In response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, several cruise lines are exploring the possibility of offering weeklong Jamaica-only cruises. Although Covid restrictions have eased in Jamaica and many other countries, the pandemic is still ongoing, and a new variant is always a threat to the industry. The proposed cruises would take passengers to all of the major ports in Jamaica over a period of 5-7 days, allowing them to experience the country’s unique culture and natural attractions at a lower cost.
The Ministry of Tourism has been a strong advocate for this type of itinerary, which could help struggling cruise lines remain financially viable during difficult times. Whether or not these cruises become a reality remains to be seen. However, they present an exciting opportunity for both travelers and the tourism industry in Jamaica. Marella Cruises has announced that they are considering adding a Jamaica-only cruise to their offerings. Explorer 2, Marella Cruises’ newest ship, is currently homeported in Montego Bay. This has prompted serious interest from the company in adding a Jamaica-only itinerary to its offerings.
“It makes a lot of sense where we could do a Jamaica-only itinerary, where we could come into Montego Bay then move on to Falmouth, Ocho Rios, Port Royal, and Port Antonio [not necessarily in that order],” said Kostas Lampropoulous, Marella Explorer 2’s Captain. “When we are talking about fuel, water… it’s a lot more [cost effective] to do so and is something that we are looking at. We have a great relationship with Jamaica…. We enjoy coming to Jamaica, and we see Jamaica as an important partner.”
The prospect of a Jamaica-only cruise is an exciting prospect for travelers, digital nomads, and locals alike. There is so much to see and do in Jamaica, so a cruise that stops in every major port would be the perfect way to explore more of the country. The island’s large number of ports of call make it an ideal candidate for hosting a cruise itinerary all to itself.
Joy Roberts, Executive Director of Jamaica Vacations, has stated that the Tourism Ministry has been pushing all major cruise lines to consider the creation of an exclusively Jamaican cruise itinerary. Marella Cruises’ announcement that they were looking into the possibility has proven that the Ministry has had an effect on bringing the itinerary to the island. She pointed out that being able to homeport in Montego Bay would be an advantage to Marella.
Montego Bay is a tourist haven with proximity to the Sangster International Airport and was just recently named one of the top destinations for U.S. travelers for this upcoming summer. With a homeport in Montego Bay, visitors would need only a ride from the airport to the cruise port and they would be well on their way to an exciting trip around the island. With stops in all major ports, there are endless possibilities for making incredible memories.
Cruise guests could see the crocodiles at the Jamaica Swamp Safari Village in Falmouth, climb the limestone tiers to the top of Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios, tour Fort Charles in Port Royal, spend a lazy afternoon sipping cocktails at Frenchman’s Cove beach in Port Antonio, and cap their trip off with a few nights in Montego Bay at the conclusion of the cruise. These are only a small range of activities guests could participate in while at port, but there is more waiting back on the ship!
Aboard Explorer 2, Marella’s newest ship, guests can relax at Champney’s Spa, tee off at the golf-themed bar and simulator, or try their luck at the onboard casino. There are nine restaurants and bars, and any time guests need a reminder of how beautiful their surroundings are, they can visit the outdoor veranda for a relaxing view of the sea horizon.
According to Ms. Roberts, the prospect of a Jamaica-only cruise “has been a dream of ours and our Hon. Minister, Edmund Bartlett.” And while the dream may have begun with them, it is sure to spread to future visitors looking for a new way to experience the wonderful island nation that is Jamaica.
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