Port Royal was once the capital of Jamaica during the British take-over of the island in the 1670s. Once labelled as the ‘wickedest city on Earth’, in 1692 a devastating earthquake levelled much of the city and left a third of its landmass sinking beneath the waters of the Kingston Harbour. Several other hurricanes and another severe earthquake in 1907 continued the assault on the remaining fragile structure of the town which slowly decayed into a shadow of a relic in Jamaica’s history.
On January 20th, 2020, almost two decades following the announcement of plans to transform the historic town of Port Royal into a thriving cruise tourist destination, the first cruise line arrived.
When our team arrived at the newly constructed port, the air was filled with excitement. One could not fail to see the elegant lines of the Marella Discovery 2 ship, which we were informed was boarding about 2,000 passengers.
Some passengers strolled from the ship and towards the town of Port Royal. Others idly browsed the concessionaire booths inside the temporary shopping village located inside the port. While some passengers were transported into Kingston on tours.
Inside the shopping village, the sweet rhythm of reggae music from the sound system floated around in competition with the aromatic smell from the jerk vendor.
Like curious adventurers, the passengers on this historic cruise strolled around the shopping village. They sampled our rich culture of food, drink, clothing, art and of course our people.
Our team walked throughout Port Royal town and interviewed residents and cruise ship passengers about being a part of history.
Say What! – The Residents
Here’s what a couple of community elders shared with us about this gift to their community
Some Port Royal residents view the development of their community as a tourist destination, with optimism and beneficial for everyone.
Say What! – The Passengers
Likewise, our team interacted with a couple of the passengers to have them share what they thought about their historic participation in the first cruise ship call to Port Royal. We even caught up with a Jamaican couple who were also passengers. Here’s what the excited passengers had to say.
Therefore, Port Royal offers a historical treat to visitors, which dates all the way back to the 1600s. As for the residents, some are optimistic. All the features that have characterized the uniqueness of their town, including the friendliness and the almost crime-free environment, will serve to enhance and sustain this tourism product for many years to come. And some visitors don’t want anything to change from what they are experiencing on their historic landing.
One love Port Royal!