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    Ocho Rios Upgrading Cruise Facilities. Who's cruised to Jamaica?


    Construction has started on a $3.7 million project to upgrade the cruise facilities in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. The work will upgrade the cruise ship terminal and the parking area. New kiosks will be installed for use by a rotating group of craft vendors.

    The project also includes a major reconstruction of Turtle River Road between the pier and Main Street, adding a pedestrian-only section and landscaping the entire road. The first phase is expected to be completed by the end of February.

    Dr. Wykeham McNeill, the minister of tourism and entertainment, recently toured the project and addressed concerns raised by business people and tour operators about the timing of the project during the peak winter tourist season. McNeill said he will work to make sure there is a minimum of interruption and that the project will be completed in timely fashion.

    “We are confident that we are on the right track and when it is finished, it will be something everyone will be proud of and it is going to be a huge enhancement for Ocho Rios,” he said. “We are putting up a lot of signage so that visitors coming off the ships do not feel that they are coming on to a construction pier. We will put in place signs that will say we are doing major work to make Ocho Rios even better.”

    The next phase will upgrade the main street and promenade from the cruise ship pier to the Ocean Village car park. The project is being funded by the Tourism Enhancement Fund and the Port Authority of Jamaica. Partners are the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment, the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, and the Urban Development Corporation.

    By Theresa Norton Maesk, Travel Pulse

    For more cruise news & articles go to http://www.cruisecrazies.com/index.html

    Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more

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    Sounds good but I hope they also increase security there. Our last 2 trips there we never left the ship after being constantly followed and bothered by the locals on our previous trips. It's a shame but we wanted to see so much of Ocho Rios but really felt unsafe.

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    I agree about the security, MaryLou. I had read so many unfavorable reports before our one and only time there. We avoided all the harassment and did a tour with a trusted local guide. Even then, though, I never felt entirely at ease.

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    I remember when we went to OR on land vacations many hrs. ago and had a ball. We went there 3 times and never felt harassed or hassled. We had a port stop there in 2009 and got a hard sell when we got off. It's sad to see had things have deteriorated.

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    In July I toured all of Negril, Whitehouse, Ocho Rios, and Montego Bay over a week's time, doing an agent familiarization trip of every Sandals, Beaches, and Grand Pineapple resort on the island. I never felt threatened. My wife and I stayed at Sandals Grande Ocho Rios in February. We have done excursions there, too. One year several years ago I took sick and had to visit the hospital in St Mary's Parish (Ocho Rios) at night. I never had a problem. We haven't stopped on a cruise ship there in a while, but when we did, we just "no" and kept moving.

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    The security was my fear, also. When we were there in the 1980s we were harassed by people trying to sell drugs to our young people. After we had been there others had been robbed when on tours. John, that's good that things seem to be safer there now.

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    We’ve been to Ocho Rios four times so far and never felt unsafe. Sure, there were guys offering items for sale that may have been less than legal, but we’ve seen the same thing on many islands (just like New York City, Chicago, Las Vegas and Honolulu). We’ve always found that a polite but firm “no thanks” sends them on to the next prospect in no time. That being said, improvements to a port are always good news!

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