The Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) has officially opened its new Port Royal Cruise Port, bringing cruise ships back to Kingston, Jamaica’s capital city, for the first time in more than four decades.
The port was inaugurated during a call from Marella Cruises’ Marella Discovery 2 on 20 Janaury, which also marked the first time PAJ used its new floating SeaWalk pier. Like a jet bridge at an aiport, the motorised articulated SeaWalk pier is anchored at the port and unfolded and secured alongside the vessel to allow passengers and crew to walk from ship to shore. This means PAJ can welcome vessels without needing to complete the extensive dredging and infrastructure works typically associated with building a cruise berth.
After disembarking Marella Discovery 2 via the SeaWalk, passengers and crew were able to experience authentic Jamaican cuisine, music and culture at the various booths set up in the port’s courtyard. They were also able to take various different tours, including trips to Trench Town Culture Yard, the Bob Marley Museum, New Castle for a Blue Mountain coffee experience, and the newly upgraded Fort Charles (now managed by PAJ), which is the site of the renowned Giddy House.
Port Royal Cruise Port, which was first contemplated over 25 years ago, joins Jamaica’s four other cruise ports – Montego Bay, Falmouth, Ocho Rios and Port Antonio.
“The PAJ built a cruise port in Port Royal to fulfil three main objectives which are to: create economic and social benefits while collaborating with other Government of Jamaica agencies; enhance the unique historical assets of Port Royal for the benefit of Jamaicans and visitors; as well as create a gateway to Kingston, the ‘cultural capital’ of the Caribbean in an environmentally sustainable manner,” said PAJ in a press release.
Port Royal will welcome three more cruise calls in the winter 2019-2020 season, including one each in February, March and April. It is expected that the contruction works on phase one of the new port development will be completed by the time it welcomes the last call of the season.