There was a time, not so long ago, when cruise lines had little or no role to play in the development of ports other than their own private destinations. Things sure are different now, and the change is best exemplified by a huge project Royal Caribbean has spearheaded in the Caribbean as described by Craig Milan, our Senior VP, Land Operations and President of Royal Celebrity Tours:
For the past 3 years, Royal Caribbean has been leading an initiative in collaboration with the Port Authority of Jamaica to create a brand new cruise port of call: “Historic Falmouth Jamaica”. The port is located on the North coast of Jamaica midway between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. It is currently under construction and is designed to accommodate two large ships simultaneously. It meets the operating requirements of the Oasis of the Seas and will become a marquee destination of the Oasis’ Western itinerary beginning in March 2011. The new port will start to accept cruise ships in January 2011 (January 7 with Navigator of the Seas) and Oasis and Allure will start to make biweekly calls in March 2011. Originally we had planned to open this port at the same time as Oasis arrived into Port Everglades but as is often the case with really big projects, it has taken somewhat longer than we originally anticipated. But we are no less excited by the prospect for the development.
The project was designed by renowned thematic designer Idea Group of Orlando to reflect the historic character of Falmouth, Jamaica. Falmouth was founded in 1769 and maintains much of its historical patrimony. It was the original port of Jamaica and the site where many slaves were brought to the New World. For a time it was also the world’s leading export port for sugar and rum. Time passed, shipping activity moved to Port Royale in Kingston and Falmouth harbor gradually silted in. Historic Falmouth Port will begin the revitalization of this town, now located in the booming touristic zone of the North Coast of Jamaica between Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. The buildings and attractions of Historic Falmouth Port are being designed in classic Georgian style. As the phases of the port are implemented the new state-of-the-art port will blend into the old town. It is anticipated that the remaining designated historic buildings in the community will gradually be restored.
Royal Caribbean and Port Authority of Jamaica anticipate that Historic Falmouth Jamaica will become one of the premier ports of call in the Caribbean, offering a unique historic ambiance together with a broad range of adventurous tour opportunities. I have attached a rendering of Historic Falmouth as well as a recent picture of the development so you can get a feel for what this new exciting destination will look and feel like.