64 Knutsford Boulevard, Kingston 5, Jamaica
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KINGSTON, Jamaica; December 6, 2016: The port of Kingston today (December 06, 2016) welcomed its largest cruise ship ever, the MS Monarch which is operated by Pullmantur, the largest Spanish Cruise line. The visit was also historic because for the first time the island had mega ships in the main ports in Kingston, Falmouth, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios at the same time.
“This inaugural visit of the MS Monarch is momentous to us in Jamaica. We are very happy that Kingston is being considered as part of the programme for the next two years. That is exciting for us because we have always felt that destination Kingston has a particular allurement, charm and value of its own that is deserving of recognition,” said Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett at a welcome reception onboard.
In extending his welcome to the passengers and crew of the MS Monarch, Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang also shared that he hoped that the passengers would return to Kingston on many occasions hereafter.
“We want to ensure that the experience visitors have here today will be one that they like so much that they will want to come back and spend more time in Kingston. We also hope this is the first of many more to come, not only of the Pullmantur but a number of other ships, because Jamaica is the best destination in cruise across the world,” said Minister Chang.
The cruise ship, which has the capacity to carry some 2,700 passengers, docked at Kingston Wharves at about 6:00 am. During the short port call, visitors were given the opportunity to tour historical locations around the island. While, free shuttles were also arranged to accommodate tours of Kingston to noteworthy locations such as: Port Royal, Devon House, the Bob Marley Museum, the National Gallery of Jamaica, Emancipation Park and the Craft Market.
“One of the exciting aspects of the short exertion experiences is the provision of opportunities for expenditure off the ship and the movement of people off the ship as well. I am happy to say that over 400 passengers have gone to Ocho Rios and we expect another 1,000 to be moving around the Kingston area,” shared the Minister.
According to Vice President, Cruise Shipping and Marina Operations at the Port Authority of Jamaica, William Tatham, the move to have to ship dock in Kingston was made because they were unable to accommodate it on Jamaica’s north coast as both the Montego Bay and Falmouth ports were full.
In fact, the island simultaneously welcomed six cruise ships today (December 06, 2016). These included, The Norwegian Epic and Coral Princess in Ocho Rios; Thomson Dream and AIDAmar in Montego Bay; and the world’s largest cruise ship, Harmony of the Seas in Falmouth.
“Jamaica’s cruise industry is doing very well. The rate at which we are growing, also suggests that next year we will be at the 2 million mark. That will take us over the 4 million visitors that we require, to move towards our target of 5 million visitors in the next five years and to earn US $5 billion,” said Minister Bartlett.