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Bermuda's 2020 Cruise Ship Schedule of Calls

 They usually begin in January with most in high-season warmer months of April through October

By Keith Archibald Forbes (see About Us) exclusively for Bermuda Online

line drawing

Cruise ship at Bermuda's main cruise port, King's Wharf, Dockyard. Bermuda Tourism Authority photo. There are two other Bermuda ports for smaller cruise ships.


    Cruise visitors exploring Bermuda

    Cruise visitors exploring Bermuda;

2020 Schedule. See Bermuda Government's official 2020 cruise ship schedule at http://www.marops.bm/Documents/Shipping_schedules/2020%20Cruise%20Ship%20Schedule.pdf. It shows where and when in Bermuda each ship will dock, in chronological order, with time of arrival and departure; which one of Bermuda's three ports will apply; Bermuda port agents for each ship and more.

Since 1966, there has not been a regularly-scheduled passenger shipping service to Bermuda. From that time on, ships serving Bermuda year-round  from both the USA and elsewhere in the world have been freight-only vessels. However, there are seasonal cruise ships to and from Bermuda, mostly from/to US ports. 

Note that the months of January through March are Bermuda's off-season and colder months - not as cold as the Eastern USA or UK or Europe but appreciably colder than in the Caribbean 900 miles to the south of Bermuda. Cruises to Bermuda occur mostly in Bermuda's high season, from April through October, Bermuda's warmest and most humid months. Larger cruise ships dock at the former (civilianized for decades) Royal Navy Dockyard at the western end of Bermuda, the only dock area that can handle them, at either the King's Wharf or the Heritage Wharf adjacent. Smaller cruise ships only can dock at  City of Hamilton and Town of St. George. Many of the cruises operate via Bermuda-incorporated companies/corporations.  

Latest news

2020. March 16. Caribbean Journal reported that Richard Branson’s new cruise line, Virgin Voyages, has announced the “proactive” postponement of its official launch until July, in light of the novel coronavirus.  The launch of the adults-only cruise brand’s Scarlet Lady cruise ship is now scheduled to take place July 15, according to a statement from Virgin Voyages.  That will kick off a showcase tour, after which the first-ever Virgin Voyages cruise to the Caribbean out of Miami is slated to take place on Aug. 7, 2020.  “Virgin has always championed our customers and, most importantly, listened to them. With those principles in mind and based on your feedback, our team has made the very difficult decision to postpone,” Branson and Virgin Voyages CEO Tom McAlpin said in a joint statement.  “We want to make this change as convenient and fair as possible. So we are offering a range of options from a full refund and a voyage credit to extra special bonuses if you book a future sailing. The choice is entirely up to our Sailors, as it should be,” Branson and McAlpin said. Scarlet Lady, which was slated to launch this month, is the first of a cruise ship pipeline that includes plans for three other new cruise ships. 

2020. March 14. Norwegian Cruise Line announced “suspension of all cruise voyages embarking between March 13 and April 11, 2020 for its three cruise brands”.

2020. March 13. A total of three cruise lines have suspended visits to Bermuda in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, it was revealed tonight. The Ministry of Tourism and Transport said that Norwegian Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean, and Ponant Cruises for the ship have suspended cruises. Following the announcement that NCL has voluntarily suspended all cruise voyages between March 13 and April 11, a spokesman for the tourism ministry said that seven cruises scheduled to travel to Bermuda have effectively been suspended. Ponant Cruises also suspended its April 29 visit. Although Bermuda is not scheduled to receive Royal Caribbean ships until April 22, the line has suspended service for 30 days. The Azamara Pursuit, part of a Royal Caribbean affiliate brand, was cancelled for April 8. Zane DeSilva, the tourism minister, said: “In light of the monumental impact of Covid-19, the suspension of cruise ship travel was inevitable. Such decisions are among the many that governments and organizations will make as we continue working toward containing the global spread of Covid-19. Unfortunately, this will have an impact on a number of businesses that would normally service the cruise lines and cruise passengers. I would urge residents to support our local community during these difficult times. ” The cruise ship schedule will be updated on a regular basis and can be viewed at http://www.marops.bm/Documents/Shipping_schedules/2020%20Cruise%20Ship%20Schedule.pdf

2020. March 12. Three cruise lines cease all services. See https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/cruises/articles/is-cruise-industry-in-real-trouble-over-coronavirus/.

