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Jamaica Preparing for Cruise Calls by Royal Caribbean and Carnival

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Jamaican authorities said that the country is “eagerly preparing” for the resumption of cruise calls by Royal Caribbean International beginning in November, as well as more than 110 planned cruise ship visits from October through April 2022 by Carnival Cruise Line.

“Both Carnival and Royal Caribbean are critical partners for Jamaica’s tourism sector and the destination’s wider economic recovery,” said Minister of Tourism for Jamaica, Edmund Bartlett. “We are seeing a welcome return of vessels with the recognition that Jamaica’s Resilient Corridors (specially designated areas designed to encourage safe tourism practices) offer a safe environment for our visitors, tourism workers and the general population. The world has taken note of Jamaica’s protocols being implemented safely and effectively, as these plans clearly demonstrate.”

Bartlett said that with the return of stopover visitor arrivals since June 2020, “we have been seeing steady growth towards pre-COVID-19 levels.”

“Now that cruise is also back, we are looking forward to even stronger growth in our numbers. While there are a few matters we still need to resolve with regard to Royal Caribbean’s return, all requirements have been put in place to meet both United States and Jamaica’s COVID-19 protocols in addition to passenger movement being limited to our Resilient Corridors,” he said. “With a boost in cruises to Jamaica, we will, in turn, see a boost to the economic and social livelihoods of thousands of Jamaicans who work directly and indirectly in our cruise sector, providing a positive impact for many.”

According to a press release, Royal Caribbean intends to resume cruises with limited operations as of November, following over a year and a half hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Calls to Jamaica from the line have the potential to bring tens of thousands of passengers to the destination.

Plans from Carnival include more than 110 cruise ship visits by its various brands that could carry more than 200,000 visitors to the island between October 2021 and April 2022.

These operations are subject to continued close collaboration between Jamaican authorities and the cruise lines.

According to the press release, these cruise updates were provided during meetings with Royal Caribbean and Carnival last week in Miami. They were among a series of meetings held with travel industry leaders, including major airlines and investors, across Jamaica’s largest source markets of the United States and Canada.

The purpose of these meetings is to "drive increased arrivals into the destination in the coming weeks and months and to cement further investment in the island’s tourism sector."

Joining Bartlett at these meetings was 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.

Jamaica resumed welcoming cruise ships safely back to its shores in September 2021. Cruises must meet strict measures governing the restart of cruise shipping, requiring passengers over the age of 12 and crew to be fully vaccinated and for all passengers to provide evidence of negative results from a COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of sailing.

In the case of unvaccinated passengers, such as children, a PCR test is mandated. All passengers are also screened and tested (with an antigen test) on embarkation.

Jamaica has also recently announced additional airlift from key source markets, and 90 percent of planned tourist investments remaining on track.

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