The Disney Wonder cruise ship, part of the Disney Cruise Line, called at the Port of Falmouth on Tuesday, October 8, on the first of five calls to the port for the year.
The 2,700-passenger vessel, which docked at the Falmouth pier early in the morning, attracted the interest of hundreds of curious onlookers, craft vendors, tour operators, and members of the Falmouth business community.
Several local officials, including the Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill and Mayor of Falmouth, Garth Wilkinson, were invited onboard to participate in a maritime tradition of a plaque exchange, which serves the dual purpose of welcoming the ship, and for the captain and crew to celebrate the vessel’s first call in Jamaica.
In an interview with JIS News, Minister McNeill said that the Disney brand is an incredibly strong one and the visit of the vessel is a plus for Jamaica and Falmouth.
“People know that the company (Disney) is one that tries to have the highest standards and is very discerning about who they do business with and where they do business. So, Disney coming to Jamaica is a tremendous endorsement of Jamaica,” he stated.
The Tourism Minister said that the visit is an opportunity for both brands to learn something from each other, adding that he hopes that the relationship will be a lasting one. “I think that them having come to Jamaica to work with us, and showing confidence in us, and the excitement they have to be here is a great thing,” he stated.
Dr. McNeill, in underscoring the economic benefits of cruise shipping, said that both the government and the private sector have to jointly ensure that systems are in place for the country to fully benefit from the cruise shipping.
Cruise ship passengers disembarked the Disney Wonder cruise ship to visit the various shops in the vicinity of the Falmouth pier. The ship made its inaugural visit to Falmouth on Tuesday, October 8.
“We have to move with the market trends and ensure that what is available to the visitors is what they want,” he stated.
Mayor of Falmouth, Garth Wilkinson, told JIS News that the visit of the Disney Wonder Cruise Ship “is a dream come true for the people of Trelawny”.
While accepting that there are still a number of issues that need to be ironed out within the town, he said he is thankful that another cruise ship has decided to call at the Falmouth pier and especially one as notable as Disney Wonder.
He said that the fact that the cruise is promoted as a family affair, with a number of children on-board, “speaks volumes for how we are viewed internationally as a safe place, which is what we need in Jamaica, that people know that Jamaica is safe to come and really enjoy themselves and do business.”
Meanwhile, former President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr. Lee Bailey, also underscored the importance of the Disney Brand visiting Jamaica and more so the Port of Falmouth.
“Disney is a very successful company, and a well known company throughout the world. Their standards are extremely high, and so when a vessel like Disney calls at any port, it adds to the credibility of that port, and the credibility of the people and the service that it offers,” he stated.
The vessel is expected to return to Falmouth later this month, twice in November and once in December.
By Bryan Miller, Jamaica Information Service
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