KINGSTON, Jamaica, Friday May 5, 2017 – Royal Caribbean hasn’t officially listed Jamaica on the itinerary of what will be the world’s largest ship next year, but the island’s Tourism Minister is expecting it to be among the stops.
Symphony of the Seas, which is expected to make its first voyage in April 2018, will spend the inaugural summer season sailing to destinations in the Mediterranean – visiting places such as Barcelona, Spain; Provence, France; and Florence, Rome and Naples, Italy – before heading to Miami, Florida in early November to begin seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.
The Caribbean destinations listed on the itineraries on the cruise company’s website for sailings up to April 2019 are The Bahamas; St. Maarten; St Thomas, USVI; Puerto Rico; Haiti; and St. Kitts.
But Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett says Royal Caribbean has committed to making the island one of Symphony of the Seas’ stops.
And he says the fact that Jamaica will be included says a lot about the island’s tourism appeal.
“This is why we continue to say that the possibilities for Jamaica are endless. We have to remember that these cruise lines are free to go anywhere they want to go. The fact that they continue to find favour in us is not something we take lightly. It also says that they continue to see us a marquee destination,” he said.
Currently being built in France, the 1,188-foot Symphony of the Seas will join Oasis-class sister ships Harmony of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.
It has 18 decks — about the height of the Leaning Tower of Pisa — with 2,775 total staterooms.
Bartlett’s report that the ship will call on Jamaica comes as he projects further growth for the island’s cruise sector.
Cruise ship visitors accounted for half of the 1,579,273 tourists who arrived in the island over the 2016/17 winter tourist season. Jamaica earned a record US$1 billion from total visitor arrivals over that period.
Although noting that the figures were “spectacular numbers by any stretch of the imagination”, Bartlett said he was not surprised, given developments in the cruise sector over the past four months.
Jamaica has simultaneously hosted the six largest cruise ships in the world, including Harmony of the Seas.