In a gala-like atmosphere, many dignitaries led by Prime Minister Bruce Golding,gathered to witness the arrival of the world’s largest cruise liner and to open the Falmouth Cruise Pier on March 22, 2011.

The day was historic for not only the opening of the Pier but also the visit of the world’s largest cruise liners, the ‘Oasis of the Seas’.  The cruise liner docked into the port bringing its ‘cargo’ of some 6,000 visitors and 2,000 crew members.

Speaking at the ceremony, Prime Minister Golding thanked the various workers who worked on the site, noting that its completion was the result of collaborative efforts among various Ministries, Agencies and Departments. The Prime Minister also paid special tribute to Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCL), under whose aegis, the ‘Oasis of the Seas’ falls. PM Golding disclosed that RCL has been instrumental in their input in the project having offered and built the facility at a cost almost 20% lower than the next bidder.

Continuing, Mr. Golding said, “The opening of the Falmouth Pier and the arrival of the ‘Ocean of the Seas’ marks a significant level of investment in the town of Falmouth and by extension, Jamaica.” He noted that extensive work had taken place in water Square and more work would be done in terms of the sewerage capacity of the town.  He also highlighted the fact that the police station that was being built in the town was now going to be completed by the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).

And for his part, Transport and Works Minister under whose portfolio cruise shipping falls, said that it was ‘with a sense of great pride and accomplishment that I join with you all in welcoming the passengers and crew members of the Oasis of the Seas here today.” “I am proud to have captained the ship that charted what were sometimes choppy waters to produce the outstanding and historic achievements that we are recognising today,” the Minister commented. Minister Henry also took the opportunity to praise the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) who through its ‘Cruise Jamaica’ brand had sought to ensure that the cruise product remained viable, by exploring aggressive marketing strategies and developing partnerships with major cruise liners which have vested interest in the cruise market.

Since the visit of the Royal Caribbean’s ‘Voyager of the Seas’ on February 17, the Falmouth Cruise Port continues to attract mega vessels, with over 30,000 cruise passengers and crew having disembarked to discover the attractive offerings in historic Falmouth, as well as adjoining areas such as Ocho Rios and Montego Bay.

The Falmouth Pier is being built at a cost of US$270M.