2020. March 12. Carnival cruise lines announced it had suspended operations of its Princess Cruises, which does not visit Bermuda, until May 10. A cruise that was due to include a stop in Bermuda later this month has been cancelled, its operators said yesterday. The Divina, operated by MSC Cruises, was scheduled to arrive at Dockyard on March 26 for a 24-hour visit. A spokeswoman for the cruise line said: “MSC Cruises has revised its itineraries for its ships, that were due to call at Italian ports in connection with the Italian Government’s decision on March 9 to introduce further strict measures that have impacted the country as the Covid-19 coronavirus public health emergency continues to evolve. Some ship itineraries have changed up until April 3, the date set by the Italian Government for emergency coronavirus measures, and in some instances beyond this date.” A government spokesman, however, said they had not received any notification about the cancellation. The spokesman said: “MCS has not officially released the Bermuda space for March 26 to 27 at this time. The Ministry of Tourism and Transport has not received any cruise ship cancellations affecting April’s cruise ship schedule.” Divina was the only ship scheduled to dock in Bermuda this month, with the next expected on April 3. The MSC Cruises website showed that the ship’s itinerary was to sail from Miami to New York, from where it would travel to Bermuda before going on to Europe, with a stop at Ponta Delgada in the Azores. The Divina was expected to have 4,203 passengers and 1,751 crew.

2020. March 10. The global spread of the coronavirus epidemic could affect the island’s tourism business, the Bermuda Tourism Authority said yesterday. However, Stephen Todd, the deputy chairman of the BTA, said it was “early days and too difficult to predict” what impact the outbreak could have on Bermuda. Mr Todd was speaking after the United States and Canadian governments warned their citizens to avoid cruise ship travel A total of 22 ships are scheduled visit Bermuda next month, with 24 in May and 23 in June. Mr Todd said the BTA was liaising with the cruise industry, mostly through its New York office. He added: “There clearly is concern for them right now. It’s difficult to measure.” A spokesman for the tourism and transport ministry said yesterday that cruise ships that want to dock in Bermuda will be assessed before being allowed to tie up. The ministry spokesman said Bermuda remained free of the Covid-19 illness. He added: “So yes, there is a possibility that cruise lines may contact the Department of Marine and Ports requesting Bermuda be included in their cruise itinerary.” He said officials would “gauge the safety of each vessel entering our waters and decide whether to allow entry”. All other ships that plan to dock in Bermuda will have to meet the same standards. The tourism ministry spokesman said the Government “continues working to fine-tune our plan”. The epidemic had claimed nearly 4,000 lives and infected more than 110,000 worldwide by last night. The US Department of State on Sunday warned its citizens, “particularly travellers with underlying health conditions”, not to take cruises. The department said that the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention had highlighted an “increased risk of infection of Covid-19 in a cruise ship environment”. Canada’s top doctor issued a similar warning yesterday. Theresa Tam, the Chief Public Health Officer, said Canadians should “avoid all cruise ship travel due to Covid-19”. Dr Tam agreed with the US that the virus could spread fast on cruise ships “due to the close contact between passengers”. Mr Todd said the outbreak had “already impacted islands to our south — this would be considered their high season”. Bermuda’s cruise season runs from April to November, with one ship, the Divina, scheduled to arrive in Dockyard from New York on March 26. Mr Todd added: “In Bermuda, there is heightened activity at our borders for cruise ships and at the airport. But to the credit of our cruise partners, they have taken as many precautionary steps as they can.” The island got a visit from Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas cruise ship last month after a long quarantine in New Jersey in the wake of suspected Covid-19 cases on an earlier cruise having led to the cancellation of its Bahamas voyage. All the passengers were later given the all-clear. Yesterday, the Bermuda Government issued a guidance document for hotels, guesthouses and Airbnb operators. The Ministry of Health said last Friday the Covid-19 threat was being included in plans for the coming cruise season. A spokeswoman said all cruise lines that visited Bermuda had forwarded their passenger screening policies. International regulations require ships to provide a Declaration of Health form to the Bermuda Government at least 24 hours before arrival.

2020. March 9. 

2020. March 7.  The Bermuda Government said tonight it had been planning for the cruise ship season in view of the threat from the virus. It stated “All cruise ship lines serving Bermuda have been contacted and they have shared their individual policies for the health screening of passengers.” David Kendell, the Director of the Department of Health, explained: “By liaising closely with shipping agents, government personnel are preparing for the planned arrival of all cruise ships to the island. Under the International Health Regulations, all ships must forward a Declaration of Health form to the Department of Health which must be received at least 24 hours before the ship’s arrival. The declaration will detail any instances of infectious diseases on-board and lists any previous ports of call. By having this information in advance we can make decisions based on risk assessments and in line with the International Health Regulations as to whether or not we need to intervene in any way. We also carry out full inspections of cruise ships on request in order to issue Ship Sanitation Certificates.” 

