As reported last week in the Why Not? blog by Adam Goldstein, President & CEO of Royal Caribbean Intl , "There was a time, not so long ago, when cruise lines had little or no role to play in the development of ports other than their own private destinations." In the past, cruise lines simply negotiated with foreign ports to accommodate their ships and passengers.
However, for cruise lines to provide new and interesting shore experiences for their guests, that's not always the case these days. Guest blogging for Adam, Craig Milan, RCI's Sr VP, Land Operations, outlined the changes in the way business is done now by describing a huge project Royal Caribbean has spearheaded in the Caribbean, "For the past 3 years, Royal Caribbean has been leading an initiative in collaboration with the Port Authority of Jamaica to create a brand new cruise port of call: 'Historic Falmouth Jamaica.' The port is located on the North coast of Jamaica midway between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. It is currently under construction and is designed to accommodate two large ships simultaneously. It meets the operating requirements of the Oasis of the Seas and will become a marquee destination of the Oasis’ Western itinerary beginning in March 2011. The new port will start to accept cruise ships in January 2011 (Jan 7 with Navigator of the Seas) and Oasis and Allure of the Seas will start to make biweekly calls in March 2011. Originally we had planned to open this port at the same time as Oasis arrived into Port Everglades but as is often the case with really big projects, it has taken somewhat longer than we originally anticipated."
At Cruise Diva we understand Island Time, so the construction and opening delay is no surprise to us, but we read something the other day on Seatrade Insider that did surprise us and we wonder if RCI is aware that, "Holland America Line’s Ryndam is scheduled to make the inaugural cruise call at Jamaica’s new port of Falmouth, Seatrade Insider has learned. The visit is set for Nov. 3, 2010." Holland America is beating RCI to the port it spearheaded? Oops.
In any event, the Why Not? blog assures us that the port will offer a more authentic Jamaican experience. "Guests arriving into Falmouth will be able to choose between the shore excursion options in both Ocho Rios and Montego Bay since the new port is equidistant from both of these Jamaican towns. Additionally there will be an array of options for both tour and non tour guests at Falmouth. Guests arriving into Falmouth will feel like they are in the old world of the Caribbean and find themselves availed of numerous shopping and authentic dining opportunities. Historic Falmouth will blend well into the local town and will seamlessly allow our guests to experience one of the true treasures of Jamaica."