Address by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart

Increase in Caribbean cruise passengers opting to stay onboard

Increase in Caribbean cruise passengers opting to stay onboard
10 May
2017

A survey commissioned by Canadian based company Allianz Global Assistance, says more cruise ships passengers, particularly those visiting the Caribbean, are opting to stay onboard the ship for most, if not all of their cruise.

The survey found that while cruises are seen as one of the safest vacations – global security concerns could be having a trickle-down effect to the ports of call, with the survey citing safety concerns as the top reason for not disembarking.

“Caribbean ports used to be as quiet as the onboard library. Now more than one-third of travellers say they would prefer to stay onboard the ship for most if not all of their cruise.”

Details of the survey, published in the online publication – Travelweek, said in the past passengers who chose to onboard were the exception .

“Shore excursions have long been a lucrative revenue stream for cruise lines but now with a travelling public that’s savvier (and also a bit skittish), not to mention a trade trend of pre-booking commissionable shore excursions for clients with third-party suppliers, cruise lines are having to up their game particularly in the Caribbean.”

The survey also found that some passengers were not interested in the destination and others feared not returning to the ship on time.

It was also revealed that close to one out of ten passengers did not want “to see their inclusive food and drink deals on the ship go to waste”.

Some of the travelers questioned – 8.3 per cent – also said they would stay onboard because they had not pre-booked a shore excursion, while 7 per cent said they had already visited the destination, and 5 per cent did not want to be out of touch – citing the lack of Internet/mobile connectivity in port for their desire to stay on ship.

The article also made reference to Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett and Director of Tourism Paul Pennicook and the i Cruise Jamaica initiative, with the goal of increasing Jamaica’s cruise ship calls and new developments at the country’s cruise ports, hotels and attractions.

“Right now Jamaica gets about 7 per cent of the Caribbean’s cruise arrivals, but it wants 10 per cent. Last year Jamaica saw 518 port calls and 1.6 million cruise passengers. Jamaica is projecting to achieve two million cruise passengers by the end of 2017,” said Travelweek.

According to Philip Rose, Regional Director, Canada for the Jamaica Tourist Board – “all cruisers will find what they are looking for in Jamaica”, from thrill seekers to culinary enthusiasts to culture junkies. “With more tours and attractions than any other Caribbean island, Jamaica offers something for all visitors.”

Travelweek noted that mega cruise destinations such as Jamaica and the Bahamas “will also have to start looking over their shoulder at Cuba, even though the competition is barely a blip in the early days of Cuba opening up to American visitors.”