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The historic town of Port Royal, in Kingston, welcomed its first cruise ship, the Marella Discovery II, on Monday (January 20).

It was also the first time that a ship was stopping at the newly constructed Port Royal Cruise Port, constructed by the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ).
After the ship docked at approximately 8:00 a.m., Ministers of Government, led by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, toured the new facility and welcomed the passengers to the island.

Addressing the media, Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said this is a historic day for the country, which should bring many economic benefits.

“Port Royal is a destination that we have longed to build out and I am very proud of the work done by the Port Authority; the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport; the Ministry of Tourism; the Urban Development Corporation (UDC); Local Government; the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) and the many other partners, to create this new port,” Mr. Bartlett said.

“The historic arrangement in Port Royal will augur well for us, as it will break new ground, in terms of technology assisting in the disembarkation of cruise passengers,” he added.

Mr. Bartlett said the Government will be building out the cultural assets in Port Royal, which will offer economic benefits to the residents there, as this is the first of four rotations for 2020.

“Port Royal has the greatest potential in the Caribbean of being a really world-class destination, and we are committed to building that out, and to complete the arrangement, so that it will become a ‘must’ on any itinerary for cruise shipping in the Caribbean,” he argued.

For his part, Mayor of Kingston, Senator Councillor Delroy Williams, described the inaugural arrival of the ship as “a new day for Kingston”.
“We thank the Government of Jamaica and the Port Authority for their belief in our vision of transforming Kingston into a destination city and making this historic moment a reality,” he said.

This is the third docking by cruise ships in the Kingston Harbour since 2016, with the MS Monarch stopping in December 2016 and December 2017.
The Mayor expressed a vision to have Kingston’s stopovers grow by 10 per cent per annum.

The KSAMC has also undertaken several projects in Port Royal to improve the existing infrastructure and will continue to do so as this new era of development unfolds.

Immediately after the ship docked, passengers from the United Kingdom, Europe and other countries quickly disembarked, not only to enjoy the treasures in the capital city but other tourist attractions in nearby parishes.
Jamaican-born native, who is now living in England, Melonie Oakley, said she is elated that she could return and be directly a part of history being created in Jamaica.

Written by: Ainsworth Morris
Photo: Michael Sloley