2020. February 15. Bermuda recorded its highest tourism numbers last year, but visitor air arrivals dropped by 6 per cent. The increase to more than 808,240 tourists was fuelled by a record 535,561 cruise ship passengers, up 51,222 on the previous year, or 10.6 per cent. Air arrivals, however, fell by 12,280 from 203,697 to 191,417 over the same period, although the Bermuda Tourism Authority highlighted it was still the second-highest air arrival figure since 2006. There was a total of 770,683 tourists in 2018. Total visitor spending last year increased by $6.5 million or 1.6 per cent to $417.5 million. Kevin Dallas, the chief executive of the BTA, said the authority predicted a drop in air numbers at the start of last year. He added: “On the upside, our long-view gains were more robust than anticipated, so the industry and all of Bermuda should feel upbeat about that. Sustained double-digit growth in air arrivals and spending through 2018 positioned us well to respond to short-term challenges and we continue to see green shoots fuelling the island’s tourism resurgence. Investors, for example, are showing clear confidence in our tourism product, which is moving the island strategically towards growth.” Bermuda Tourism Authority figures for 2019 showed a 5 per cent drop in air capacity after two airlines cut flights from New York. Flight schedules from Boston were also reduced. The BTA report said the total number of tourist arrivals was up 4.9 per cent year on year, and that 2019 marked the third consecutive year with record-breaking numbers. Mr Dallas added airlift capacity was expected to fall more this year, which could hit growth prospects. He said a decline over the past 12 years in business travel and people visiting friends and family in Bermuda contributed to difficulties in getting enough airline service. Mr Dallas added: “Achieving strong airlift demands growth in all our markets; leisure travel, business travel, friends and relatives travel and residents travel. It’s a delicate balance and when one or more of these sectors suffers, especially in non-summer months, it hurts the overall picture. Bermuda is in a far better position to attract more capacity when we have growth across the board.” Mr Dallas said that air capacity was a “worldwide challenge”, but the BTA had joined forces with the Government and airport operators Skyport to hire air service development consultants. He added: “Global competition remains fierce. Maintaining our strongest air routes and building on already established relationships with key airlines will be critical to our success.” The BTA report said that the biggest growth in cruise ship arrivals happened outside the traditional summer peak months. It added, the 15 per cent growth in the off season showed the authority’s strategy of using cruise travel to boost numbers for winter, spring and autumn had worked. January and February 2019 both saw major increases in cruise ship arrivals; 8,253 cruise ship visitors came to the island in those two months in 2019 compared to just 602 in the year before. November also saw an increase in cruise ship passengers, from 18,620 to 28,155, but that increase was countered by a decrease from 7,996 to 872 in December. The BTA said there were several other potential sources of tourism growth. The body highlighted the new airport terminal and hotel projects, such as Azura Bermuda and the Bermudiana Beach Resort/Tapestry Collection by Hilton, both Warwick and the St Regis hotel development in St George’s. The BTA said the recently announced sales of the Fairmont Southampton and the St George’s Club showed investor confidence in the tourism industry. The report added the BTA will continue to promote the island through media collaborations and multiyear partnerships with the US Open, the PGA Tour and the Clipper Round the World Race. New legislation designed to encourage superyachts to spend more time in Bermuda also came into force this year. Mr Dallas said the national tourism plan would continue to guide the work of the BTA in the long term. He added: “It continues to engage Bermuda stakeholders and point a collaborative way forward — from infrastructure improvements to greater year-round visitor balance and greener, more sustainable approaches. That should keep us all focused on fruitful longer gains amid near-term challenges.”

2020. February 13. A cruise ship re-routed to Bermuda after a scare over a deadly coronavirus strain delayed its scheduled trip to the Bahamas tied up in Dockyard yesterday. Minibus operators waiting for the Anthem of the Seas said taxi numbers in Dockyard were down despite reassurances the virus, which had claimed more than 1,100 lives, was not on board. One driver said “a lot of people were scared” earlier this week. But he added: “They’re not going to send a boat to Bermuda with sick people.” Passengers coming ashore at Heritage Wharf from the Royal Caribbean liner included Zane DeSilva, the Minister of Tourism and Transport, who boarded the ship at 4.30am from a pilot boat as the vessel neared the island. Mr DeSilva said the mood on the ship was “fantastic”. He added: “People are glad to be here. No one had any concerns. Our concern is for our people, and I am confident the US health officials have done their job.” Mr DeSilva added: “I am disappointed with a lot of the social-media posts about this ship that were based on misinformation.” He said he “did not think” the Covid-19 outbreak, which has hit several cruise ships worldwide, would hurt cruise business to Bermuda. Mr DeSilva added: “Most people will cruise like these folks have done. Health officials have done what they have to do.” In a statement, Mr DeSilva said “all fears have been put to rest” and said staff on the ship had “gone above and beyond the norm”. Carnival Cruise Lines announced yesterday that travel bans on ports in China, where the outbreak originated in Wuhan province, would affect cruises elsewhere in Asia and hit its financial performance. The MS Westerdam, a Holland America Line ship, was given permission to dock by Cambodia yesterday after five other countries turned it away over fears one of its passengers might have the illness. Boeing also warned that the drop in air traffic to Asia would have an impact on deliveries of new aircraft in the first quarter of this year. The Anthem of the Seas, with a capacity of 4,825 passengers and crew, was scheduled to cruise from New Jersey to Florida and the Bahamas. A couple from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania said “a lot of people bailed” after the cruise shortened and switched to Bermuda. The man said: “We weren’t expecting to be here, but we’re just glad to be somewhere.” His wife added: “It’s probably better than most cruises we’ve been on — they treated us great.” The ship was held up last week in its home port of Bayonne, New Jersey, as four passengers on board an earlier cruise were tested and later cleared of infection with the new coronavirus strain. Passengers for the trip to Bermuda were allowed on board on Sunday. The ship is scheduled to leave Bermuda for New Jersey at 3.30pm today.

