Disney Cruise Line and Its Ports of Call LIVE! Guidebook
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Making the Most of Jamaica
Making the Most of Jamaica
On the north coast of Jamaica between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, the little port of Falmouth opened to cruise ships in 2011. Built to berth two of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class cruise ships at a time (currently the world’s largest), the pier is bringing new life to a port that was once one of Jamaica’s busiest. You’ll find shops, restaurants, tourist information, and ground transportation within the 32-acre pier complex, with downtown businesses and sights just a short walk away. The Disney Fantasy visit sFalmouth in 2017, and usually docks at Berth 1. All-ashore time is 7:30 am, all-aboard is at 4:45 pm.
Jamaica is a large, mountainous island, with over 9,320 mi./1,500 km of paved roads. Cars drive on the left-hand side, British-style. While car rentals are available from most agencies for pickup/dropoff in Falmouth, we don’t recommend it. Taxis are plentiful. They may or may not have meters, but fares should be posted. As always, discuss the fare before you depart. Jamaican Tourist Board-licensed taxis have a JTB sticker on the windshield, and the drivers carry photo ID. “Route Taxis” have red license plates and lower, flat fares, but they can stop and pick up other passengers en route. Falmouth is under rapid re-development. While you can certainly walk around the compact town, you may prefer an organized walking or tram tour, or perhaps even a horse-drawn surrey, all of which can be found at the pier.
The US Department of State issued a travel advisory on January 10, 2018 for Jamaica, stressing that travelers should exercise increased caution frollowing a Jamaican State of Emergency for St. James Parish. Jamaica has a reputation for its high crime rate. Crime is centered in the Kingston, Montego Bay, and Spanish Town areas. Tourist areas are less affected, but precautions are advised; be alert (especially if carrying parcels), have a companion (or more), leave valuables in your stateroom (especially if headed to the beach), and don’t forget your sun screen. The island is very well known for marijuana, both production and consumption. Note that possession and use of “ganja” is illegal, and cruise tourist or not, if arrested expect you’ll go to jail. Vendors of legal goods and services tend to be aggressive. Be friendly but firm if you’re not interested. Have some Jamaican currency in small denominations ($50 & $100 Jamaican), available at the pier and in town. While U.S. dollars are usually welcome, you may get Jamaican dollars as change. At the least, have plenty of small U.S. bills so you don’t have to break a large one. While not exactly a safety tip, many Jamaicans do not want to be photographed. Please ask first!
Top Photo Slice: Signs on the pier in Falmouth, Jamaica (℗ 53456) Photo contributed by © Jennifer Marx
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