Jamaica first stop for world’s largest cruise ship

KINGSTON, Jamaica – 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.

Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett says 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.

“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 said.

Noting that the Falmouth Pier will be accommodating three of the four largest cruise ships in the world, the Tourism Minister 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.

The Tourism Minister noted that 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 past 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,” Bartlett noted.

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,” he said.

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