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CARIBBEAN

Popular Jamaican Port Plans Upgrade

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Montego Bay lost it’s premiere cruise destination status to Falmouth in 2010, but it’s looking like that may be changing in the semi-near future.  The Port Authority of Jamaica is planning on spending $100 million over the next 18 months to transform the city’s port into a world-class point of entry.

Montego Bay has faded into the background a bit as of recent years, overshadowed by the new Falmouth Pier and the Ocho Rios Cruise Ship Terminal.  However, it’s considered one of the most beautiful harbors in all of the Caribbean, and several cruise lines are zooming in on the port as their link to the region.  The city is getting ready to welcome its glory days back.

Revitalization Plans

The facility has a cruise berth and port to receive cargo that doubles as a tourist terminal when there’s another vessel overflow currently, but soon that will be no more.  The modernization project is planned to feature an industrial park, home porting berth, twin cruise terminal, and a mini berth for liquefied natural gas (LNG).

READ MORE: Five Cool Jamaica Shore Adventures

The industrial park will include 124,000 square feet of office space for the business sector, and a 165,000 square foot warehouse.  As far as LNG, the mini berth for that will not have much other Caribbean competition; currently only Trinidad and the Dominican Republic have that capability.

The chairman of the Tourism Enhancement Fund and former president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Godfrey Dyer, is quite happy with the news, “I am very happy with the development and the job the PAJ [Port Authority of Jamaica] is doing, I am confident that Montego Bay will come together.”

Information courtesy of The Gleaner.  Featured photo via Wikipedia.

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CARIBBEAN

Grand Cayman Welcomes Six Ships in Port Today

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Georgetown, Grand Cayman businesses have been preparing for a slew of cruise passengers that sailed into town today on six ships. It’s one of their busiest days this year, and nearly 20,000 cruise guests descended upon the island.

Police have already drafted more officers to the waterfront in the last few months to prepare for the large number of travelers, which has partially been because of the recent hurricanes in the eastern Caribbean. Several cruise lines diverted their ships to Grand Cayman when their original port stops were affected by the storms. The Port Authority expects to see an additional 70 ships, bringing close to 250,000 extra guests to the island through the end of April as a result. This meant that several days this month, the port has already seen up to six ships at a time.

Today was expected to be among the busiest days, with Norwegian Epic, Carnival Vista, Liberty of the Seas, Celebrity Reflection, Marella Discovery II, and Norwegian Pearl all making a call there – in total, 19,722 guests.

Store owners are prepared and glad to see the impact that the additional guests were already having on their businesses, though were sympathetic as to the reason they were receiving so much spin-off traffic. Shops hired extra workers to accommodate the busy cruise days, and the town has been handling the crowds well.

Matthew Bishop, CEO of Island Companies which owns several stores, said its businesses were seeing improved sales across the board. “The arrival of the cruise traffic had been fairly good and our sales have appreciated accordingly. To a certain extent, we expected that but probably an even bigger impact has been from the high-end tourism sector. Some of that is definitely due to the storms that hit the eastern Caribbean.” He went on to say that despite the increase in visitors, there seemed to be very few issues on the waterfront thanks to the increased police presence.

Information: Cayman Compass

Photo credit via Kabir

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BEFORE YOU GO

4 Freeport Day Pass Cruise Resorts

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If you’re docked in Freeport, Bahamas, you might want to check these resorts out if you don’t want to be near the hustle and bustle of all the places most of the other cruise passengers will be.

1. Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach

viva wyndham freeport

Located just 25 minutes away from the cruise port, this resorts features a white sand beach, pools, a Jacuzzi. There’s also land sports like a trapeze and tennis, as well as water sports like kayaking and snorkeling.  They offer unlimited food and drinks, which includes alcoholic beverages.  There’s also programs for kids, and activities for adults throughout the day as well.  This resort has a little bit of everything, so you’re sure to find something for everyone.

Cost: US $89 adult; $55 child

Website: resortforaday.com/Viva-Wyndham-Day-Pass-Freeport-Excursions

2. Grand Lucayan Resort

grand lucayan resort freeport

Grand Lucayan Resort in Freeport, Bahamas.

Located about a 20 minute ride from the cruise port, the Grand Lucayan Resort features a white sand beach and a fresh water swimming pool.  There is a kid’s center as well as activities for the adults throughout the day.  They also offer spa and massage services on site.  One thing to remember is to budget for your food and drinks – those aren’t included in the price.  There are water sports you can do as well, but those are also an additional fee.  If relaxing on the beach sounds like your kind of day, then this resort would be a good, affordable choice.

