The AP published an article today regarding the plight of Falmouth. The world’s biggest cruise ships are sucking most of the money out of the Jamaican port and leaving little behind except crushed expectations of the local community.

World’s Biggest Cruise Ships Drop Anchor in Caribbean, But Ship-to-Shore Feud Brews Over Cash” takes a look at Royal Caribbean’s “development” of this historic port where it promised that if Jamaica spent a couple hundred million dollars building a deep water port for its monstrous ships the Oasis of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas, the mostly U.S. passengers would each spend would over $100 ashore and infuse the local Jamaican economy.

Jamaica lived up to its end of the bargain, at consideration damage to the mangroves and coral reefsAllure of the Seas - Royal Caribbean - Falmouth Jamaica around Falmouth. But the residents of Falmouth are seeing little money in return.  The AP article quotes a local businessman saying: “We were promised that we’d be able to show people our Jamaican heritage, sell our crafts. But most of the tourists stay far away from the local people . . . we’re on the losing end.”

I have been to Falmouth and feared that it would be another Royal Caribbean project that benefited the cruise line and exploited the local community.  Three years ago I wrote an article critical of what I believed would be another Royal Caribbean scheme (like Labadee Haiti) to suck money from another Caribbean island and sail the loot back to the cruise line’s coffers in Miami – “Historic Port of Falmouth – Jamaica’s “Crapital” for the Oasis of the Seas.

I followed this article up with “Will Royal Caribbean Ever Live Up to Its Promises to Falmouth Jamaica?” Unfortunately, the people of Jamaica have a history of being exploited by foreign plantation owners, sugar barons, slave owners, and bauxite-mining companies.  Royal Caribbean is the latest robber baron to appear as the country’s professed savior. But like other false prophets, it will do no better for Falmouth than those in the past who have taken greatly and given little in return to this beautiful island.

The AP article says that the people in Falmouth are “growing angry” and predicts that things will only get worse, quoting a local vendor:

“The pot is starting to boil and, trust me, it will boil over if things don’t change around here . . . why can’t we, the people who actually live here, make a living off the cruise ships, too?”

The answer lies in history of the non-sustainable cruise industry.  Poor Caribbean countries like Jamaica are beholden to selfish billion dollar U.S. based cruise corporations.  In the end game, the local Jamaicans are victims of the exploitative cruise line system.


Video credit: “Victims of The System” – Rootz Underground

Read our other articles about Falmouth:

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?

Royal Caribbean’s New Port in Falmouth, Jamaica – At What Cost to the Environment?

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

Cruise Law Visits Montego Bay Jamaica

  • William Tatham

    This is absolute nonsense…. clearly a journalist in search of a story where there is none. The New Port of Falmouth whose development was primarily driven by The Port Authority of Jamaica with Royal Caribbean as its selected partner has been an overwhelming success and has exceeded all expectations.
    Jamaica has seen a complete turnaround of cruise shipping numbers with passengers arrivals moving from a low of approximately 900,000 cruise passengers in 2010 to estimated 1.4 Million this year.
    Over 98% of the related investment in the area has been done by local investors who are reaping the benefits of the increased passengers numbers.
    I am pleased to say that passengers electing to go on tours sold on the ships are going on tours that are locally owned and operated, visiting attractions that are also locally owned and managed…. employing local staff.
    This sort off reporting is so way off that it is no wonder that we begin to look at the press in a cynical way.

  • Michelle

    Most people who have cruised the Caribbean don’t spend money in Jamaica because they are harassed by the locals nearly the minute they get off the ship and it doesn’t stop until they are back on the ship. Jamaica has a very bad image in the cruiser world. If they want people to spend money in their beautiful island, they need to clean up the ganga and other drugs so blatantly and boldly offered to cruisers and keep the intimidating hawkers away from the tourist. It’s better to go to Tijuana today than it is to go to Mobay. Many cruisers use this as an extra ship day instead getting off at Jamaican ports.

