Liberty of the Seas makes inaugural visit to Jamaica

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – Liberty of the Seas, one of the largest cruise ships in the world, made its inaugural visit to Jamaica on Tuesday (May 22) when it docked at the Freeport Pier in Montego Bay with some 4,000 passengers.

The Royal Caribbean’s cruise ship, which is scheduled to visit Montego Bay on alternate weeks for the next year or so, follows on the heels of its sister vessel, ‘Freedom of the Seas’, which has visited Jamaica regularly over the last 10 months.

Speaking at a welcome reception held aboard the ship, Minister of Housing, Transport, Water and Works, Robert Pickersgill said that the cruise sector is an integral component of the tourist industry and a major contributor to Jamaica’s economy.

Minister of Housing, Transport, Water and Works, Robert Pickersgill (R) presents a painting of local scenery to Captain Hernan Zini (L) of ‘Liberty of the Seas’ during a reception held on board the ship, which docked at the Freeport pier in Montego Bay.

He informed that last year, Jamaica welcomed a record 1,324,740 cruise passengers, which was an increase of 206,948 visitors or 18.5 per cent over the figures in 2005.

Royal Caribbean, he said, contributed significantly to the 2006 figures and “to our being voted the world’s leading cruise destination at the 2006 World Travel Awards.”

“The 2006 performance underscores the significant growth, which has taken place since the Port Authority assumed responsibility for marketing cruise shipping in 2001. The government of Jamaica is intent on maximizing the tremendous possibilities offered by the sector and we are cognizant of the requirements of the cruise lines in order to facilitate continued growth,” Minister Pickersgill stated.

The Transport Minister, in the meantime, informed that plans for the upgrading of the port in Montego Bay are advanced, with some aspects of the work already underway.

“The extensive upgrading of the port here in Montego Bay will include the redesign of berthing facilities, the building of two new berths, extending of two existing berths, and the addition of a second terminal building. It should be noted that when those works are completed, the port will be able to accommodate two Freedom class vessels simultaneously,” Mr. Pickersgill said.

He further gave the assurance that the government will continue to develop the cruise industry.
Liberty of the Seas has a total passenger capacity of 5,700 inclusive of 1,360 crew members. With some 15 decks, it is differentiated by its design and décor, showcasing spectacular artwork.

Among its features are a surf stimulator, boxing ring, water park, the Royal Promenade entertainment boulevard, fitness, spa, and family programming for children and teens.

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