Big Week at hand for Falmouth

This won’t make headlines anywhere outside of Jamaica, but maybe it should. The cruise port of Falmouth, beset by a myriad of delays, will open this week and Voyageur of the Seas and its 3,000-plus passengers will descend on the beleaguered Jamaican town.

Is Falmouth ready?

It wasn’t last May, when the first cruise-ship arrival had to be canceled. It wasn’t later in the year, when a strike got in the way. It wasn’t on New Year’s Day, the last target date before this one — which is Thursday.

Ships were re-routed to Montego Bay and Costa Maya, Mexico, The financial windfall that comes with each cruise ship never happened, for all those months, and this for a place that has always been ahead of the curve.

It was meticulously planned when founded in the 18th century. The streets are wide. It had piped water before New York City did. It was labeled the “boom town of the 19th century” at a time when it was known for producing sugar, rum and slaves. Its fortunes declined with the freedom of slaves and today, like many Caribbean places, it suffers from poverty.

Yet it produced a Rhodes scholar, a Jamaican prime minister and two famous Olympic gold-medal sprinters, Ben Johnson and Usain Bolt, although Johnson’s medal melted in a pool of disgrace when he was found to have used steroids.

This week, the town on the north coast of the country prepares to welcome the cruise world, and it sounds like the people are serious about it, finally.

And it made headlines in Jamaica.

“We are prepared spiritually, mentally, and physically,” Joy Laesch, president of the newly formed Trelawny Art and Craft and Entertainment Association, told The Gleaner. “Persons from all walks of life are now seeing the benefits of the trade,” “There is going to be big demand for local craft items.”

There are 300 vendors who belong to the association. They have undergone formal training, with lessons in business and entrepreneurship covering how to manage a business, balance the books, marketing, and customer care.  In addition, the vendors are prepared to operate their businesses in an orderly manner and rotate vendors so that the first 100 craft vendors will sell their goods to guests on Voyager of the Seas on Thursday and another 100 or so will do business when Oasis of the Seas arrives in March.

Sounds like the old Falmouth, minus the slaves. For Caribbean cruisers who would never have been there, that’s good.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.

  • Categories

  • Archives