Sunday 15 September, 2019

World’s largest cruise ship set to dock in Falmouth next May

The Symphony of the Seas cruise ship.

The Symphony of the Seas cruise ship.

Symphony of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship and prime jewel in Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class vessels, is slated to make its inaugural call to Jamaica next year.

With a carrying capacity of 6,680 passengers, the 228,081-ton ship is expected to dock in Falmouth, Trelawny, on May 19, 2020.

Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett, says the arrival of the Symphony of the Seas is not only timely, but should be viewed from the standpoint that Royal Caribbean continues to see Jamaica as a valuable cruise partner and a destination of choice.

“Royal Caribbean has had a long and fruitful relationship with the local cruise industry,” the minister told JIS News on August 14.

“We are therefore very excited that Symphony of the Seas, the world’s largest floating mega resort, will now join its sister ships, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, in calling at the Falmouth Pier in 2020,” he added.

While noting that the Falmouth Pier will be accommodating three of the four largest cruise ships in the world, Bartlett said it should also be viewed against the background of the discussions the ministry and senior Government officials, including Prime Minister Andrew Holness, have been having with the “top brass” at Royal Caribbean, and the commitment “we have given” to ensure their passengers enjoy their visit while in Jamaica.

“To say we are proud that Royal Caribbean has decided to send the Symphony to Jamaica would be putting it mildly,” Bartlett said.

“Jamaica is a world-class destination with many beautiful beaches, outdoor activities, dining and entertainment options, that will provide exciting and memorable experiences for passengers who go on shore,” he added.

The minister further said the visit of the mega-liner will also provide a major boost for Jamaica’s cruise ship sector, which has been steadily showing growth in both earnings and passenger count over the past three years.

He said the cruise industry has become the fastest growing segment in the travel industry around the world, and has boomed with an incredible increase of over 250 per cent over the last 10 years.

“This phenomenal growth has major implications for Jamaica’s tourism industry as we seek to reposition the sector to generate higher growth rates in both visitor arrivals and earnings,” the minister indicated.

For his part, Chairman of the National Cruise Council (NCC) and Mayor of St Ann’s Bay, Michael Belnavis, said the impending visit of Symphony of the Seas is a testament to the kind of relationship Jamaica has had with Royal Caribbean over the years.

“These are huge, expensive, world-class vessels that just don’t show up any and everywhere. These itineraries are carefully planned, and the fact that we will be one of the stops in 2020 speaks volume of the confidence that has been placed in our tourism offerings,” said Belnavis.

At 1,188 feet long and over 215 feet wide, the Symphony of the Seas, which made its maiden voyage in 2018, has a wide variety of food and entertainment options, including 22 restaurants, 42 bars and lounges, theatres, an ice rink, rock climbing walls and a nine-storey zip line.

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