Will Jamaica's Cruise Ship Woes Be Solved By A Margaritaville?

Jamaica's Gleaner newspaper reports that the average amount of money spent by a cruise ship passenger in Jamaica has dropped to just $71.  

The hardest hit Jamaican port has been Falmouth where Royal Caribbean convinced the county of Jamaica to spend over $160,000,000 so far to develop the port (at great destruction to the reefs and environment of Jamaica) on the promise that the U.S. passengers would spend hundreds of dollars each upon entering Jamaica.

Now that Jamaica took Royal Caribbean's bait, dug up its fragile coral reefs and bulldozed its mangroves, the island has learned that the mostly American passengers are spending no where near the promised several hundred of dollars while ashore.

Falmouth Jamaica - Royal Caribbean PortI won't say that I told you so, although I will mention that this is exactly what I predicted in my prior articles:

Historic Port of Falmouth - Jamaica's "Crapital" for the Oasis of the Seas

Will Royal Caribbean Ever Live Up to Its Promises to Falmouth Jamaica

One of the problems I observed when I visited Falmouth last year is that the new port contains essentially two worlds - the new port behind the fence which the cruise line erected where the touristy shops are sponsored by Royal Caribbean which sucks in most of the money, and the original stores outside the fence where few passengers venture.  

Compounding the problem is the fact that most of the excursions sold by the cruise line immediately leave the port and take the passengers outside of Falmouth.

But not is all lost, according to the Gleaner.  A Margaritaville is going to open on the Royal Caribbean dock in Falmouth, inside the cruise line fence.  Per capital spending is suppose to increase from $71 to $120 a passenger.

A Margaritaville bar in the historic port of Falmouth?  Ugh.  

Will the promised money roll in?  Probably not.  

But whatever bounty the cruise line passengers bring to the Jimmy Buffet bar in Jamaica will undoubtedly be scooped up by Royal Caribbean and sailed back to Miami.      


Photo credit:  Jim Walker

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Comments (4) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Lori - September 13, 2012 7:55 AM

I have only been to Jamaica once and the experience was OK. The tour guide that I had lined up for months before our cruise did not show but we found another there at the port. The only problems we encountered were the $6 a beer at a Margaritaville which we passed on, the feeling that we would be pecked to death at their local tourist open market and the mechanical problems with the van just feet from the port entrance on our return. We have many friends that will not cruise to Jamaica because they have been ripped off, pick-pocketed, or feel they have been extorted by their drivers. If my only experience came from the open market I would opt to stay on the ship just like I do in Cozumel. I enjoy seeing the natural beauty of the landscape and learning of their culture. I do not smoke dope nor am I interested in a vulgar tee shirt and if I do not find something at your shop that I want to purchase does not make me want to recommend your shop to others or come back on a return trip when you start with the smack talking about me or my fellow Americans.

It is regretful if they indeed removed live coral for the new dock. I would venture it was to be able to dock their larger ships to bring more tourist to Jamaica however Jamaica in general needs to work on how it treats their temporary guests that are their potential consumers and paydays.

Don - December 4, 2012 9:35 AM

If you want a truly bad experience in Jamaica, visit by cruise ship. If you want to experience true Jamaica, go and stay awhile. It's a beautiful country to see and experience.

I've been there both ways, but probably wouldn't go back by cruise ship.

Tim - February 11, 2013 5:53 PM

Margaritaville will hire locals to work which does put money into the local economy. It just takes a while for the money to trickle back down, but it soon will.

lisa - June 13, 2014 11:47 AM

My husband happens to sell vacation packages to Jamaica and the rest of the world. We are US citizens. We all love jamaica, goes there sometimes twice per year, and finds that the negative feedbacks that he gets about jamaica is almost always from cruise ship passengers. First it starts with the ships scaring the living daylights out of people about reasons for not venturing out to see the island. It's often the same at all-inclusive hotels as well. But here is their nasty little secret: THEY (THE HOTEL OR THE CRUISE LINE) LINE UP THEIR BUSES AND CHARGES YOU MORE THAN TWICE THE AMOUNT THAT A LOCAL WOULD CHARGE YOU FOR A SIMILAR TRIP) AND TAKE YOU OUT ON EXCURSIONS. EXCURSIONS TO PLACES THAT THEY HAD PREVIOUSLY WARNED YOU NOT TO VENTURE OUT AND SEE BECAUSE...AND AT THE ARRANGED STOPS YOU PAY AT LEAST 3 TIMES THE AMOUNT FOR FOOD AND DRINKS. They waste no time getting their cut and I have not enough time in a day to tell you just how unfortunate this all is. All i will say is, go to Jamaica by air, stay at a Sandals hotel or a Superclubs property, Swept Away...hotels that are NOT spanish chains...and please venture out! You dont have to follow their rules like little kids! Jamaica's high crime rate is black on black mostly in their inner cities and not tourist-targeted. Not saying any of this is right. Jamaica is no worst than most of our American cities, no worst than Chicago, Detroit or New York to name a few. So get out there and truely see and experience my beautiful home country of jamaica. Jamaica is not perfect (politics infested I call it) but it's nice enough for us to build our second home there allowing us to visit for the serenity and all year after year.

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