Approximately 15 vessels have stopped in Ocho Rios since the start of November and as such, Ocho Rios holds a record for the 2019/2020 cruise ship season. As indicated by Joy Roberts, the executive director of Jamaica Vacations (JAMVAC), “Ocho Rios, alone, will be seeing over 756,000 visitors for the cruise-shipping season,” Between November and March or say April, which is the busiest period for cruise shipping, the town should be seeing at least one and sometimes multiple ships per day,” Roberts added.
Though Roberts may mention of the fact that Ocho Rios does not have docks that can accommodate the size of the Royal Caribbean Oasis-type vessels, several numbers of large vessels are expected to call. “The MSC Meraviglia, with a maximum capacity of 6,900, inclusive of passengers and crew, will be making an inaugural visit to Ocho Rios in 2019, the town will also be seeing a number of ships from Carnival Cruise Lines, the second-largest cruise company in the world. These include the Carnival Vista, Carnival Horizon, Carnival Sunrise and the Carnival Sensation,” she indicated.
She acknowledges and credits the growth in cruise ship arrivals to the work that has been done in recent times to improve the aesthetic appeal and the attraction offerings in the resort town. She also mentioned that JAMVAC has been effective in implementing strategies to enhance and improve the cruise experience via entertainment and receiving real time feedback from passengers onboard. Additionally, Roberts said that Jamaica has been receiving a lot of support from its cruise partners and further mentions that “passenger feedback has been great, and the cruise lines have been listening. The onus is now on us, and I have been saying this to the Ocho Rios stakeholders, that we should not only try to build on the gains, but we should ensure our passengers can walk the streets and can go back and spread the good word about their Jamaican experience”
Reported by Britney Hines