There's an interesting article today by the Associated Press about the lesser publicized side of cruise ship excursions entitled Jamaica's "Ganja Tours Draw the Tourists" (with subtitle: "Cannabis connoisseurs can enjoy trips to hidden plantations and sample strains of the drug that inspired Bob Marley.")
Jamaican ganja like "purple kush" and "pineapple skunk" are some of the favorites of "pot tourists" who cruise into Falmouth and then head up to the mountains.
The AP article says that many tours pass through Nine Mile, the mountain hometown of famous reggae star and pot lover Bob Marley, where Jamaican men can escort tourists to locations in the mountains where pot grows.
The newspaper writes about a "couple of busloads of cruise-ship tourists arriving at Bob Marley's childhood home," where "more than a dozen lined up enthusiastically to buy bags of weed . . . through a hole in the wall of the museum compound."
You won't see any of the official cruise excursions labeled as ganja tours as such. But there is big money to be made by the cruise lines in driving passengers into the mountains where the potent sinsemilla is cultivated.
Royal Caribbean promotes an excursion from its new port development in Falmouth where passengers from the Oasis and the Allure can participate in the aptly entitled "Bob Marley Experience." (Are you experienced?)
According to the Royal Caribbean website, the excursion's "HIGHLIGHTS" (a Freudian slip or pandering to potheads?) include listening to reggae music on the bus ride from the port and back through the "narrow winding country roads to the mountain village of Nine Miles" to visit the birthplace and resting place of the late & great Bob Marley. And of course there's time to trek into the pot fields.
The Royal Caribbean "Bob Marley Experience" is available starting at $99. The cruise line excludes minors, with the minimum age being 18 year-olds. This is no Dunn's River Falls excursion for kids, Dude.
Carnival offers an identical tour in their "Zion Bus" (for cruise passengers 18 and older) where you can "listen to Bob Marley’s hits as your dreadlocked driver takes you into the hills."
A Carnival passenger wrote in a review of the tour:
"Like the guide told us - You get high, high up to the mountains!"
A Jamaican jerk chicken lunch is offered too. All the cruise lines need to add is a dozen brownies to make the experience complete.
Photo: Top - Falmouth, Jamaica by Jim Walker; Bottom - Bob Marley Tour Bus - Carnival.
You can see some interesting photos and information about the Bob Marley experience here.