of Commerce President Richard Bourke says some people in the business community have complained about the cruise ship effects, "I am getting both positive and negative reactions. The craft vendors are reporting increased business, while the wholesalers, retailers, restaurants, and law offices in Water Square are complaining that the traffic restrictions in the square have severely disrupted their businesses."

In addition, Bourke is critical of how basic services in Falmouth have been prioritized. Specifically, the transportation center that hasn't been bult yet, the unfinished police station, and the new market that were supposed to be completed from last year are all areas that need to be addressed.

In response to these complaints, Godfrey Dyer, Chairman of the Tourism Enhancement Fund, said improvements in Water Square should be finished by the end of this month.

Falmouth port officially opens with ribbon cutting ceremony


With the docking of Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas on March 22, the brand new Falmouth port in Jamaica is officially opened after a ribbon cutting ceremony that was attended by Jamaican officials and Royal Caribbean represenatives.

Royal Caribbean chairman Richard Fain was on hand for the ceremony along with Jamaica Minister of Transport and Works, Mike Henry, Prime Minister Bruce Golding, Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett,  Member of Parliament Dr Patrick Harris and chairman and chief executive officer of the Port Authority of Jamaica, Noel Hylton. 

Henry, in his opening remarks, said, "I am happy to be part of this official opening ceremony for the new cruise ship port here in Falmouth. It is certainly good to be no longer hearing about one cruise port being poised to stifle the others, but about the very exciting times that are here and ahead for the local cruise sector.

"... Whether the cruise liners dock in Montego Bay, Falmouth, Ocho Rios or Port Antonio, it is important to remember that we are one country, from Negril to Morant Point, as we collectively search for a better life and more opportunities for each and every one of us".

The Falmouth project was developed by the Port Authority of Jamaica in partnership with Royal Caribbean Cruises.