Falmouth is a major port town in Jamaica. It is located on the island's northern coast - approx 18 ml (29 km) east of Montego Bay, and approx 60 ml (97 km) west of Ocho Rios. The close proximity to these large cities explains the many tours offered to the town of Falmouth.
The port's location and ability to accommodate post-Panamax (largest) cruise vessels makes it often a turnaround (departure port) and regular year-round (port of call) destination on Caribbean itineraries leaving roundtrip from Florida USA.
Currently, the port handles around 1 million cruise tourists per year. Projections (based on planned annual growth) are their number to reach 1,5 million by the year 2021, with USD 180 million economic impact from passenger/crew spending in Falmouth. Jamaica's growth program was based on an increased number of port calls - from 1-2 per week to 4 days weekly. Following the new cruise ship pier's opening, the average spending per passenger was increased from USD 90 up to 120. Jamaica's ministry of tourism committed around USD 1,4 billion for major development projects to transform the town by 2018.
The town was founded in 1769 and named after Sir William Trelawny's birthplace (Falmouth, Cornwall England). The port town flourished as a market center when Jamaica became the world's leading sugar producer. It is also noted for being one of the best-preserved historic towns in the Caribbean.
During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Falmouth was one of Jamaica's busiest ports. It was a wealthy town with a rich racial mix but its economy was based on slavery. Within the parish, nearly 100 plantations were actively manufacturing rum and sugar for export to Britain. Jamaica had become the leading sugar producer in the world. Starting in 1840, the fortunes of Falmouth as a commercial center declined after the emancipation of slaves in the British Empire.
Places of interest include Albert George Shopping and Historical Centre (dating back from 1895), St Peter's Anglican Church (built in 1795), the former residence of slave owner John Tharp, Martha Brae Rafters' Village (where tourists can take a river ride on 30-ft bamboo rafts), Greenwood Great House (Caribbean's best antique museum), Burwood Beach.
In October 2017, PAJ (Port Authority of Jamaica) announced its plans to dredge the port in order to extend its cruise ship pier. The dredging project will give the port capacity to berth even the world's largest cruise ships (two of the RCI's Oasis-class / 225,000 GT) simultaneously.
Falmouth cruise terminal
Officially named "Historic Falmouth Cruise Port" (abbrev HFCP), the cruise terminal was inaugurated in March 2011. The port's redevelopment project included the construction of a themed retail shopping complex alongside the docking pier. The pier has 2 berths with length and depth allowing even the world's largest cruise ships to be berthed here.
Historic Falmouth Cruise Port is the world's first-ever cruise port with themed passenger terminal complex featuring a large commercial centre.. The Falmouth port covers all international and US Homeland standards for security.
The cruise ship terminal is open on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, between 9 am and 5 pm. The cruise pier construction project was funded with USD 220 million as a joint venture by RCCL (Royal Caribbean) and Jamaica Port Authority. Over 700,000 cruise ship passengers visit Falmouth Jamaica annually.
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