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Archives for January 2012

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New Ferry Service for the Eastern Caribbean

I used to feel a little envious when my aunt would talk about the island hopping she and her friends did when they were at the University of the West Indies. Back then, the best way to travel among the islands was by boat. The trip she talks about often took place the year she graduated. She and some of her class mates decided to accompany those from different islands who were returning home. Whenever they reached the island home of a member of their group, they disembarked and did that until they arrived at their last stop, Port of Spain in Trinidad & Tobago.

My aunt never revealed what they did while they were on board or after they disembarked, but from the smile on her face when she tells the story now, I know they had a blast.

Unfortunately, that service ceased operating in the 70s.

Now, a new service, announced by Trinidad & Tobago’s Transport Minister Devant Maharaj is set to launch later this year and will be based in Port of Spain. It will be operated by a Barbadian consortium, Fast Ferry Ltd.

The  first phase would connect the islands of Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados. Ferries would leave Port of Spain, at 6:00 a.m. and arrive in Bridgetown, Barbados, its last stop, at 6:00 p.m.

The proposed average price of tickets for Trinidadian citizens would be between US$25 and US$35, however, 100,000 seats, priced at $10, would be available annually.

The company has announced that additional routes will be added when they achieve commercial viability.

Photo from the Internet

The service will join already established ferry services that make travel within the US and British Virgin Islands, and the Bahamas possible. There is no ferry service connecting the larger islands – Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.



Soulful Sundays: Marcia Griffiths

Marcia Griffiths was born in Kingston in 1949. She started singing professionally in 1964 but became an international sensation in 1989 when a deejay in Washington, DC began playing a little song she recorded seven years earlier. The Electric Boogie, with its infectious, feel-good rhythms, spawned a new line dance, the Electric Slide, which still draws young and old to dance floors at weddings, family reunions and parties. It was featured in movies, The Best Man (1999), and on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

Marcia Griffiths, photo from the Internet

Marcia Griffiths, photo from the Internet

Griffiths was also part of the I-Threes, the trio of accomplished women, Judy Mowatt and Rita Marley, who provided back-up vocals for Bob Marley from 1974 until the singer’s death in 1981.

Griffiths has sang with the legendary band, Byron Lee & the Dragonaires and had a long collaboration with another gifted Jamaican artist, Bob Andy, with whom she recorded, Young, Gifted and Black.

In recognition of her contribution to reggae music, the Jamaican Government awarded Griffiths an Order of Distinction in 2002.

Griffiths, who has 14 albums to her credit, continues to perform. She recently performed on opening night at this year’s Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival.




Travel Photo Thursday: My Ship Has Come In

One of the things I look forward to each week is watching the cruise ships as they pull into Montego Freeport.  On Wednesdays, its usually a ship from Carnival’s fleet. On Thursdays, it’s one from another fleet, like Royal Caribbean or MSC Cruises.

To my surprise today, two Carnival ships, the Conquest, and the Magic – the newest Carnival ship to stop in Montego Bay – have come in. The Magic can accommodate 6,000 – 4,500 passengers and 1,400 crew; the Conquest 2,974 passengers and 1,150 crew.

Carnival Magic and Conquest in Montego Freeport

Carnival Magic and Conquest, Montego Freeport

One of four cruise ship ports on Jamaica’s north coast, Montego Freeport was built in the 1960s on what was known then as the Bogue Islands. It has berths for 2 cruise ships. Ocho Rios, Port Antonio and Falmouth, which opened in 2011, are the other three ports.

Carnival Magic and Conquest in Montego Freeport

Carnival Magic and Conquest, Montego Freeport

Carnival Magic and Conquest in Montego Freeport

Carnival Magic and Conquest, Montego Freeport

Carnival Magic and Conquest, Montego Freeport

Carnival Magic and Conquest, Montego Freeport

This is my submission to this week’s Budget Travelers Sandbox Travel Photo Thursday series. Be sure to check out other photo and story entries on their website!

Celine Dion Headlines the Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival 2012

This week, all roads will lead to the Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival which is set to start tomorrow, January 26th and run until January 28th at Greenfield Stadium in Trelawny.

Headliner Celine Dion, who’s performing for the first time in the Caribbean, The Voice’s Cee Lo Green, Earl Klugh, The Temptations Review, featuring Dennis Edwards, Heads of State (Bobby Brown, Johnny Gill, Ralph Tresvant), Shaggy, Etana, Marcia Griffiths, John Holt, Yellow Man, Destra and Damian Marley are among those who are scheduled to perform

In tribute to the celebration of Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of independence, general admission tickets on opening night will be $50 for a single event. On Friday, $100; $80 on Saturday. Weekend passes are $175. The $250 season pass ticket gets you in for all events.

Getting There:

Greenfield Stadium is located about an hour’s drive from Montego Bay. Jazz Shuttle & Taxi Service is available from most hotels.

The Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival, Greenfield Stadium, January 26-28, 2012.