Jamaica Turns Away a Cruise Ship: Is the Tourism Industry Affected by COVID-19?

It is quite clear that the coronavirus (COVID-19) is having an impact on the travel industry. Yesterday a cruise ship, the MSC Meraviglia, was turned away from the Jamaican cruise port of Ocho Rios. Subsequently it was denied access by the Cayman Islands. It has, however, been given permission to dock in Cozumel, Mexico this evening (Wednesday, February 26). Below is the official statement from the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

Tourism officials seem to have gone quiet, since Tourism Minister Ed Bartlett said over three weeks ago that Jamaica was just fine, open for business, etc. But if people don’t want to travel then surely tourism must be taking a bit of a hit. Is it really still ‘Jamaica, no problem’?

A friend who flew to Kingston recently said the flight was not full. The non-arrival of a huge cruise ship must have had an economic impact on attractions around Ocho Rios that the passengers are usually transported to – not to mention craft vendors, taxi drivers and others. There has already been a major fallout in tourist arrivals, not only in Asia but also Europe – including France, one of the biggest destination countries in the world, which is experiencing a 30 – 40 percent drop.

Meanwhile, there will be another COVID-19 update tomorrow morning (Thursday, February 27). So we shall see what’s what…


KINGSTON, JAMAICA: February 25, 2020: A cruise line with over 4,500 passengers and over 1,600 crew members was today (Tuesday, February 25, 2020) denied access to the port of call in Ocho Rios, St. Ann. The vessel arrived at approximately 8:30 a.m. and upon inspection by the Port Health Officials, it was discovered that a crew member was placed in isolation on board. The crew member had a cough, fever and associated muscle pains with a travel history to a country of interest relating to the COVID-19.

The MSC Meraviglia, a huge cruise ship that was turned away at Ocho Rios port yesterday.

4 thoughts on “Jamaica Turns Away a Cruise Ship: Is the Tourism Industry Affected by COVID-19?

  1. Dear Emma,

    Well, we are coming! Hopefully not to be turned away. I arrive Tuesday night March 3. My group will be working at Orange Street Wednesday and Thursday. Friday is to be determined, possibly back at Orange Street, possibly the Jamaica Archives in Spanish Town. Most of us leave Kingston Saturday March 7. My pipe dream was to squeeze in a hike in Cockpit Country but that will have to be for another time . . . maybe with you?! We are staying at Alhambra Inn, up by the National Stadium. Would love to see you! Oh! Ross is having a book launch Thursday March 5 at 6:00pm at Red Bones Restaurant, R Hotel. We will all be there. Join us?

    I just received my special order copy of Orlando Patterson’s _The Confounding Island_. I intend to start reading it on the plane. Did I send you the recent New Yorker book review on Vincent Brown’s new book, _Tacky’s Rebellion_? Elsewhere, I’ve been reading about Brown’s work and I think he is hitting on some of the lessons about history in Jamaica/the African Diaspora that you’ve taught me. Maybe we’ll have a chance to talk about it next week. I’m on WhatsApp and text 917 703-9217.


    Rachel Frankel, AIA

    Rachel Frankel Architecture

    10 Park Avenue

    New York, NY 10016

    tel 212 683-1067

    fax 212 683-6150



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