Royal Caribbean International’s Voyager of the Seas was the first to call at Jamaica’s Historic Falmouth Cruise Port on Feb. 17. // © 2011 Jamaica Tourist Board
While Falmouth, located between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, has had an enviable position on Jamaica’s north coast for decades, the 240-year-old town had little tourism appeal — until now. Jamaica recently introduced the 32-acre, two-berth Historic Falmouth Cruise Port in the town of Falmouth. The new port is a $220 million project developed by Royal Caribbean Limited in partnership with the Port Authority of Jamaica for the berthing of Royal Caribbean International’s (RCI) Genesis-class ship, the newest and largest class of cruise ships.
Last month, RCI’s Voyager of the Seas became the first ship to call at Falmouth port. However, the grand opening celebrations of the port will take place on March 22 when Oasis of the Seas makes her maiden call into the port. Other Royal Caribbean ships that will be calling there include Freedom of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.
The revitalization of Historic Falmouth is a multi-phased development project with the first phase near completion, offering a two-berth pier, retail and restaurant services and a transportation center. Subsequent phases will include on-site attractions and experiences, hotel and residential developments, as well as additional retail and restaurant options. The town also has many prominent houses, shops and public buildings built in the 18th and 19th centuries that are still standing but are in need of refurbishment. The restoration and preservation of several historic buildings in Falmouth is currently under way.
Most of these projects are in various stages of development, and the port’s earliest visitors will have to content themselves with the local color. Falmouth is compact enough to explore by foot, and the residents are welcoming and seem excited by the opportunities presented by the port.
At least initially, the real strength is the port’s ideal location to experience more than 60 land excursions along the north coast of Jamaica. For example, Good Hope Great House, an 18th-century Jamaican plantation with a stunning hillside location overlooking Jamaica unspoiled Cockpit Country, is only a 15-minute-drive from Falmouth. Chukka Caribbean Adventures has created a base of operations at Good Hope Great House, where guests can zipline, go river-tubing, ride on ATVs or opt for a soft-adventure horse and carriage ride.