On Live Voyage Reports: Cruising Cuba – Arrival In Jamaica

Relax, Mon – you’re in Jamaica now!

by Aaron Saunders

The sun sets this evening over Montego Bay, Jamaica. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders
The sun sets this evening over Montego Bay, Jamaica. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

I must have been tired when my flight from Toronto touched down this afternoon at Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport, because I spent most of my time in the immigration line for Jamaican customs trying to re-imagine the questions I might be asked:

“Tell me about Jamaica in a single sentence without mentioning Bob Marley, rum, or anything Rastafarian.”

I had a lot of time to think because I de-planed my flight from Toronto to find an immigration line that snaked around the entire room. To say there were close to a thousand passengers all queued up would not have been an exaggeration.

My Air Canada rouge Boeing 767-300 at the gate at Montego Bay's Sangster International Airport. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders
My Air Canada rouge Boeing 767-300 at the gate at Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The truth is Jamaica is an island paradise with an enormously rich cultural history. For an island that barely spans four thousand square miles (or eleven thousand square kilometres), its contributions to the rest of the world have been enormous. Appleton Rum. Jerk food. Bob Barley. Reggae. Red Stripe Beer. Blue Mountain Coffee. The list goes on.

Acclaimed author Fleming – Ian Fleming – who penned the original James Bond novels lived here, repeatedly using the island as a setting for his books. Unlike the famous 007, I’m not here to foil some dastardly plot. Instead, I’m here in Montego Bay to cruise to another, equally-fascinating country: I’m going to embark my cruise to Cuba tomorrow aboard Cuba Cruise’s Louis Cristal.

Because Cuba Cruise is a Canadian-based company – and because I can only assume a majority of the passengers will, like me, be Canadian – it seems only logical to talk about how I got to Montego Bay in the first place.

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