Monday, April 18, 2011

A Look at the Falmouth, Jamaica Cruise Port

Sadly, Cruise Diva’s mini-vacation in Jamaica has come to an end and I’m back to work. In reality, my editor gave me an assignment before I left home and the last day of my Jamaica sojourn was spent on the job. My assigned write up about the new cruise port in Falmouth, Jamaica will appear in the 2012 edition of Fodor’s Caribbean Ports of Call guidebook. Pictured here is Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, the tallest “skyscraper” in Falmouth on April 13th.

After the grand opening hype last month, and subsequent stories about cruisers being hassled by aggressive vendors when they left the port area, what did I find? Although construction is still ongoing within the port itself, the area open to passengers is cheerful and clean. Buildings to house dozens of shops, a 40-vendor craft market, restaurants, and transportation centers are scheduled to be ready for occupancy this summer, but you don't have to look far to already find the warmth and hospitality of the Jamaican people.

Musicians, stilt walkers, and clowns were on hand to greet guests coming ashore from Allure of the Seas (and probably distract them from the construction). Authorized local vendors currently set up their wares in the shaded verandahs along the pedestrian thoroughfare in front of what will be permanent homes to such shops as Diamonds International and Dufry duty free, as well as other internationally known businesses and established Jamaican merchants. Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville is planned, although details were scarce.

For passengers with their own laptop computers and other devices, the entire port complex will be a WiFi “hot spot” with a fee for use (to be determined). For those of us who never leave our work at home, that’s great news.

Also located within the Falmouth Cruise Port is Falmouth’s most historic building, the town home of sugar planter John Tharp, which is being restored to house a maritime museum.

Lining either side of the walkway to exit the port are illustrated signboards with historic and cultural information about the town of Falmouth, as well as the country of Jamaica. They are worth a read and I wish I had the time to check them all out. What I was able to check out is the Historic Falmouth Heritage Walk, a tour that I joined with passengers from Allure of the Seas. What I did not encounter were aggressive vendors and taxi drivers after leaving the port area. Stay tuned for highlights of the walking tour and more—I also visited the nearby Good Hope Great House and toured the grounds.

Cruise Diva wishes to extend her appreciation to Jerron Britton and Sharon Williams of the Jamaica Tourist Board, William Tatham of the Port Authority of Jamaica, Carl Hendricks of the Port of Falmouth, and Marina Delfos of Falmouth Heritage Walks for their hospitality and assistance during her day in Falmouth.

Photos © Linda Coffman,


Cruise said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time - I love you blog!

Linda Coffman, AKA Cruise Diva said...

Thank you! I really enjoyed my time in Jamaica and found Falmouth to be an interesting little town with a lot of history.

Best, Linda

Becca Love said...

Thanks for the information on the Falmouth, Jamaica Cruise Port. The Oasis OTS was scheduled to stop there a few months ago, but the port was not open. We are cruising on the Freedom OTS, so we will be stopping there in two weeks. I enjoy reading your blog. Thanks again.

Linda Coffman, AKA Cruise Diva said...

Hi Becca,

Just keep in mind that the port is still a work in progress. They assured me everything should be complete in June. Falmouth town is very quaint and charming. Really old and historic. I'll detail the walking tour next. I found it fascinating, but I like old things ;)

Best, Linda

Anonymous said...

Sounds lovely. Any indication of when the permanent shops will open. Mainly diamonds internationl?

Linda Coffman, AKA Cruise Diva said...

I was told the facilites will be ready for occupancy starting in June. I don't have a timeline for when specific merchants will be opening.

Best, Linda

Anonymous said...

We will be traveling to Famouth in June. I was wondering if there is transportation to Dunn's River at the port.

Linda Coffman, AKA Cruise Diva said...

You can book an excursion to Dunns River Falls through your cruise ship. I don't know if independent tour operators at the port will offer it, but I'd book through the cruise line because it's an hour drive each way and you don't want to miss your ship's scheduled departure if the tour runs late.


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Falmouth Classified Ads said...

Thanks for your review of my town's lovely port. I wish you could re-visit and give us a more updated review.

Falmouth is rich in history with a warm and friendly people that are even more precious than the history itself.

Linda Coffman, AKA Cruise Diva said...

Thank you for your citizens' warm hospitality! Although I wrote my blog articles in April, I was back in July last year and had a wonderful lunch at Club Nazz.

I always look forward to visiting Jamaica and hope to be there again soon.

Liz said...

At the Port, BEWARE of the Golden Nugget jewelry store as they significantly misrepresent their items. Unfortunately I'm a victim of this and it all only came to light after we completed our appraisal. DO NOT shop here, it also puts the other merchants into question, but I cannot speak about them.