Jamaica gets major cruise endorsement – tourism minister

Edmund Bartlett

KINGSTON, Jamaica– Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett says Jamaica’s cruise sector is poised for even further growth, following commitments and “glowing reviews” from the world’s major cruise lines.

Bartlett, who recently attended Caribbean Travel Marketplace in Puerto Rico, said a recent trip to Carnival Corporation’s headquarters in Miami resulted in one of “the biggest cruise endorsements” Jamaica has received “in some time”.

“The owner and chairman of Carnival Corporation, Micky Arison, referred to Jamaica as one of the best and most diversified destinations in the world,” the Tourism Minister said.

“Putting this in the proper context, we just have to remember that Carnival is the biggest cruise company in the world, which currently has eight huge cruise vessels with a capacity for 6,000 passengers each.”

Bartlett further noted that Arison, who also owns the professional US basketball team, Miami Heat, pointed out that with his company growing at four new ships per year, “the partnership with Jamaica will continue to grow also”.

The Minister also revealed that Arison has committed Carnival’s newest Excellence Class vessels, valued at US$1 billion each, to Jamaica.

Bartlett said the Carnival commitment is in line with other “signals we have been receiving” from other cruise lines. He noted that the second largest cruise company, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, whose Oasis Class vessels are the biggest in the world, has also been a huge supporter and “a valuable partner”.

Currently, the Falmouth Port is host to Harmony of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas – the world’s three biggest cruise ships.

Additionally, the Norwegian Pearl and the Norwegian Epic have been making calls to Ocho Rios.

For the January 1 to 28, 2018 period, stopover arrivals totalled 172,380, which was a 6.7 per cent increase over 2017.

“This continued growth in arrivals is proof that our tourism product remains robust and sought after by tourists worldwide. These figures mean that for the period, there were 10,855 more arrivals when compared to the same period in 2017,” Bartlett said.