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.

Royal Caribbean drops stops to Egypt


Due to the civil unrest in Egypt, Royal Caribbean has become the latest cruise line to stop port calls to this ancient land.  Royal Caribbean wasn't scheduled to have a ship stop in Egypt until April but has decided to eliminate all scheduled calls there through June 2011.

Instead of making a stop in Alexandria, Egypt, Mariner of the Seas that depart from Civitavecchia, Italy will now stop in Istanbul or Istanbul and Kusadasi, Turkey, depending on the sailing.

In addition, Royal Caribbean has canceled every stop along the Red Sea for Brilliance of the Seas voyages out of Dubai on April 12.  Brilliance will increase its days at sea to nine days after it eliminates three port days in Egypt and Aqaba, Jordan.

Royal Caribbean finalizing Australia plans for 2012/2013


Royal Caribbean is close to finalizing plans to send three of its cruise ships back to Australia for the 2012/2013 cruise season.   Royal Caribbean managing director for Australia, Gavin Smith, said he is certain that Royal Caribbean will have three ships in Australia.

The decision was easy to make after strong bookings for the 2011/2012 seas have made Rhapsody of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas and Celebrity Century quite popular.  It's expected that all three ships will return for the following season to build upon its success down under, so far.

Smith said adding more ships to the area this year has created challenges, but nothing Royal Caribbean cannot handle, “The pressure is maintaining strong forward booking patterns to give the company confidence that they can continue this level of deployment. The continued success of our deployment and our pricing gains us confidence with the parent company. They are continuing to support our operation with the required level of investment. Without question we will have three ships in Australia in 2012/13 and have made the port bookings."

Smith expects to have the plans for Australia in 2012/2013 finalized by March.

Royal Caribbean confirms its commitment to Livorno, Italy


Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas, the sister ship of the third and final Freedom class ship, is calling the port of Livorno, Italy home for the second time during the 2011 cruise season.  Independence will alternate eastern and western Mediterranean cruises, sailing from Southampton in the UK.

In the 2011 season, there are 12 ships calling at Livorno. After Independence of the Seas, will support in the Tuscan port the other ships of the fleet, the first stop will be to Liberty of the Seas April 27, will then be the turn of Brilliance of the Seas May 9, Voyager of the Seas 17 May, Adventure of the Seas May 18, Grandeur of the Seas July 27, and Navigator of the Seas November 7 and Navigator of the Seas November 7. 

"Always the port of Livorno, the company has for a role of primary importance - says Lina Mazzucco, general manager of Royal Caribbean Italy. "We were able to significantly increase the scale of the fleet which become 91 against 79 last year. Similarly, increases the flow of passengers, who went from 227,000 in 2010 to over 323,000 in 2011. "

Royal Caribbean challenges Jamaicans to finish Falmouth port


Royal Caribbean Vice President of Commercial Development John Tercek is encouraging Jamaicans to work harder in the development of the new cruise port at Falmouth in Jamaica.

Falmouth is a joint venture between Royal Caribbean and the Port Authority of Jamaica, but the project has been delayed quite a bit from it's initial plans.  Tercek's call to action is a response to Royal Caribbean's desire to complete the project.

Speaking at the Stocks and Securities Limited investors forum on Tuesday, Tercek was giving a speech on the topic: 'Falmouth and the cruise-ship pier'.  When asked why Jamaica was not realizing its potential in the sector, Tercek responded , "Jamaicans are very good at talking and they are not so good at action. We try to take the initiative. We try to show up, not as talkers but as doers. We are putting a lot of money into the town. We made a lot of commitments to the town and to Jamaica."

"We have been trying to be a catalyst. We can't do it all - we can't restore, rehabilitate ... all of the town (Falmouth). We can do our project. We can bring our guests. We can make further investments into the town, and we are doing all of that ... but it is going to take a lot of initiative, not only from the Government," Tercek said, pointing out that all parties involved will have to take part.

Delays at Falmouth have caused cruise ships to cancel calls to the port.  Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas had been scheduled to make its maiden call at the port back on January 7 burt was forced to cancel. 

The updated schedule has Voyager of the Seas arriving on February 17, followed by Oasis of the Seas in March.

Port Everglades port traffic up 25%


Port Everglades, Florida is the home to Royal Caribbean's flagships, Oasis and Allure of the Seas and the last quarter of 2010 saw cruise traffic up 25% to 1.17 million cruise passengers.

This is great news for not just Royal Caribbean but the cruise industry as a whole because it shows the industry has rebounded nicely from the recession, thanks in part to new ships like Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas or Oasis of the Seas.  Locals in Fort Lauderdale area are happy as well as that means more cruise passengers spending money in the local area before and after their cruises.

In addition, port revenue for the first fiscal quarter was at $37.5 million, a level that exceeds the previous first fiscal quarter peak of $30.6 million in 2008.

Cozumel sees most tourists in seven years


Cozumel, Mexico saw more than 2.9 million cruise passengers in 2010, which is the highest number in the last seven years, according to the state Tourism Department . This figure is the best record in the last seven years which surpassed the 2004 statistics, a period in which they were registered with 2.8 million visitors to the island.  Cozumel lost a great deal of tourists after Hurricane Wilma in 2005.

Helping raise Cozumel's numbers were the arrival in 2010 of Royal Caribbean's twin ships' Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.  These two ships helped Cozumel beat tourist numbers in the same segment of tourism destinations in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean Sea, said the head of the state Tourism Department

Among other reasons, helping Cozumel's cause to bring back tourists, last year Michel Ronan, vice president of Royal Caribbean complimented Cozumel and Mahahual by  describing the island as a safe cruise destination. This tourism department feels this puts them in the preference of companies to bring their clients.