2020. February 12. The tourism minister will board a ship at the centre of a scare over a deadly strain of coronavirus when it arrives today. Zane DeSilva, the Minister of Tourism and Transport, said he would get on the Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas from a pilot boat before it arrived in port to help alleviate public concerns. Mr DeSilva said: “Recently there has been much speculation and misinformation surrounding the Anthem of the Seas arrival in Bermuda. In efforts to put to rest any lingering doubt or uncertainty around the safety of this ship, I will board and journey with all passengers and crew into Dockyard and be the first to set foot in Bermuda. They say actions speak louder than words and, so, I hope that my actions will be heard by all and we will know that the ship, its crew and passengers are safe, the Government has taken the necessary precautions and Bermuda has nothing to fear.” The Anthem of the Seas made international headlines after four passengers on an earlier cruise were taken to hospital last week amid fears they might have the potential killer coronavirus strain. However, tests, confirmed by the US Centres for Disease Control, later showed none of the passengers had the virus. Bermuda’s Ministry of Health and port authorities have said they are prepared for the ship’s visit. Dragan Pavkovic, the manager of Dockyard’s Frog & Onion Pub and Restaurant, said he and his staff had no fears over the visit. He added: “It’s created unnecessary drama; people get jumpy as soon as they hear somebody is sick. They had a few sick passengers, they tested them, they proved negative on the coronavirus and life goes on.” He added that the staff were on good terms with crew members and looked forward to welcoming them. Mr Pavkovic said: “We’ve had parties for them, so I’m sure those crew members are very happy to come to Bermuda. It’s unfortunate for the passengers that they couldn’t go to the Bahamas because they’re delayed, but I think it’s fortunate for us.” He added that the restaurant was geared up for an influx of customers. Mr Pavkovic said: “It’s been a quiet season, so it’s going to be a little wake-up call. We have to be on our game the whole year. It’ll just be another day in the office.” A spokeswoman for the operators of Dockyard Glassworks and the Bermuda Rum Cake Company admitted that staff had some concerns about potential risk of sickness after the scare in its home port of Bayonne, New Jersey. The spokeswoman added: “You have to trust your government. If it’s clear, it’s clear.” She said: “It’s in the back of your mind, but we just have to trust what we have to trust.” A colleague at The Dockyard Glassworks added: “We’ll take our own safety precautions, but I don’t want anybody to panic over it. We shouldn’t be panicking about this, not if it’s a non-event. People don’t need that kind of stress.” The virus, which first appeared in Wuhan, China, has killed more than 1,000 people and infected more than 42,000 in the country. A total of 27 countries have recorded cases of the new coronavirus strain.

2020. February 11. A cruise ship due to dock in Bermuda after it was at the centre of a scare over a deadly strain of coronavirus is no more a threat than any other vessel, the health minister said yesterday. Kim Wilson said that no passengers or crew on the New Jersey-based Anthem of the Seas had been found to have the new 2019-nCoV coronavirus and that four passengers who became ill had been cleared of infection by the strain. Armell Thomas, a senior environmental health officer, confirmed that ferry pilots had “aired concerns and opinions” over the transportation of cruise ship passengers. Mr Thomas added: “They were very concerned because they are on the front line; they are satisfied at this time.” Cheryl Peek-Ball, the Chief Medical Officer, said people concerned over the potential importation of the virus “will know almost as soon as we know”. She added: “We are not in the business of keeping back information about public safety. Information that comes in to us has to be verified and digested before it is sent out. It’s very important that social media not get ahead of the actual facts and evidence.” Dr Peek-Ball admitted that screening at ports or at the airport required people to volunteer information about their previous travel and possible exposure. She said: “We have to accept we are relying on people to be open and transparent with us.” She was speaking as the Government acted to allay fears over the virus, which first appeared in Wuhan, China, and has killed more than 900 people in the country and infected more than 40,000. The Royal Caribbean cruise liner was held up in its home port of Bayonne over the weekend as it prepared to travel to the Bahamas. The ship’s departure was delayed because four passengers became ill and the destination was changed to Bermuda. Ms Wilson emphasised that the decision to reroute the vessel to Bermuda was taken to “provide a better experience for passengers whose cruise time was shortened” because of the delay. She added: “This was simply a logistical decision taken by the cruise line and rumors to the contrary should be ignored.” After tests, confirmed by the US Centres for Disease Control, it was found that one of the sick passengers had influenza. Different times have been given in news reports on the incubation period for the new coronavirus. But Dr Peek-Ball said: “The fact is, it appears that until you’re having symptoms, until you start getting sick, you do not pose a risk to others.” Travellers arriving in Bermuda will undergo a travel risk assessment by a health officer, and could have their health monitored and movement on island restricted for up to 14 days. Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, the Shadow Minister of Health, said: “While New Jersey may be comfortable that there are no episodes of the virus in that state at this juncture, the truth is that they really just don’t know, and unfortunately, this is a situation where only time will tell the real story. The confirmation by another jurisdiction as to their health and safety is in no way a guarantee that Bermuda will be protected, and that we have the ability to manage this challenge should even one incident of the coronavirus surface."

