Montego Bay, Jamaica
Reggae, jerk cuisine and a bit of black magic
Christopher Columbus anchored his ships in Montego Bay in 1494 when he discovered Jamaica on his way from Cuba, naming the bay “Golfo de Buen Tiempo,” or “Fair Weather Gulf.” It wasn’t until 1655 that Montego Bay, today Jamaica’s second-largest city, came under British rule. Those influences are still evident in the city’s colorful British colonial architecture, including St. James Parish Church, and along the city’s cobblestone streets, which bear the secrets of the island’s slavery past at Sam Sharpe Square and the Cage, a prison for runaway slaves. Today, the city center is dominated by Gloucester Avenue, the main street or “Hip Strip,” replete with souvenir shops, bars and locals touting their wares.
Arriving on an MSC Caribbean and Antilles cruise to Jamaica’s northwest coast, explore Jamaica like a local on one of our MSC excursions. Our Go Native tour lets you follow the rhythm of reggae, observe endemic flora and fauna, enjoy a typical Jamaican meal, and unwind on a picture-postcard beach.
Or take an MSC excursion to Doctor's Cave, one of the most beautiful beaches on the island that was believed in the 1920 to have waters with curative powers. Named after an old entrance through a cave and the bathing club of doctors who used to frequent it, the beach boasts beautiful white sand, majestic palm trees, and crystal-clear water sheltered from the currents.
As you may have heard, Jamaica is the home of jerk. For a mouthwatering culinary adventure, bring your appetite as you taste your way through three restaurants and quench the heat with Jamaica's local brews on an MSC excursion that, in addition to the jerk tastings, includes a visit to the Harbour Street Craft Market, a rum punch mixology class and a catamaran sunset sail around the harbor.
Or let us take you on a thrilling adventure through the Rose Hall Mansion, where stories of witchcraft, black magic, murder and slaves exacting revenge on their masters abound at the Great House, one of the old manor houses of the sugar lords. Rose Hall, an 18th-century Georgian-Jamaican style mansion belonging to the Palmer family, sits on a hilltop, offering a fantastic panoramic view of the entire coast. The house is believed to be haunted by the ghost of Annie Palmer, the White Witch of Rose Hall, who murdered her four husbands and numerous slaves working on the surrounding sugar plantation.