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, CruiseDiva.com