Most of the Blue Bay Travel cruise and stay packages start in Miami, and our recent Miami shenanigans stand testament to the city’s huge character. It’s a great way to kick off the action, but the adventure really begins when you board your Carnival Cruise and take to the high seas for some quintessential island hopping.
We’re currently at sea on the Carnival Breeze sampling our exclusive Triple Centre Miami-Caribbean Cruise & Stay, filming some videos for our InFocus catalogue. On this route your first port of call will be Falmouth in Jamaica, ushering in your first glimpses of the Caribbean. These here words are our live reports from the field. It’s really quite exiting.
Many places in Jamaica have made it into the common parlance of UK Holidaymakers (Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Negril and the like), celebrated on the back of modern transatlantic tourism. They’re renowned for their big personalities; for the colour, music, and style that we see as synonymous with the Jamaican identity.
But in Falmouth the yam-sellers still call. The streets are offset with the milky whites of English-colonial limestone. The smell of sugar-cane and fried fruits fills the market squares. Falmouth remembers right in its bones what it means to be Jamaican, all the way back to the emancipation.
In 2011 Falmouth became the site of a brand new cruise port, packed with modern restaurants and shops just for cruise-goers. You might think that the introduction of such new-age tourism would begin to erode Falmouth’s authenticity, but somewhat bucking the trend Falmouth has piggybacked this wave of popularity to new and great heights. We’ve found Falmouth to be one of the best ways to absorb the Jamaican lifestyle, and it’s a star inclusion in any cruise itinerary. So, we should probably back up that claim with some evidence.
Make the most of Falmouth in a day
Taking a leaf right out of the Carnival Cruise Lines excursions book, there are a number of fantastic things you can do to make the most of Falmouth — even if you only have the whirlwind romance of a single day:
1. Explore the 18th-Century waterfront village
Falmouth was one of the busiest export ports during the colonial roots of Jamaica, and the wealth gleaned from sugar, rum, coffee and molasses aided the construction of fabulous Georgian architecture. What’s reassuring about disembarking at Falmouth is the feeling that you’ve arrived in a genuine, grass-roots Caribbean community off the edges of the tourist maps. Just strolling through the village at your leisure is a wonderful window into Jamaican life, and the colonialism that started the modern Caribbean. There are a number of walking tours to help you experience a cross-section of things fundamental to the foundations of Falmouth, so it’s a good job the region is best explored on the hoof.
2. Discover Dunn’s River Falls
One of Jamaica’s most iconic attractions is just down the road from Falmouth: the world renowned Dunn’s River Falls. Descending the running-river steps of the waterfall has become a rite of passage for those who find themselves in Jamaica. Most waterfalls are primarily a natural wonder enjoyed from a distance, but Dunn’s River Falls is a far more visceral experience. The waterfall runs over natural rocks that form a staircase that’s easily traversable by the average holidaymaker, and the standard tour walks you down through the cascades. The shade of the rainforest canopy and the earthen mineral tang of the water make this outing an immersive adventure, as you discover the lay of the land from the inside out. Just make sure you bring some swimwear; waterfalls tend to be quite wet.
3. See the sea at Jacob Taylor Beach
Jamaica has a bit of a reputation for excellent beachfronts, often typified by Seven Mile beach in the environs of Negril. Falmouth, however, has it’s own beautiful beach tucked away on its shoreline: Jacob Tyler Beach. Jacob Tyler Beach has the turquoise waters and powdery sands the leaflets bring us to expect of Jamaica, but it also has all the charm and charisma of a classic Fisherman’s town. Yes, you can relax on the beach and soak up the sun in classic fly-and-flop style, but there are also local shops just up from the sand where entrepreneurs ply their trades with a welcoming (un-pushy) character. There’s an unprecedented sense of community at Jacob Tyler Beach, and you’ll love just watching the boats come and go with a cocktail in hand.
The Story Goes On
The best thing about this cruise is your ability to make a brand new story with each island you discover. This might be the curtain call for the Jamaica chapter, but tomorrow brings a whole new narrative in Grand Caymen. I hear there’ll be stingrays, so come back tomorrow for more port-to-port backstage access!