2020. February 9. A ship at the centre of a scare over a killer strain of coronavirus is to arrive in Bermuda on Wednesday. Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas had four passengers taken to hospital amid fears they may have the virus after the ship returned to its home port in Bayonne, New Jersey, last Friday. Tests later showed none had the virus. The Ministry of Health and port authorities said this morning they were prepared for the ship’s visit to Dockyard. The ship, scheduled to leave the island on Thursday, was rerouted to Bermuda from its intended trip to the Bahamas because of its delayed departure from New Jersey. A health ministry spokeswoman said: “Bermuda will apply the necessary protocols upon arrival. Residents should be assured that health and port authorities are prepared and equipped to deal with the vessel in accordance with our established protocols. Royal Caribbean has enacted their own stringent protocols with regards to the screening of passengers prior to boarding.” The cruise line said last Friday: “None of the four guests showed any clinical signs or symptoms of coronavirus while they were on-board our ship. One had tested positive on-board for influenza A. Our records indicate the guests had not been in China since January 26 — 14 days ago.” Royal Caribbean added that other passengers had been allowed to disembark as usual, but that the ship had delayed its departure for one day so the cruise line could get “conclusive test results from the US Centers for Disease Control.” Kevin Dallas, the CEO of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, said: “Bermuda benefits from the Anthem’s change of plans, as the ship’s delayed departure from New Jersey - after crew and passengers were cleared by the US Centers for Disease Control - has prompted the cruise line to switch ports and choose the Royal Naval Dockyard for its stopover this week. The island welcomes the passengers and Bermuda offers a fantastic alternative to their previous itinerary. We also encourage cruise business stakeholders to take advantage of this additional winter ship call to extend their excursions and services.” The new strain of coronavirus, which emerged in China, has infected tens of thousands of people in the country. But 270 cases have also been recorded in another 24 nations.

Anthem of the Seas

Cruise ship Anthem of the Seas

2020. January 8. The recently launched Spirit of Discovery cruise ship rang in the new year in Dockyard on its first visit to Bermuda. The ship, operated by Saga Cruises, arrived last Tuesday morning from New York with 506 crew members and 873 passengers for a one-night stay. The ship left the next day for the final leg of its 35-day journey and will end in Southampton in Britain. The Spirit of Discovery was launched on July 10 and was designed for the British market and passengers aged 50 or older. The wheelchair-friendly vessel has 540 staterooms, all with private balconies, four restaurants, several bars and a fitness complex.

2019. November 29. Two cruise lines have pledged to change practices that have hurt Bermuda businesses, the tourism minister said yesterday. Zane DeSilva said that a ministry representative had heard “disparaging” remarks about public transport and the high cost of taxis while she was on a fact-finding mission in July. Mr DeSilva said the exercise had also revealed that photographs not of Bermuda were used to depict the island. He told a press conference that the Ministry of Tourism and Transport had held talks with Royal Caribbean International and Norwegian Cruise Line last month. Mr DeSilva said: “Our cruise partners were alarmed by our findings and apologised and have since taken positive steps to eradicate these practices.” The minister said that the meetings came after two cruises taken by ministry representatives last summer, including one from himself on the Anthem of the Seas in August. He explained that the cruises were taken to investigate allegations that the cruise lines “unfairly influence passenger spending when the vessel is in port through foreign third-party promotional companies”. He added: “These companies who facilitate on-board port and shopping lectures are alleged to favour only shops that advertise in their port shopping guide to the detriment of other Bermudian retailers.” A public access to information request this week revealed extra details on costs associated with Mr DeSilva’s $3,900 trip. A breakdown of the total trip bill on the Government Travel Calendar website showed that air travel had cost $595.30, while ground transportation costs totaled $292.84. Accommodation was $3,000.27. The Pati request showed that Mr DeSilva had flown on a JetBlue return flight to John F Kennedy International Airport, New York, and travelled to the New Jersey port on the day the five-day cruise departed. He returned to New Jersey on the vessel and flew back to Bermuda the day he disembarked. The nearly $300 spent on ground transportation was in the United States alone. The $3,000 spent on accommodation was spent entirely on lodging on the cruise where Mr DeSilva stayed in a balcony cabin “which was the only category available”. Mr DeSilva was accompanied on the trip by Stacey Evans, a technical officer with the ministry. The minister told the press conference yesterday that Ms Evans had highlighted a number of concerns after her trip aboard the Norwegian Escape a month earlier. He said that she had also pointed out “the great emphasis given to sending passengers to just a few shops and restaurants featured on the port shopping map to the wholesale exclusion of other fine establishments who did not advertise”. He said about his trip: “One thing that stood out was the push for passengers to bring their receipts for purchases made on island at the ship’s recommended stores back to the ship in order to get an additional 30-day ship guarantee. This guarantee was not available for merchandise bought in any other establishment on the basis that they could not guarantee the quality of products if they were not purchased at the recommended stores.” He added that he had witnessed the “detrimental effect” on Bermuda businesses who did not advertise with the cruise line. Mr DeSilva said that the fact-finding cruises had given the ministry “a much better idea of how local businesses are impacted by the lack of passenger foot traffic, especially in Hamilton, this despite the significant increase in cruise visitors”. He told the media that 545,000 cruise ship passengers had been forecast to arrive in Bermuda in 2019 — up 53 per cent since 2014. Mr DeSilva said that many retail shops who did not advertise with the cruise lines “generally feel the loss of the cruise ship business that they once enjoyed”. He added: “Many shops have closed, or closed a satellite store location, or downsized their business, particularly in Hamilton.” Mr DeSilva said that “more than” 200 jobs had been lost in the island’s retail sector in the last two years “as a result of enforced redundancies or early retirements”. Mr DeSilva said that the ministry would be meeting with both Royal Caribbean and Norwegian next month for an update. He said that he hoped to see a greater emphasis placed on promoting a wider range of Bermuda retailers. Mr DeSilva added: “They are hiring our Bermudian people. If they lose business, they have to downsize, they have to make folks redundant, or maybe shut down shops. We can’t have that.”

