The Port Authority of Jamaica and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. officially opened Historic Falmouth Port today with the maiden call of Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis of the Seas, one of the world’s two largest and most innovative cruise ships. Situated between the popular cruise ports of Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, Historic Falmouth is the first-ever thematic cruise port that provides a convenient gateway for guests to embark on more than 60 exhilarating land experiences along the north coast of Jamaica. Additionally, ongoing revitalizations throughout the town of Falmouth will offer guests an extensive array of cultural and historic experiences for an adventurous Jamaican port call on their cruise vacation. At a grand ribbon cutting ceremony, Hon. Bruce Golding, Prime Minister of Jamaica, Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and Hon. Michael Henry, Jamaica’s Minister of Transport and Works, welcomed cruise guests to Jamaica and Historic Falmouth Port.

“It is especially rewarding for the Port Authority of Jamaica to help bring our country’s cultural history to a new generation of cruise guests,” said Minister Henry, who has portfolio responsibility for cruise shipping. “Our sights have always been to create the best-in-class berthing facilities at the Historic Falmouth Port and establishing the preeminent cruise destination in the region. The arrival of the world’s largest ship, Oasis of the Seas, at Historic Falmouth Port is a milestone for our ongoing success in fostering Jamaica’s tourism industry.

The revitalization of Historic Falmouth is amulti-phased development project, with the first phase offering a two-berth pier, retail and restaurant services, and a transportation center. Subsequent phases will include onsite attractions and experiences, hotel and residential developments, as well as additional retail and restaurant options.

“It is my honor to re-inaugurate Historic Falmouth Port alongside Prime Minister Golding and the people of Falmouth,” said Fain. “Royal Caribbean is delighted to have partnered with the Port Authority of Jamaica to create the Caribbean’s premier cruise port. Together, we are working to deliver our shared vision of the region’s first themed port of call to offer our guests all the best experiences along Jamaica’s north coast.”

The town of Falmouth also has many original prominent houses, shops and public buildings built in the 18th and 19th centuries that are still standing and are true historic gems. The restoration and preservation of several buildings in Falmouth is currently underway.

Falmouth was founded in 1790 from land owned by Edward Barrett. His granddaughter Elizabeth Barrett Browning would later be celebrated as one of the greatest poets in the English language. At that time Jamaica was the world’s leading sugar producer, and this was most evident in Falmouth with more than 80 sugar estates nearby. The town was meticulously mapped out in the Colonial tradition, with streets named after British royalty and heroes—King Street, Queen Street, Rodney Street (after 18th century naval leader Admiral Lord George Rodney) and Wellington Street (after Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington).

The remarkable density of historic Georgian architectural buildings, which residents have lived in and maintained, is reflective of the town’s rich heritage. Its public amenities included the first piped water supply system in the Western Hemisphere, established in 1799. The town prospered throughout the first half of the 19th century and was the birthplace of the abolition slavery movement. Falmouth was the site of many revolts, and many of the buildings in the town served as safe houses for those who had escaped. In fact, a prominent Falmouth reverend, William Knibb, whose house still stands in the town, was granted Jamaica’s highest civil honor, the Order of Merit, in 1988, 150 years after the abolition of slavery.