News is emerging of a number of cruise vessels dropping the historic Falmouth port from their itinerary due to harassment.
Information is that ships in the Celebrity fleet as well as the Royal Caribbean armada will be halting their visits to Falmouth until 2020 following less-than-ideal ratings and complaints from passengers about harassment and the behaviour of tour operators who line the gateway to the port.
For Mayor Collin Gager, the news could not have come at a worse time in light of next month’s proposed dredging of the port to accommodate later vessels.
The mayor says harassment is a major challenge even though they try their best to stamp it out. “It is quite evident as when guests come to the gate and want to come out, they are greeted by shouts from persons trying to entice them to go somewhere.”
He is, however, optimistic that initiatives set to come on stream will help the situation.
He explained that a meeting has been held between the local authority, the police and the transport authority to seek to rectify the matter and to decide how to proceed. One of the main tenets of the plan is that the drivers will be set up at an area along Market Street with an established desk to deal with assignments. There will also be no parking allowed on Seaboard Street, the road in front of the port, on ship days.
With the port in Falmouth, a pivotal cog in the growth agenda for tourism in Jamaica, there is now growing unease about the situation. The port, which opened in 2011, has welcomed nearly a million visitors each year since.