Historic Falmouth port in Jamaica now open for cruise ships

In February Royal Caribbean International’s Voyager of the Seas became the first ship to call at the new 32-acre, two-berth Historic Falmouth Cruise Port. The grand opening celebration took place in late March when the mega-ship Oasis of the Seas docked there.

The Port is a $220 million project developed by RCCL in partnership with the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ). Situated between the popular cruise ports of Ocho Rios and Montego Bay, it features walking tours of the 240-year-old town, and passengers can choose shore excursions covering 60 attractions in the surrounding area including ocean safaris, ATV tours, dogsled rides, a bus ride to the birthplace of Bob Marley, zip lining, dune buggies and river tubing will also be available.

“Historic Falmouth is the first cruise port to become an attraction in its own right, and it is poised to transform the town into a host city for Jamaica’s growing cruise industry,” said Jamaica’s Director of Tourism John Lynch. The port includes restaurants, duty-free and boutique shops, a craft market, offices, and residences within walking distance.

Falmouth was founded in 1769 and is considered one of the Caribbean’s best-preserved towns from the Georgian era. Its historic district is a National Heritage site with many late 18th-century and early 19th-century buildings still standing. Also recognized by the World Monuments Fund, Falmouth has been listed on that organization’s Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites four times in the last decade. By utilizing history, culture and architecture in its design, the port will help preserve Jamaica’s heritage.

Points of interest in Falmouth include:

  • Water Square – the site of one of the first public water systems on the island. Falmouth residents had piped water before New York City.
  • The Cannon at Fort Balcarres – one of the original two that remain of the 1811 fort built to defend the harbor.
  • The Armoury – Fort Balcarres – a 15-square-foot structure with walls four to five feet thick.
  • St. Peter’s Anglican Church – the first church in Trelawny, built in 1796.
  • Tharp House – built in 1785, this was one of three houses owned by John Tharp, the largest land and slave owner in Trelawny during the sugar era.
  • Old Baptist Manse – originally built as a Masonic temple, this later became the residence of the “Great Emancipator” William Knibb.
  • William Knibb Memorial Baptist Church – the second Baptist chapel in Falmouth built 1837 by William Knibb, which essentially acted as the headquarters of the anti-slavery movement on the island.
  • Glistening Waters – just east of Falmouth, this luminous lagoon is one of Jamaica’s most spectacular natural wonders.
  • Court House – built between 1815 and 1817, this served as host to many town gatherings, from balls to poetry readings, and now houses the Parish Council offices.
  • Barrett House – the townhouse of Edward Barrett of Cinnamon Hill, on whose land much of Falmouth was built.
  • Albert George Market – originally built in 1896 and refurbished in 1989, this market was named after Albert, Duke of Clarence, and the future King George V who visited Jamaica in 1882.
  • Phoenix Foundry – an original structure built by a field engineer around 1810. It was used as an interpretation centre and museum in the late 1970s.

More details at www.visitjamaica.com or from the Jamaica Tourist Board at 1-800-526-2422.

Information courtesy of  Jamaica Tourist Board, 1-877-JTB NEWS

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