Port Royal to welcome its largest cruise ship to dateMonday, October 25, 2021
The Nieuw Statendam from luxury cruise line Holland America is scheduled to call at Historic Naval Dockyard, Port Royal in November.
It will be the largest cruise ship to date to visit Port Royal as Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) intensifies the restart to cruise shipping activities after a 17-month suspension due to COVID-19.
In a release, the Port Authority said the visit should augur well for cruise shipping activities in Port Royal and its environs if the port becomes a staple on the cruise line's itinerary. The ship's capacity is approximately 3,000 passengers, however, it will call in November at 50 to 60 per cent capacity in accordance with the ship's COVID-19 protocol, the release stated.
Additionally, according to the PAJ, the call will demonstrate to the global cruise market Port Royal's capacity to facilitate larger ships. It will also provide an opportunity for Port Royal and by extension Kingston to showcase its sought-after heritage, culture, entertainment, and other unique offerings that distinguishes its cruise passenger experience from any other. A boost in cruise shipping activities in Port Royal especially when underscored by larger sized ships and an increased passenger count should redound positively on businesses, commercial activity as well on the economic development in Port Royal and Kingston, the PAJ said.
The Port Authority added further that it has secured a number of calls for the upcoming season which signals an uptick in cruise shipping activities across all cruise ports islandwide. The PAJ with the guidance and support from the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoHW), has been systematically devising and implementing mechanisms and solutions to ensure a safe and secure restart of the cruise shipping sector within the coronavirus operational context, the PAJ said.
It said that some of these calls which are scheduled to start in mid-November include inaugural visits as well as calls from ultra-luxury premium cruise lines. The intensity may be partly attributed to the successful restart in activities at the Port of Ocho Rios which served as a pilot for the restart of cruise shipping operations amid COVID-19 restrictions and protocols, said the Port Authority.
Ocho Rios has enjoyed a steady schedule of calls since September by Carnival Sunrise and MSC Meraviglia which should continue throughout the season, the PAJ said, adding that a similar model that is being used in Ocho Rios will be adopted in Port Royal where cruise passengers will only participate in controlled tours approved by the MoHW and interaction with locals will be largely restricted.
These developments come on the heels of the Port Authority being recognised by the World Travel Awards in four categories. They are:
- Caribbean's Leading Cruise Destination 2021;
- Caribbean's Leading Cruise Port 2021: Historic Port of Falmouth;
- Caribbean's Leading Home Port 2021: Port of Montego Bay; and
- Caribbean's Leading Tourism Development Project 2021: Historic Naval Dockyard, Port Royal
According to the PAJ, Jamaica's modernized world-class cruise ports and facilities contribute significantly to attractiveness and favourable global stature which in tandem with the allure of the cruise product continues to enjoy global acclaim, noting that the country also just received the Best Destination Award (Port of Country) by the United Kingdom's Wave Awards.
In accepting the World Travel Awards at a virtual ceremony held recently, Professor Gordon Shirley, President and CEO, PAJ expressed his delight at the recognition and commented that “although the awards emanated from a period of challenges, we are beginning to see cruise restored to normalcy and bookings are on the increase.”
He also used the opportunity to remind cruise enthusiasts globally of the great value to be obtained from an award-winning cruise destination like Jamaica.
He stated further that “we (the PAJ) are even more hopeful that as a result of the investments the organization has made in cruise infrastructure this year, the calls for next year's season will surpass those slated for this year.”
William Tatham, Vice President, Cruise Shipping & Marina Operations, PAJ stated that “I am pleased with the progress of the PAJ's cruise restart activities, and I am confident that we will deliver a safe and rewarding cruise passenger experience in the upcoming season.”
He also noted that many of the regular ships will return this season including vessels from Disney Cruise Lines and indicated that the Disney Fantasy is scheduled to call at the Historic Falmouth Port in December. Arising from a successful meeting with Disney Cruise Line's executives at the recently concluded Seatrade Cruise Global Conference held in Miami, United States, a number of calls from tis line have been secured for the season, he said.