Photo: Courtesy of mblach
With international cruises permitted to set sail again in Europe, Asia, and now the Caribbean (orlandosentinel.com), and with the United States ports still closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, ports in the Caribbean are seizing the opportunity to offer their location as a cruise home port.
With more than 36 percent of all cruise movements made in the Caribbean, and with most cruise passengers coming from the United States and Canada, Jamaica is the perfect location to operate as a home port.
It has already been announced that the Bahamas will be the cruise home port for Crystal Cruises and Royal Caribbean. Saint Maarten has been slated as the cruise home port for Celebrity Cruises.
Royal Caribbean's cruise ship Vision of the Seas will begin cruises out of Bermuda, and the British Virgin Islands announced that it would be opening a cruise port of call.
Cruise ship homeporting is part of a larger plan for Jamaica's tourism recovery once it reopens its borders to international tourism on June 15 (jamaicaobserver.com). Like the other islands, Jamaica has traditionally depended on the cruise industry to be a part of tourism income. The arrival of cruise ships would boost tourism numbers to the island considerably (cruisehive.com).
According to White, discussions are going on between the cruise lines and the Jamaican Government with plans and policies already made to have cruise ship homeporting if a deal is reached with the cruise lines (jamaicaobserver.com).
During a recent virtual travel trade briefing, Jamaica's tourism director, Donovan White, explained that cruise passengers would be taken directly from the airport to the cruise port to board the ship (jamaicaobserver.com).
According to the Jamaica Observer, cruises are in huge demand. “People are ready to head back out and enjoy a vacation at sea” (jamaicaobserver.com). Crystal Cruises announced record single-day bookings for when Crystal Serenity sails in The Bahamas in July, and almost four thousand travelers reserved staterooms or suites on at least one of the seven-night voyages out of Nassau or Bimini in The Bahamas (jamaicaobserver.com).