MIAMI, FLORIDA, USA - Royal Caribbean International, the second largest cruise line in the world, through their senior leadership team informed Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett in Miami, Florida this week that they will resume limited operations to Jamaica in November of this year. The senior executives added that once a number of logistical matters – some of which are outside Jamaica’s remit - are effectively resolved they will be in a position to significantly boost cruises to Jamaica, bringing in tens of thousands of fully vaccinated cruise visitors. The Senior Executives also reiterated their very strong desire to employ thousands of Jamaicans across a wide range of job functions and are awaiting government’s regulatory amendments to make it a reality.
In response Minister Bartlett expressed delight that, “Royal Caribbean will recommence sailings to Jamaica after the over a year and half hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have a few pressing matters to resolve forthwith so that they can boost cruises to Jamaica and in return boost economic and social livelihoods of thousands of Jamaicans who depend directly and indirectly on the cruise industry. Beyond that the government will move speedily in facilitating the cruise line’s efforts to employ thousands of Jamaicans, for what are truly exciting job opportunities that will have a positive impact for many. Our people are in demand and the cruise lines are fully cognizant of this.”
The new developments come following another meeting led by Minister Bartlett and his team with Chief Executive Officer of Carnival Corporation, the largest Cruise company in the world, Arnold Donald and other senior company executives in Miami where they informed of plans for 110 or more cruises with more than 200,000 fully vaccinated visitors for Jamaica over the next few months. The target is subject to continued close collaboration between Jamaican authorities and Carnival on logistics.
Bartlett was joined by the Chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board, John Lynch; Director of Tourism, Donovan White; Senior Strategist in the Tourism Ministry, Delano Seiveright and Deputy Director of Tourism for the Americas, Donnie Dawson. The Royal Caribbean International engagement is one of a series of meetings with several travel industry leaders, including major Airlines and Investors, across Jamaica’s largest source markets, the United States and Canada. This is being done to drive increased arrivals to the destination in the coming weeks and months, as well as, to cement further investment in the local tourism sector.
The cruise industry was among the worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, shutting the industry down for over a year. However, with the most robust health and safety protocols in the global travel industry, including fully vaccinated passengers and crews, the industry has slowly resumed operations to multiple destinations including Jamaica.