Some large cruise ships may be banned from sailing in Antarctic waters starting next year. The International Maritime Organization has adopted a ban on the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil in those waters, starting Aug. 1, 2011.
More than a half-dozen cruise lines that carry more than 500 passengers may be affected by the rule. Princess Cruises, Oceania and Regent say that 2010 will be the last season they visit the frozen continent. Holland America, however, said it plans to continue its cruises there, switching to lighter marine fuel. Celebrity Cruises says that if it’s required, it will modify its practices to meet the new standard. Other lines are formulating their plans.
Many smaller ships will still operate Antarctic cruises. These ships can land passengers on the continent itself, 100 maximum at a time ; larger ships are not permitted to offload any passengers.
NEW JAMAICAN PORT
A new cruise port is nearing completion in Falmouth, Jamaica. Known as Historic Falmouth Port, the facility will be able to berth an Oasis-class ship (the world’s biggest) and a Freedom-class ship simultaneously.
The port, being built by Royal Caribbean Cruises and the Port Authority of Jamaica, will offer a mix of retail and restaurant venues as well as a residential area, all to be completed during 2011. The first Royal Caribbean ship to call at the new port will be Navigator of the Seas, on a sailing from Port Everglades Jan. 3.
Falmouth, located on the North Coast between Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, was a major rum and slave trade port in the 18th century.
Some of the original Georgian structures are being restored.