Two cruise ships at the port of Ocho Rios this week | New

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has revealed that two cruise ships will call at the port of Ocho Rios in St Ann this week.

The development, Bartlett said, is further proof of the growing demand for the destination Jamaica and the success of efforts to reopen the tourism sector.

“The award-winning MSC Meraviglia returns to the port of Ocho Rios on Tuesday, September 21 for the first of five calls until November. Although it has a carrying capacity of around 7,000 passengers and crew, it will moor with some 2,833 people on board due to COVID-19 protocols, ”explained Bartlett.

MSC Meraviglia was the last cruise ship to dock in Jamaica in early 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, forcing the island’s international borders to close.

The other ship scheduled to dock in Ocho Rios is the Carnival Sunrise on its return voyage on Wednesday, September 22.

The Carnival Sunrise was the first ship to visit the island as Jamaica reopened to cruise tourism on Monday, August 16, and will make around 11 stopovers through December.

“Cruise shipping is essential to the recovery of the tourism sector, and we are seeing a welcome return of ships with the recognition that Jamaica’s resilient corridors provide a safe environment for our visitors, tourism workers and the population in general, ”Bartlett said.

“With the return of stopover visitor arrivals since June 2020, we are seeing steady growth towards pre-COVID-19 levels and now that the cruise ship industry is back, we look forward to significant growth. of our number, ”he added. .

Bartlett said Jamaica is well prepared for cruise ship stopovers as all requirements have been put in place to meet international and local COVID-19 protocols, and passengers are limited to moving through resilient corridors.

“I must stress that cruise ships must adhere to strict measures governing the restart of cruise navigation, requiring that approximately 95% of passengers and crew be fully vaccinated and that all passengers provide proof of negative results. of a COVID-19 test carried out within 72 hours of navigation. In the case of unvaccinated passengers, such as children, a PCR test is mandatory, and all passengers are also examined and tested (antigen) upon boarding, ”Bartlett said.

Based on the schedules to date, Bartlett said Jamaica expects around 20 cruise ship stopovers before the end of the year.

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