Harmony of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, is slated to make its inaugural call to Jamaica in November.
The vessel, owned by Royal Caribbean, is scheduled to dock at the Falmouth Pier in Trelawny.
Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, said the visit will provide a major boost for Jamaica’s growing cruise-ship sector, which is still celebrating a 13.6 per cent growth for the 2015/16 winter season.
He made the disclosure to the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) at the recent annual general meeting of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA).
“In addition to Royal Caribbean’s other vessels – Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas – Jamaica will now have the three largest ships in the world calling on our ports,” Bartlett pointed out.
He said Harmony of the Seas is on its inaugural voyage in Barcelona, Spain, and will remain in Europe for the summer before going to Fort Lauderdale in the fall for its Caribbean cruise, when it will make its Jamaica stop.
Bartlett told JIS News that Royal Caribbean has had a long relationship with the local cruise industry, with the Falmouth Pier accommodating most of the cruise line’s flagship vessels.
“As a matter of fact, it’s not just Royal Caribbean. It is no secret that all the cruise lines that ply the western Caribbean route continue to see Jamaica as a marquee destination, boasting some of the Caribbean’s finest attractions,” he said.
“When itineraries are being put together, the quality attractions we have here in Jamaica have to be taken into consideration. Where else in the Caribbean or in this hemisphere will you find a natural gem like Dunn’s River?”
The Tourism Minister said the cruise sector is poised for further growth.
“I am actually going to Miami next week to meet with the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association to discuss additional ships for Jamaica. We see Kingston coming into the picture now as a cruise destination…these are really exciting times,” he disclosed.
At 226,963 tonnes, Harmony of the Seas has been described as a “floating mega resort”. It boasts three main pool areas, a water slide complex, adults-only solarium, an ice skating rink, two rock climbing walls, a basketball court and a mall-like indoor promenade with shops, bars and eateries.
Harmony holds nearly 100 more passengers than its sisters at double occupancy.
Its total capacity is 6,780 people, not including crew, which is a record for the cruise industry. (Caribbean360.com)