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Jamaica has a rich history in the Cruise shipping industry, having been pioneers, and on Tuesday December 6, 2016 history was again made. At the centre of this history-making day was Kingston Wharves which hosted the MS Monarch by Pullmantur Cruise lines. This is the largest passenger vessel to have docked in the Port of Kingston capping a significant year of firsts for Kingston Wharves.

Passengers disembarking from the, 2700 passenger capacity vessel were only aware that they were on a working cargo facility because of the stacks of containers in the distant. Berth 2 was beautifully converted into a welcoming facility to prepare the eager passengers for what awaited them on their voyage of discovery.

Speaking onboard the vessel Grantley Stephenson, CEO of Kingston Wharves, heaped praises on the team for making the dream a reality. “When the PAJ and the JTB approached us to host the Monarch, we said yes because otherwise Jamaica would have lost an opportunity. As brokers of capabilities we knew that with the resources in place we would be able to take on the challenge” He continued “over the past four years there has been over US$30 million in investments in infrastructure and this prepared us for this opportunity”.

Kingston Wharves has been undergoing modernization of the port facilities to maintain its position as the leading multipurpose port in the region.

Commenting on the significance of Monarch’s visit to Kingston, Chief Operating Officer Mark Williams stated that “this is the result of preparation in the short and long term. Our infrastructure programme continue to position us as the terminal of choice for Feeders and Regional Services in the Caribbean, we have the capacity to accommodate post Panamax vessels and to also accommodate the largest cruise ships on the seas now.”

Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, who was also on hand to welcome the Monarch, stated that it is the Ministry’s intention to target more vessels to call on Kingston. To this Mr Stephenson enthusiastically replied that “Kingston Wharves is ready”

The MS Monarch’s berthing at Kingston Wharves has added to an impressive list of achievements which include being named the best multipurpose port in the Caribbean for the 5th time in nine years; hosting the largest cargo vessel to call on the Port, the Northern Jubilee; and MV Toronto Trader which made its maiden cargo sailing from Kingston. As part of its modernization programme Kingston Wharves also acquired the largest Mobile Harbour Crane in the Caribbean, the Liebherr LHM 600.

Pullmantur Cruise Line is a division of Royal Caribbean Cruise International with a primary base out of Spain. The MS Monarch operates cruises in both the Southern and Norther Caribbean. This voyage is called Legendary Caribbean, which originated in Limon, Costa Rica and ports of call in Colon, Panama; Cartagena, Colombia; and George Town, Grand Cayman. There were just over 2600 passengers and 800 crew members on this cruise. The ship was captained by Arkadiusz Branka.