2019. October 26. Theatre fans will be able to cruise to Bermuda next autumn with a glittering cast of Broadway stars as part of a theatre-themed cruise on the Norwegian Pearl. The inaugural Broadway Cruise, set to sail from New York next October, will feature performances by Allan Cumming and fellow Tony Award-winner Laura Benanti. Mr Cumming, who won a Tony for Cabaret, has appeared in a variety of stage and screen productions including the James Bond blockbuster Goldeneye and the hit television show The Good Wife. Ms Benanti won a Tony for her role in Gypsy. They will be joined by Broadway talent from shows including Cabaret, My Fair Lady, School of Rock, Porgy and Bess and Mean Girls. The cruise will also include talks from make-up artists and costume designers, as well as choreographers. Mr Cumming said: “It’s going to be a super-duper Broadway extravaganza. I’m going to be performing twice on the main deck. I’m really, really looking forward to it.” Prices for the Broadway Cruise, which will run from October 10 to 14, start at $995 per person. The presale registration at website TheBroadwayCruise.com.

2019. October 18. The number of people expected to visit Bermuda by cruise ship in 2020 is 1,000 less than the 544,000 predicted for this year. A government announcement this week said that next year’s schedule included “more total calls, more passengers, and more visits distributed throughout the year”. It said an estimated 543,000 cruise ship passengers would visit the island in 2020. The Ministry of Tourism and Transport said last December that the island was expected to host about 544,000 passengers in 2019. A ministry spokesman said this week: “The emphasis is more correctly placed on the total number of calls, an increased distribution of cruise ships throughout the year, and a greater number of stops in smaller ports rather than the specific number.” Hurricane-related cancellations meant that the year-end total was expected to be lower than the earlier prediction. The spokesman explained: “In terms of absolute numbers, as a result of cruise cancellations due to weather conditions, yes, we are likely to be below the projected 544,000. However, we won’t be compiling those stats until the end of the year, when we can take into consideration all the changes that occurred during the year.” The Government said on Sunday: “The total projected number of ship calls for this year fell slightly from 185 to 176 due to eight cancellations during recent hurricane activity in the Atlantic.” No information was given on the remaining call included in the drop in numbers. The Government added that almost 60 per cent of this year’s cruise visitors came during the “non-summer” months from September to May. It said next year’s line-up will continue the “encouraging trend” of extending the season into December. A combination of contract calls and occasional callers brought the total number of cruise ship visits projected in the 2020 schedule to 197. St George’s was expected to take 19 calls — up from 16 this year — with the same number for Hamilton, an increase of six. Figures from the Bermuda Tourism Authority showed more than 484,000 cruise passengers visited in 2018 — a record-breaking year for overall visitor arrivals and which pumped about $505 million into the economy. The first draft of the 2020 cruise ship schedule can be viewed at http://www.marops.bm/shipping_button_link.aspx and is subject to change.

