The arrival of 6,000 cruise passengers this week is expected to help the Ocho Rios Port in St Ann, Jamaica.
The MSC Meraviglia and the Carnival Sunrise were due to dock at the port on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. Approximately 3,000 passengers and crew members were expected to arrive on each flight.
Delano Seiveright, Senior Strategist/Adviser in the Ministry of Tourism, stated that “It’s a major step in the right direction.”
All adult travelers, he said, have been vaccinated.
“With the exception of a few children, almost every passenger on the ship has been vaccinated.” “It’s also worth noting that every person who boards the ship must have a negative COVID test,” Seiveright explained. “Aside from that, we’ll keep our bubble tours sorted as far as the Resilient Corridor is concerned.”
Negotiations to make it easier for cruise passengers to go to the craft markets in Ocho Rios are still ongoing, he said.
The Carnival Sunrise’s arrival in Ocho Rios last week sparked outrage among craft exhibitors, who alleged that the passengers were only escorted to high-end activities and not to the artisan markets.
“I am working with the craft vendors to facilitate buses and transport to their respective locations. The problem that we have had is, of course, some craft vendors are benefitting and some are not benefitting and we are trying to find ways to ensure that there is balance throughout, ” Seiveright said.
“It is literally impossible at this point in time, given the number of cruise ships that are coming, to facilitate each and every craft vendor but we are doing our best to facilitate as many as we can.”
“We have to ensure that we continue to follow the respective global standards as it concerns COVID-19 preventative efforts,” he said, adding that the Ministry of Health and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines are all quite strict.
“Nonetheless, we are quite excited about the fact that we have two cruise ships coming into Ocho Rios this week, and that the benefits of cruise tourism will continue to spread not just in the Ocho Rios community but in the wider Jamaica. This is important for our country’s economic development and also ensuring that we can continue to finance public health infrastructure,” the tourism official said.