    Email Address OR
    Web site address
    “SEEING JAMAICA THROUGH UNIQUE WORKSHOPS” Film Jamaica While Vacationing & Earn a Certificate
    Falmouth, Trelawny, Jamaica, Monday, October 08, 2012— Visitors travelling to Jamaica anytime soon can now experience this Caribbean paradise through unique workshops taught by local students at The RAS ASTOR BLACK INTERACTIVE MUSIC & ARTS LEARNING INSTITUTE and earn a certificate in film and culinary arts while learning about local culture at the same time.
    Jamaica – the jewel of the Caribbean – has allured professional and amateur photographers for years and continues to be a favorite of film enthusiasts worldwide. Now, The RAS ASTOR BLACK INTERACTIVE MUSIC & ARTS LEARNING INSTITUTE situated AT THE Trelawny Stadium in historic Falmouth, offering an exciting new program for tourists called “Video and Vacation Photography Tours & Classes” for those who truly want to discover all the breathtaking natural beauty this tropical paradise has to offer. Photo enthusiasts of all levels are encouraged to enroll in one of the custom tailored class workshops designed to teach participants to become better photographers while also having the opportunity to travel around Jamaica and learn about local culture and culinary skills with local students.
    Through the eyes of a camera lens, participants will discover all of Jamaica’s riches – from its lush green tropical forests, to its majestic mountains and waterfalls, to its world renowned beaches – and learn how to capture it all on film. What really makes this program unique is its being taught by local photography and film students at the art institute. This allows participants to experience local culture firsthand while travelling through the island with students knowledgeable in both photography and local Jamaican culture. In addition to developing photography skills participants will also receive lessons in how to prepare Jamaican dishes.
    The workshops – which vary in length from one day, three days, one or two weeks – will teach participants how to become better photographers and videographers while also providing them with a unique holiday experience. Upon completion of the workshop participants will earn a certificate in film/culinary arts from RAS ASTOR BLACK INTERACTIVE MUSIC & ARTS LEARNING INSTITUTE
    Some highlights these workshops have to offer participants are Film in communities not visited by regular tourists. Eat Jamaican food from local farms. Learn to prepare food by families in local communities. Earn a certificate in film/culinary arts from The Bob Marley School.
    The RAS ASTOR BLACK INTERACTIVE MUSIC & ARTS LEARNING INSTITUTE is centrally located at the Trelawny Stadium and soon a branch at the recently opened Port of Falmouth, home of the Royal Caribbean cruise-lines megaship Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. It is located 30 minutes from the Montego Bay International Airport.
    The school was founded in 1994 by Ras Astor Black and is part of an exciting entertainment and sports complex, including a Reggae Walk of Fame and Museum currently under development. For more information on the workshops and enrollment for more information on the Arts Institute please contact Ras Astor Black as per contact info at the top of this press release.

  • Comment no. 1 is by William Tatham who is Vice President of Cruise Shipping, Port Authority of Jamaica.

    Here is a YouTube video of Mr. Tatham talking about Falmouth:

    I wonder if the local vendors in Falmouth were invited to the black tie gala event with Mr. Tatham and the cruise executives?

  • Debbie

    My husband and I have recently sailed with Royal Caribbean and have visited Falmouth. Let me just say that if an attitude adjustment doesn’t come soon from the locals they will continue to not make any money from the tourists. My husband and I had a tour booked on the day we arrived but due to bad weather it was cancelled. We walked around the port area and into the different shops. We were harassed in each shop we went into and finally we just gave up and went back on the ship and had a very nice relaxing day.

    One of our other stops was to RCL’s private island in Haiti and in the past we had a wonderful time there kayaking and swimming and just relaxing under a tree. This time there were more local’s there selling their crafts. They harassed the passengers, called names when you didn’t want to buy their wares. It was very uncomfortable. These islander’s need to understand that bothering the guests is a sure way not to make any profits. If you make people feel uncomfortable, with enough complaints ships will stop visiting your port.

  • Brian ings

    Me and my wife visited Falmouth on oasis back in September. We were looking forward to walking through Falmouth. To be honest we were not game to walk outside the compound. The locals need to work on making their town cleaner and more inviting. The locals need make the visitors more welcome. It reminded me of aboriginal towns like Bourke in our home Australia. Maybe a modern local bar( cheaper drinks than margaritaville) with a reggae band might lure in the tourist dollar.

  • Bill Clutter

    I’ve visited Falmouth two times now, the 4×4 into the mountains was wonderful, great tour guide. On our second trip we did the walking tour in Falmouth. People were very nice on the back streets, yes it is thirld world and dirty. Once back towards the ships, you do get the harrassment to buy but no where near as bad as the straw market in Labadee. I changed my mind to a positive impression after two visits to Falmouth. There is a very interesting and wonderful side to this port stop.

