This was the first time that a cruise ship was being welcomed to Port Royal, and after docking at about 8:00 a.m., prime minister Andrew Holness, as well as Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett and other ministers of government toured the new facility and welcomed the passengers to the island.
Addressing the media, Minister Bartlett, said it was a historic day for the country, which should bring many economical benefits. “Port Royal is a destination that we have longed to build out and I am very proud of the work done by the Port Authority; the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport; the Ministry of Tourism; the Urban Development Corporation (UDC); Local Government; the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) and the many other partners, to create this new port,” Mr. Bartlett said.
“The historic arrangement in Port Royal will augur well for us, as it will break new ground, in terms of technology assisting in the disembarkation of cruise passengers,” he added.
Mr. Bartlett said the Government would be building out the cultural assets in Port Royal, which will offer economical benefits to the residents there, as this is the first of four rotations for 2020.
“Port Royal has the greatest potential in the Caribbean of being a really world-class destination, and we are committed to building that out, and to complete the arrangement, so that it will become a ‘must’ on any itinerary for cruise shipping in the Caribbean,” he argued.
This is the third docking by cruise ships in the Kingston Harbour since 2016, with the MS Monarch stopping in December 2016 and December 2017.
Mayor of Kingston, Senator Councillor Delroy Williams welcomed the vessell, and expressed a vision to have Kingston’s stopovers grow by 10 per cent per annum, and pointed out that the City has undertaken several projects in Port Royal to improve the existing infrastructure and will continue to do so as this new era of development unfolds.
Immediately after the ship docked, passengers from the United Kingdom, Europe and other countries quickly disembarked, not only to enjoy the treasures in the capital city but other tourist attractions in nearby parishes.
Jamaican-born native, who is now living in England, Melonie Oakley, said she is elated that she could return and be directly a part of history being created in Jamaica.
Another passenger, Elizabeth Shepherd, who is from Scotland, said she had an amazing time in Kingston.
“It’s my first time in Jamaica. It (the day) was lovely. The people were lovely. Everyone was so friendly. I can’t wait to go to Montego Bay and get more experiences. We are thoroughly enjoying what we’ve seen so far,” she said.
David Bush from London said he loved chilling at Fort Clarence Beach for the day : “We have done four other drop-offs on the Caribbean cruise and to say this is the best stop is to put it mildly. To step off the ship and see the welcome that we’ve had, makes you not want to go back on the ship,” he said.
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