Saturday, September 24, 2016

Cruise port reviews: Falmouth Jamaica

Cruising to Jamaica is nothing new, however, the cruise port of Falmouth on the north coast in Trelawny Parish is relatively new. It was opened to cruises in March 2011. It can handle even the biggest ships since the first one in was Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas. As far as cruise ports go, it is purpose made so there is a brand new sort of feel. 

The atmosphere is much like what you get at Kings Wharf in Bermuda. If you have an overwhelming desire to buy T-shirts, jewelry, or cookie cutter crafts, you will love this port. Otherwise, there is little to impress except that it is new and clean. If only the same could be said for the area of the city of Falmouth surrounding it.

While official reviews of the city talk about its Georgian architecture, all that this cruiser saw was colorful but run down homes that looked more like shanties, evidently, they must be Georgian shanties! Nothing would induce this cruiser to take a walk through what looked more like a slum than a charming Caribbean city.

Cruise Critic includes this description "One of the best things about making a port call there is the feeling that you've arrived in an authentic Jamaican town with a palpable history. The town, while still gritty and dusty in most places off the newly cobbled main drags, feels real. School kids in uniforms stroll three-wide, holding hands, and mothers pause, babies on hips, to chat with neighbors.”

Many tour options are offered in Falmouth. One of them is for High Tea at Good Hope Great House. For what seems like a very high price, a bus transports cruise passengers from the port to the plantation house which is more than a half hour drive through the city and up into the mountains. Keep in mind, depending on the time of year, it is going to be very warm out and the first part of the visit is waiting outside the plantation house. Think no air conditioning.

When the bus arrived, guests were sent into a building which has the gift shop and told to make sure they get back on the same bus to be returned to the ship. This was where everything started to go bad. We did not go back to the ship on the same bus; there was no attempt to keep track of where people were or how they got to the plantation. Just don't leave anything on the bus. You are carried to the house in a smaller bus.

The views from the grounds are spectacular and the guide who took us through the house was very knowledgeable. It really is beautiful and you will learn a lot about what life was like in colonial Jamaica. The High Tea was a joke. Everything about it was disappointing from the food to the setup and especially the tea. Don't waste your money on this excursion. Choose an excursion that offers a tour of the house but skip the food and just enjoy the wonderful scenery.

This is actually the last excursion I have ever booked on a cruise. I was that disappointed. Overpriced is one thing but the incompetence of the people taking us back and forth to the ship was unforgivable. 

No comments:

Post a Comment