New Jamaica cruise port to open, finally, sort of

The first cruise ship will call at the new port of Falmouth, Jamaica next week, months behind schedule and not fully operational.

The port construction is a joint effort between between mega-ship maker Royal Caribbean International and the government of Jamaica. Originally scheduled to open last May, ongoing construction delays pushed opening the port back, rerouting giant sisters Oasis and Allure of the Seas to Costa Maya, Mexico instead. In fact, neither Oasis or Allure of the Seas will be stopping by until a currently slated March grand opening of the port as construction.

That’s not surprising as the port’s history and existing infrastructure date back to the late 18Th and early 19Th century when it was a central hub of the slave trade.

First to call at Falmouth will be Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas, a smaller ship with fewer guests on board starting January 7, 2011.

Once complete, the port’s master plan calls for 120,000 square feet of retail shopping and two berths capable of servicing the line’s Oasis-class ships. Located on the islands North side between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, most tours and excursions currently offered at either port will be available from Falmouth.

When asked if popular tours from Ocho Rios would be possible from Falmouth tour operator Lincoln Stewart told me in November “Oh yeah mon, no problem but don’t hold your breath, no don’t hold your breath.”

We won’t.