  • Mike

    If one was inclined to give the Caribbean an enema, Jamaica is where they’d stick the hose. Royal Caribbean was very smart to both build and control access to the cruise port in Falmouth. Prior to this, RCL called in Ocho Rios and guests couldn’t even get off of the ship without being besieged by the dirtbag locals, the mildest of whom were merely rude, the most aggressive of whom were little better than muggers. It’s true, the same Dadlani family mafia that controls the stores in Ocho Rios are out in force in the stores at Falmouth pier, but at least the guests can walk around without being harassed, maybe listen to music and have some jerk chicken. Until the local authorities start spending more time policing the other side of the fence and less time moaning about some mythical exploitation, there is little reason to venture off of the ship anywhere in Jamaica. Pity, too, the island is one of the most beautiful in the Caribbean.

  • Mircea

    This is so funny!!! Falmouth is a victim of RCL. Say thank you that somebody is going there. The locals just don’t wanna work, they just want the money to come from the sky!!! Now if the money are not coming from he sky then RCL it’s taking advantage of the island??? Come on guys, get to work and be nice, stop crying for things that you are lazy to do. OK, RCL it’s bringing people to the island, what they should do more? Force people to buy from the locals??? It’s easy to sell to Americans local stuff, if you know how to do it. But attacking them with “buy this, buy that, ganga to smoke, etc” it’s not working. Ugly stupid mentality, like this…

    It would be interesting what if RCL will take their ships out of the place, what would happened??? Back to the trees??? I think this would happened…

  • buntyp

    This ‘Fella’ here seems to come from the same ‘Place’ as the Woman who wrote ‘Born Fi dead’, who lived with her P.N.P.Gun-Man Boy Friend, & tried, in her Book, to make-out that the Guys with the Good-Guns, were the ‘ones She Knew,& the others, The J.l.p. Gun-men were the ‘Killers’.

    Another of that same ‘Clique’, wrote another ‘Book’ about the ‘Slave Treatment’ the U.S.Sugar people were treating the Jamaican Workers.

    Ms. Portia Simpson, was then, at the time of that ‘Publication OF that Book about U.S.Sugar, the Minister of Labour.

    Based on these ‘Fabricated Complaints’, she, Hon. Minister went to Florida to see for herself whhat was all this Brouhaha about??

    She, Minister Portia Simpson, had had Many Years of Experience with that whole ‘Agricultural Labour’ Program in the United States, & had had the ‘Benefit’ of having made Numerous Visits to the Various U.S. lOCATIONS WHERE THE jamaicans had been Working.

    Her trip to Florida was to have put her in such a ‘State Of Shock’ when the very Reverse of what the ‘Book’ had been ‘Claiming’ was the ‘Problems’ with the Jamaicans employed with U.S.Sugar.

    Both herself & Minister Roger Clarke know ‘The Score’ all too well!!

    That ‘Species of Humanity’ who had been ‘Camped’ on the ‘Banks of the Dunns River’, for Years, using the ‘River’ for ALL THEIR ABLUTIONS,with Toilet-Pits overhanging the side of the River, has been ‘Caught in Hundreds of Photos by the U.d.C.& their ancilliary ‘Development Companies’ & have been known by EVERY northern St.Ann, for thepast 20+Years.

    Many of these ‘Professional Louts’ who had ‘preyed’ on the ‘Ocho Rios Cruise Ship Passengers for 20+Years, probably have had ‘Another Generation’ to ‘Farm-Out’to Falmouth, where they (The River Children) are now ‘Squatting ALONG THE LENGTH OF THE MARTHA BRAE, plying their ‘Trade’ with now not even the ‘pretense of having anything to Sell’ but just from ‘Sheer Intimidation’ (Protection Money) have now taken-up Full Time ‘Occupation’ with the Harassment of the Falmouth Cruise Ship Passengers, while ‘Fertilizing the Martha Brae River & it’s Environs.

    H’and dat a jus so-eet a go-doun dey so in Chewlawny’s!!!

  • Dennis Meadows

    The AP piece contributed by Jim Walker echoes my concern as it relates to the Falmouth Pier development from the onset. The redesign of the pier from a finger pier to a tourism enclave, making it an almost sanitized area from the locals. I continue to say, if we continue to operate the tourism industry as an Oasis in a wilderness of despair and poverty, will render it unsustainable. The people are not benefiting from the promised increased economic activity from visitor arrivals. Visitors are shuttled to attractions outside the parish and to gift shops owned by expatriates (indians), while the local craft villages suffer.

  • Gary S.

    A couple of years ago, my wife and I were aboard an RC ship that stopped at Falmouth. We ventured out of the secure enclave, briefly. We didn’t stay long. My personal security radar was going off loudly, it said, “Get thee from the streets, hasten back to the ship.” I got the feeling that it wasn’t a very safe place. I’ve been in crummy places in SE Asia where I felt more secure.