…A Boom Town Frozen in Time
NEW WORLD COMMERCIAL CENTER
The year was 1790. Jamaica was Britain’s crown jewel and a leading producer of sugar. On the northern coast of the island, the newly established town of Falmouth was buzzing with activity. Strategically placed on the trans-Atlantic trade route, Falmouth was an essential port of call in the Caribbean. On any given day, 30 ships would be anchored in the harbor with hundreds of sailors, masons, planters and merchants rambling through the streets. At the turn of the century, Falmouth was regarded as the “wealthiest New World port south of Charleston, South Carolina”.
Its founders predicted the important role that the town would play in Jamaica’s burgeoning economy and executed thoughtful town planning. The streets were organized in a regular pattern and adequate public buildings were constructed. Falmouth residents even enjoyed piped water before New York. Wandering through its corridors, the travel weary seaman could easily have mistaken Falmouth for an English city. Many buildings were fashioned in the then trendy Georgian style of architecture. Georgian Design had crossed the Atlantic and shaped the homes and offices of the British Colonies with its sash windows, hip roofs and quoining. Falmouth was a town poised for growth.
But by 1840 the town had fallen into a slumber. With the abolition of the slave trade and the decline of the sugar economy, the arrival of ships diminished; craftsmen and merchants moved elsewhere in search of business and development ground to halt. Almost 200 years later, the absence of any major surge of economic activity or infrastructural development has kept Falmouth suspended in time. Today the town is celebrated for the largest and best preserved collection of Georgian buildings in the Caribbean.
RETURN TO THE GLORY DAYS
Royal Caribbean Cruise and the Port Authority of Jamaica agree that Falmouth is a regional treasure and deserves a place of honor. Together, the entities have embarked on a project to return the town to its former glory. Falmouth has been selected to be the first-ever thematic cruise port destination. The Historic Falmouth Cruise Port re-awakens the faces and places of the past for a one of a kind travel experience in a 32-acre living museum.
As was the case when it was founded in 1769, the master plan for the transformation of the area is meticulous. Pedestrian walks lined with Georgian buildings recreate Falmouth’s days as a colorful and bustling trade centre. Costumed guides and merchants transport visitors back in time to the colonial era. The Falmouth experience extends to memorable tours of historic sites along with natural and recreational attractions in the surrounding areas, fine dining and exciting shopping opportunities.
The Historic Falmouth Cruise Port hosts Royal Caribbean’s Genesis Line of cruise ships; among the largest passenger vessels in the world. Its Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas carry over 6,000 passengers and 1,500 crew members. The ships visit Falmouth on their Caribbean itinerary several times a year.