October 16. In September 2020, the Uniformed Services Nurse Advocates Virtual Chapter and the Surviving Spouses Virtual Chapter will host a 6-day, 5-night cruise to Bermuda. They will be exploring the pink sand beaches, pastel-painted estates, military strongholds and enjoy underwater adventures, fine dining and brilliant golf courses. Col. Jeri Graham, USA (Ret), founding member and president of the virtual nurses chapter, decided to organize the Bermuda cruise as a way for the online groups to meet face-to-face. There are 159 cabins available for the Bermuda trip exclusively to MOAA members, family and friends. Reservations start at $429 per person for an inside cabin, with options available for ocean view balconies and suites. All room prices are based on double occupancy. Graham has even established a “hugely successful” Cabin Mate Finder program to help members traveling by themselves to find a roommate for the cruise. To participate, Graham will pair one membere with another MOAA member who has similar interests. The Cabin Mate Finder program can “help people meet other people and help split expenses” for the cruise, Graham said. On at-sea days, Graham plans to hold chapter and advocacy meetings with breakout sessions to discuss MOAA’s key legislative issues. She is also hoping to have a few high-profile speakers as well. “We’ve invited the three surgeons general,” Graham said.

2019. October 15. Bermuda’s cruise-ship schedule for 2020 includes more total calls, more passengers, and more visits distributed throughout the year — including a greater number of stops in the smaller ports of Hamilton and St George’s. A total of 197 cruise-ship calls are projected in the 2020 schedule, comprising 100 contract calls and 97 occasional callers, bringing an estimated 543,000 passengers to the island. Of the occasional calls by non-contract liners, 38 will visit Hamilton and St George’s, while contractual visits by larger liners will make port at the West End’s Royal Naval Dockyard. St George’s is projected to receive 19 calls in 2020, up from 16 this year, and Hamilton will also receive 19 — up from 13 in 2019. The increase is primarily attributed to Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s commitment to bring six additional calls to the island with the Empress of the Seas, which will promote two-port itineraries between St George’s and Hamilton in May, July and August next year with 1,800 passengers per call. “We are delighted with the news of additional calls to St George’s and Hamilton next year, and the ministry in partnership with the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) is working diligently to attract even more calls to these smaller ports in future,” Zane DeSilva, the Minister of Tourism and Transport, said. “In addition, Carnival Cruise Line has committed 28 occasional calls in 2020 from New Jersey, Baltimore and Charleston ports and will attract a range of passengers interested in the diverse pursuits Bermuda offers.” Notably, next year’s cruise ship schedule continues the encouraging trend of extending the season through to December. In 2019, a third of cruise ships visiting Bermuda arrived during springtime months of April, May and June, while nearly a quarter made port here in the months of October, November and December. Overall, the majority (59.7 per cent) of annual cruise visitors arrived in non-summer months of September through May. “We’ve successfully worked with non-contract cruise lines to extend the traditional season with occasional calls through the spring and fall — a strategy which aligns with the goals of the National Tourism Plan,” said Kevin Dallas, chief executive officer of the BTA. “The fact most passengers are now arriving in non-summer months says it all. Greater use of ports in Hamilton and St Georges's, along with less seasonality throughout the year, creates a more sustainable industry.” Bermuda can expect 33 further cruise calls during the remaining months of 2019. The total projected number of ship calls for this year fell slightly from 185 to 176 due to eight cancellations during recent hurricane activity in the Atlantic.

2019. September 3. Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas cruise to Bermuda was cancelled on Saturday after the ship developed mechanical problems. The Baltimore Sun reported Sunday the five-day cruise returned to Baltimore and disembarked passengers. The ship’s maximum capacity of passengers is 2,446. One passenger, Lisa Rinker, of Indianapolis, Indiana, reported the cruise was sold out, and is angered at her family’s treatment. “I feel like we’re being punished because their equipment broke. And that’s not our fault. Now we have to fight just to get home. After all is said and done, I’ll be out close to $1,000 for a trip that didn’t happen.” Rinker said The Grandeur of the Seas never got far from port. Shortly after pulling away from the dock, the ship began moving in circles, she said. At around 8pm Saturday, the captain announced that the cruise had been cancelled. Passengers were told they could choose to leave the boat immediately or remain on board overnight and disembark at 6am Sunday. When passengers returned to their state rooms, they found a letter promising to reimburse them for the cost of the cruise, which, for Rinker and her son, totaled $3,000, and for any items they’d purchased from the company in advance, such as shore excursions. In addition, the company offered to reimburse domestic passengers up to $200 and international passengers up to $400 to change their flights and up to $200 for one night’s stay in a hotel room. Passengers also will receive a credit for a future cruise based on the fees they’ve already paid, according to the letter signed by Thordur Thorsson, the Grandeur's captain. “We know how much time and effort go into planning a vacation,” the letter said. “We’re terribly sorry you didn’t get to enjoy the full experience we had planned for you.” Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Melissa Charbonneau said in a statement Saturday. “We understand this is an unfortunate inconvenience for our guests and sincerely apologise for the interruption in their travel plans. Royal Caribbean officials were unavailable for further comment. The cheapest air fare Mrs Rinker could find back to Indianapolis cost her $700 for two tickets, or nearly twice the $400 she expects to receive from Royal Caribbean. She will not be reimbursed for her stay in a Baltimore hotel the night before she boarded the cruise ship, for the luggage fees she paid, for their meals, for parking at the airport, or for the other incidental expenses involved in planning a week’s vacation. She acknowledged that many costs could have been avoided by purchasing travel insurance, but she thinks Royal Caribbean should have gone “above and beyond” to help its passengers get home safely. “My son and I were sitting on these little benches [in Baltimore’s Inner Harbour] at 10.30 at night trying to make hotel and plane reservations from our mobile phones,” she said. “We don’t know anybody in Baltimore. I felt abandoned. If my son hadn’t been with me, it would have been kind of scary.” She’s not sure if she’ll take Royal Caribbean up on its offer for a future cruise. “I love cruises,” she said. “This is probably the 15th cruise I’ve taken, and about ten of them have been on Royal Caribbean. I’ve never had any problems before. So I’ll have to wait and see how I feel after I get home. But right now, I am not at all happy.”