Cost: US $20 adults; $11 child

Details: https://cruiseradio.net/grand-lucayan-resort-day-pass-option/ 

3. Paradise Cove Beach Resort

Located in the Bahamas Beach/Deadman’s Reef area, Paradise Cove Beach Resort offers day passes for all travelers, including cruise passengers.  In fact, it has direct access to the reef right off the beach.  As a bonus, roundtrip shuttle service is complimentary from the cruise pier when you buy a day pass package.  A day pass includes the use of either snorkeling gear, kayaks, and paddle boards, unless you purchase an all-inclusive – then you have the use of all three.  Also included is a lounge chair, lunch, and one rum-based drink.

Cost: A beachgoer pass is $32. For snorkeling, kayaking, or paddle boarding, it’s $40. An all-inclusive package is $75.

Website: www.deadmansreef.com

4. Bahamas Cruise Excursions

photo: Memories Beach Resort

Bahamas Cruise Excursions’ Memories Beach Resort has the best of both worlds: fun for families, as well as peace for couples looking to escape.  Located across from Port Lucaya, the resort’s day pass includes unlimited drinks at multiple bars on property, a full buffet lunch, beach chairs, wifi, and more.  There are also snacks at their sports bar, a café, and an ice cream bar, so you won’t go hungry!  For those that prefer to take in a pool as opposed to the ocean, the resort also features a pool complete with a swim up bar, pool chairs, and staff for anything you might need.

When it’s time for fun in the sun, the pass includes water toys as well.  This means you have free use of kayaks, paddleboats, Hobie Cats, and more.  There’s also a gym, tennis court, and as a bonus – kids and teens activities and blues as well.  You really can’t be bored here!  The day pass is for 9am to 5pm and works well with most cruise ship arrival times.

Cost: $84.50 for 13 years old and up; $42 for kids 3-11; toddlers 2 and under are free.

Website: bahamascruiseexcursions.com/FreeportResortPass

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CARIBBEAN

4 Almost Free Beaches in Cozumel

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Spending a day in Cozumel usually means fun in the sun, and perhaps the occasional drink. One thing Cozumel has is a bunch of beaches, and they range from free up to $85 per person. The expensive ones are typically an all-inclusive experience while the free ones are normally a no-frills, but still free!

1. Sunset Beach

Known as one of the best snorkeling beaches in Cozumel, Sunset Beach is also one of the closest beaches to San Miguel.  It features a bar and restaurant, and is home to Sand Dollar Sports’ diving, scuba, and snuba staging area.  They’ve also taken a lot of time to make sure the entry into the water is guest-friendly, meaning you won’t cut your feet on coral or rocks.

Located 1/4 mile beyond Villa Blanca – take the only road that leaves San Miguel to the south.

2. Playa Palancar

Cozumel

(photo: Flickr Creative Commons/zanzibar)

While this is a free beach, they do charge you for two beach chairs and an umbrella, at an inexpensive $10.  If you’re looking for a quiet beach to relax away from big crowds, this is a great one for you, and is known as one of the best.  You can go jet skiing, snorkeling, parasailing, kayaking, and have a drink and bite to eat at the restaurant.

Trip Advisor members reported that their cab ride from the cruise pier to the beach was about $20-25 US dollars.  So it’s a bit further away, but well worth it if you want serenity and a pristine oceanfront!

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3. Paradise Beach

Cozumel

(photo: Flickr Creative Commons/Tom Bechtel)

Admission to Paradise Beach is set at $3 and that gets you a chair on the beach or by the pool. Located only five miles from the International Pier, this pristine oasis offers food and beverage service right from your beach chair, three shops with beach toys, souvenirs, and more, and a pool with access to free wifi.

For $18 per person, adults and children alike get access to Paradise Beach’s array of water inflatables, including trampolines, slides, and climbing structures.  This pass also includes access to snorkel gear, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards.

Paradise Beach has a dedicated taxi stand for cruise guests. For 1-4 passengers, your taxi fare will be around $15 from the cruise pier.  For a taxi van that holds up to 8 passengers it will be around $30. (These are per ride, not per person!)

4. Playa Corona Beach

cozumel

(photo: Flickr Creative Commons/david jarnstrom)

Playa Corona is one of the oldest beaches in Cozumel and is a popular destination for snorkeling and scuba diving – in fact, it’s considered one of the best snorkeling beaches in Cozumel.  Admission to the beach is free, and you can either bring your own gear or rent it (only snorkel gear is offered).  Around 100 yards offshore is the south end of Chankanaab reef, and people say that the water there is even clearer than in Chankanaab National Park.

Ashore you’ll find a bar with all of the usual beverages that you would expect while on vacation, as well as a restaurant serving up authentic Mexican food from the family that’s owned the property for over 30 years.

What beach do you go to in Cozumel? 

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Hi, this may be of interest to you: Popular Jamaican Port Plans Upgrade. This is the link: https://cruiseradio.net/montego-bay-undergo-100m-revitalization/