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Last edited by Snoozeman; February 17th, 2011 at 05:30 PM.
Wife and I were there on Voyager for the first docking. Definitely an unexpected bonus for the cruise. Were lucky enough to be on the starboard side so our balcony overlooked the pier and all the opening festivities. Bands, stilt walkers, dancers, politicians shaking hands, the works. If you have a choice book a dockside cabin.
I will throw a few other observations out here for those that may be interested....
The port is nowhere close to done, and there are no amenities to speak of open yet, but it will be really nice when they get more finished. Lots of buildings, for shops and customs and excursion groups, but they are many, many months away from any level of completion (and the pace of work by the locals was very 'laid back'). Right now temporary shops are set up along the buildings, with tons of wood carving for sale. There is noplace close (walkable) I'd recommend as far as restaurants or stores, but I am sure they will open some in the future. For now its a good place to tie up one ship, with the second side of the pier still less complete. When its done it will be impressive.
I would strongly recommend against self walking tours aroud Falmouth until the new kinda wears off and they get more completed. The street across the face of the pier across from the gates was packed with locals all day. We were taking pictures of them taking pictures of us. Kinda bizarre. When we went by on a tour trolley, kids would run out of their rooms at the schools in thier uniforms to gawk and wave at us.
There was a shocking level of poverty apparent when I took the local historic tram tour. We saw some really neat old churches and cemetaries along the tour route, but they were scattered among shacks and shanties that were far worse than the old shed I need to tear down out back. The only restaurant I saw along the tour was in one of these shacks and the menu was scribbled on an old wood plank nailed by the door. Old dogs that coulda been in SPCA commercials were laying around the shacks. An old lady was filling her water bottle from an old spigot in a drainage ditch. It will make you feel blessed with your lot in life.
We did not book any tours through the ship for this visit, but it was easy to jump on a trolley for a local tour ($10 each) and then we went to the taxi station right off the pier and boarded a bus/taxi with other cruisers for a trip to Montego Bay. Laid out on a nice private beach near some decent restaurants, and some took advantage of shopping. Cab driver stayed in Montego and did the round trip. ($25 each for cab and beach access pass).
Be glad to answer any other questions.
On a side note, we were stuck in fog trying to return to Galveston on Sunday. It was so thick that you could not see the water below you off the balcony. Delay of about 6 hours getting to port, and when the fog finally cleared we realized we were surrounded by other ships that gradually appeared out of the mist like ghost vessels. I counted 48 on my side of the ship, including a Carnival ship that was delayed longer than us (we heard 2 days) from their scheduled docking.
I know this is a long first post, but I've never been accused of being short-winded...
Doug, thanks for your insight on Falmouth..I'm sure you've helped some cruisers, deciding what to do there..I just saw a picture of an RCI ship, with all the passengers lined up on the top deck for sailaway..impressive...
Did you really mean "48 "ghost ships? wowowow
Trip, with her book & tea!
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Last edited by Trip; February 22nd, 2011 at 10:45 PM.
Doug, thanks for your insight on Falmouth..I'm sure you've help some cruisers deciding what to do there..I just saw a picture of an RCI ship, with all the passengers lined up on the top deck for sailaway..impressive...
Did you really mean "48 "ghost ships? wowowow
This was the first time I really paid that much attention to the docking / sail away cuz it was such a local event. Was like being 5000 rock stars. Local media camera men chasing the tour trams down the crowded streets for shots.
The 48 ships were just what I could see from my balcony on deck 8. I heard there were more than double that, but I just looked one direction. It seems we had all taken up positions around a navigational bouy while the port was closed. From there it was still about a 2 hour run to the pier.
We're off on the Ryndam on 3/6 with a stop at Falmouth. Will report back on our experience. Haven't purchased any excursions.
What I heard was only RCI (and the sibling Celebrity line) were allowed to use the new cruise port since they financed much of it. I know all the artist renderings around the port only depict those 2 lines. Is Holland America (Ryndam) also affiliated with the project? I know Carnival is still mooring elsewhere and tendering.
Not trying to question your itenerary, just curious if other lines are also going to be able to use the dock. Perhaps RCI has docking priority and others can rent space and pull in on 'open' dates.
Was in Falmouth last week on the Navigator. We were the 2nd ship there.
It will be awesome when completed. Lots of construction. Locals very excited to see tourists. Pier had Carnival feel to it with music & preformers.
Went on the horse & buggy excursion. Was great! Audette was our tour guide. She was very knowledgable. Lasted about 2 hours. Would recommend it.
Would not suggest going off on your own. A little scary, but still better then Ocho Rios!