KINGSTON, Jamaica, Friday September 9, 2016 – Two more cruise ships are expected to begin home-porting in Montego Bay, St. James, in the next winter season, bringing to seven the number of vessels in that arrangement.
Vice President of Cruise Shipping and Marina Operations at the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), William Tatham, said that’s expected to bring big benefits for the area.
Traditionally, the cruise ports are idle on weekends, but with the increase in home-port vessels, the facilities will be occupied from Friday to Tuesday, which will take place simultaneously with the port-of-call operations during midweek.
“When a port-of-call vessel comes in, the passengers get off, they go out on a tour and do a little shopping, whereas in home-porting there is ground transportation, as people are flying in (to board the vessels). There are a lot of charters coming in to ‘feed’ the ships, so there are more jobs at the airport,” Tatham noted, adding that people also have to be employed to load the vessels, as ships come in with food and merchandise. “We also have fuel and water being taken on.”
He noted that, oftentimes, passengers spend up to two weeks on a ship and could end up spending half of that time in Montego Bay as tourists.
And he said Montego Bay has been preparing for the increased port-of-call and home-porting activities.
The Mein Schiff 4, a German cruise vessel, will make its maiden voyage into Montego Bay and will become the largest ship that the port will accommodate under its home-porting arrangements. It will take some 2,800 passengers into the city and will make bimonthly calls.