Ocho Rios said set for record cruise shipping season
Ocho Rios is poised for a record 2019-2020 cruise ship season with some of the largest vessels in the world scheduled to call at the resort town.
Some 15 vessels have stopped in Ocho Rios since the start of November.
“Ocho Rios alone will be seeing over 756,000 visitors for the cruise shipping season,” Executive Director of Jamaica Vacations (JAMVAC), Joy Roberts, told JIS News.
“Between November and March or say April, which is the busiest period for cruise shipping, the town should be seeing at least one and sometimes multiple ships per day,” she added.
Roberts said that while Ocho Rios does not have docks of the size to accommodate the Royal Caribbean Oasis-type vessels, as in the case of Falmouth, a number of large ships are expected to call.
“The MSC MERAVIGLIA, with a maximum capacity of 6,900, inclusive of passengers and crew, will be making an inaugural visit to Ocho Rios in 2019,” she noted.
“The town will also be seeing a number of ships from Carnival Cruise Lines, the second largest cruise company in the world. These include the Carnival Vista, Carnival Horizon, Carnival Sunrise and the Carnival Sensation,” she noted.
She added that Norwegian ships, as well as a number of other cruise lines, will also be well represented.
She noted that craft traders, restaurateurs, transport operators, attraction owners, duty-free merchants and others will benefit from the port calls.
Ocho Rios has seen an 11.9 per cent growth in port calls between January and October, and there were 450,000 cruise passengers, representing a 2.6 per cent increase.
Roberts credited the growth in cruise ship arrivals to the work that has been done in recent times to improve the aesthetic appeal and the attraction offerings in the resort town.
She noted that JAMVAC has been actively putting strategies in place to enhance the cruise experience by providing entertainment and getting real-time feedback from cruise passengers.
She said amaica has also been getting a lot of support from its cruise partners.
“Passenger feedback has been great, and the cruise lines have been listening. The onus is now on us, and I have been saying this to the Ocho Rios stakeholders, that we should not only try to build on the gains, but we should ensure our passengers can walk the streets and can go back and spread the good word about their Jamaican experience,” she noted.
Meanwhile, Roberts told JIS News that Port Antonio should also see an increase in port calls.
“It is also looking positive for Port Antonio. This is much deserved, and I know our visitors will enjoy the offerings over there in that beautiful town,” she said.
JAMVAC Limited is an agency of the Ministry of Tourism with direct responsibility for the cruise sector.