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KINGSTON, Jamaica; September 21, 2021: Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett has revealed that two cruise ships will call on the Ocho Rios Port this week. This development the Minister underscores, is further evidence of the growing demand for destination Jamaica and the success of efforts to reopen the tourism sector.
“The award winning MSC Meraviglia returns to the Port of Ocho Rios on Tuesday September 21 for the first of five calls up to November. Although it has a carrying capacity of approximately 7,000 passengers and crew, it will be docking with some 2,833 persons onboard due to COVID-19 protocols,” Minister Bartlett explained.
The MSC Meraviglia was the last cruise ship to dock in Jamaica in early 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, forcing the closure of the island’s international borders.
The other vessel setting sail for Jamaica, to also dock in Ocho Rios, is the Carnival Sunrise on its return trip on Wednesday September 22. The Carnival Sunrise was the first vessel to visit the island as Jamaica reopened to cruise tourism on Monday, August 16 and will be making some 11 calls up to December.
“Cruise shipping is critical to the recovery of the tourism sector, and we are seeing a welcome return of vessels with the recognition that Jamaica’s Resilient Corridors offer a safe environment for our visitors, tourism workers and the general population,” expressed Minister Bartlett.
“With the return of stopover visitor arrivals since June 2020, we have been seeing steady growth towards pre-COVID-19 levels and now that the cruise shipping industry is back onstream, we are looking forward to significant growth in our numbers,” he adds.
Mr. Bartlett says Jamaica is well prepared for cruise ship calls as all the requirements have been put in place to meet both international and local Ministry of Health and Wellness COVID-19 protocols, and passengers are limited to moving within the Resilient Corridors.
“I must underscore that the cruise ships have to meet strict measures governing the restart of cruise shipping, requiring approximately 95% of passengers and crew to be fully vaccinated and for all passengers to provide evidence of negative results from a COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of sailing. In the case of unvaccinated passengers, such as children, a PCR test is mandated, and all passengers are also screened and tested (antigen) on embarkation,” Minister Bartlett stressed.
Based on schedules to date, Minister Bartlett says Jamaica is expecting some 20 cruise ship calls before year-end.