Cruise operations are resuming in Jamaica today (Aug. 16) with the Carnival Sunshine scheduled to call at the Port of Ocho Rios. It will be the first cruise ship with international passengers to call at a Jamaican port since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It will also mark a major step in the phased reopening of Jamaica’s tourism sector, which has been adversely impacted by the global pandemic.
Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett said: “I am very pleased to advise that Jamaica will finally see the return of cruise on Monday August 16. We welcome this resumption as we know that thousands of Jamaicans depend on the cruise shipping industry for their livelihood, and it will have a positive impact on our economy in general.”
Minister Bartlett said: “I want to assure the public that this call is being managed in accordance with strict health and safety COVID-19 protocols which are guided by global standards and best practices to ensure the safety and protection of our citizens as well as visitors.”
The Minister continued: “Additionally, the vessel is being managed in alignment with the Conditional Sailing Order for Simulated and Restricted Voyages promulgated by the US Center for Disease Control (CDC). The arrival of the Carnival Sunshine on Monday marks a significant milestone in recovery efforts and the resumption of cruise operations, which was suspended in light of the pandemic.”
He also explained that: “Under the strict measures governing the restart of cruise shipping approximately 95% of the crew and passengers are fully vaccinated and all passengers are required to provide evidence of negative results from a COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of sailing.”
It was also outlined that in the case of unvaccinated passengers, a PCR test is mandated, and all passengers will also be screened and tested (antigen) on disembarkation.
While on board, the crew will also be required to adhere to strict protocols mandated by the official framework for Conditional Sailing Order. This requires that preventative measures be taken, and surveillance and response mechanisms be present on board at all times.
Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, said: “We are delighted to be the first cruise ship to return to Jamaica and to offer guests an opportunity to experience all of the country’s beauty. On behalf of Carnival, I would like to personally thank the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Health and Wellness, and our partners for working with us to bring safe cruising back to Jamaica.”
Minister Bartlett also said that: “The Government of Jamaica has been in discussion with several cruise lines, and relevant stakeholders, regarding an efficient restart of cruise operations whilst observing health and safety protocols. We are therefore very happy that this is finally a reality. I commend the efforts of all the stakeholders including the PAJ, the Ministry of Health and Wellness, and Jamaica Vacations Limited (JAMVAC) for their contribution to ensuring a safe and secure resumption of cruise operations in Jamaica.”