2019. August 14. Visitors to St George’s can meet characters from Bermuda’s 1775 Gunpowder Plot over the next few weeks. The Bermuda Tourism Authority and Norwegian Cruise Line is marking the role the scandal played in the island’s historical heritage with a cultural tourism initiative. Today marks the anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot, which tested Bermudian loyalty to the Crown and underscored islanders’ close family and commercial ties with America. The Plot also highlighted Bermudians’ support of George Washington’s Continental Army during the 13 colonies’ Revolutionary War against Britain. On the night of August 14, several dozen men broke into an unguarded ammunition magazine above Tobacco Bay, stealing more than 100 casks of gunpowder for delivery to American ships waiting offshore. The stolen powder made it safely to Washington’s troops, convincing the Continental Congress to lift its crippling wartime embargo on food and supplies to the island as a British colony. Local actors, dressed in period costume, are helping bring the episode to life by regaling town visitors with facts and anecdotes about the event that exploded tensions between Bermuda, its colonial governor and the English government. They are portraying characters such as staunch imperialist governor, George James Bruere, and Colonel Henry Tucker, long believed to be a conspirator in the plot, in a demonstration from now until Labour Day week, on Mondays and Wednesdays, between 9.30am and 2.30pm. BTA chief experience development officer Glenn Jones said: “The feedback from store managers and visitors so far has been very positive. We’re excited to introduce these initiatives to St George’s and it’s encouraging to see this level of support from stakeholders.” NCL guests who browse St George’s shops featuring Made in Bermuda artisans will be rewarded with a Bermuda gift. Other activities include a daily Unesco World Heritage Walking Tour, a behind-the-scenes tour of St Peter’s Church and the daily historic re-enactment of the Ducking Stool. Corporation secretary Candy-Lee Foggo said: “We are working to make the town more lively, with craft stalls in King’s Square, including Ashley’s Lemonade, with its refreshing drinks, plus buskers playing throughout the town, which all adds to the ambience.” The Bermuda National Trust has also opened Tucker House, the historically preserved home where local conspirators were believed to have met, on Mondays and Wednesdays this month, from 10am to 4pm. More information is available at the Visitor Services Centre, York Street, from 10am to 4pm.

2019. July 29. The Government expects Bermuda will receive slightly more cruse ship visits next year, and is working to keep ships in port longer. A spokesman for the Ministry of Tourism and Transport said that it is projected Bermuda will see 199 cruise ship visits in 2020, up from the 193 this year. The spokesman said: “With a view to increase visitor spending, Government, in partnership with the Tourism Authority, is implementing a cruise ship strategy to encourage two-port itineraries and attract year round calls, with smaller luxury ships calling into Hamilton and the Town of St George. This strategy has the additional benefit of providing relief to the island‘s transportation infrastructure as it reduces the need for passengers to travel from Dockyard to Hamilton and vice versa.” The spokesman said Government is “mindful” of the benefits of longer stays, including greater spending by visitors and crews. He added: “Also, with more time in port, passengers are able to learn and experience more of Bermuda, increasing their overall satisfaction levels.” Next month, the Prestige Insignia is scheduled to make three visits to the island, with the ship to dock in both Hamilton and St George, spending four days in port. Jan Card, owner of St George’s jeweler Vera P Card, expressed hope that the visits would mark the beginning of a new trend for the town. He said: “Happily, for the first time in ten years we will see real ‘Bermuda Cruises’ where the ship leaves the East Coast and spends as much time as possible here before returning.” Mr Card said all three trips will have the ships at port in Bermuda for four days, giving them more time to tour. He added: “This has not happened since 2009 when the Royal Majesty last left. I only wish we, and the BTA, could marshal the enthusiasm to pull out the stops and make these passengers the happiest that Prestige sees this season. The potential of these visits on these itineraries, done 15 to 25 times a season by two or three ships, would match the economic impact of the resident ships pre 2009. The revitalizing impact on the town would be life saving for businesses and the town.”

2019. March 1. Bermuda is developing its capabilities to deal with “major cruise ship incidents” aboard a vessel in local waters, Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, told Parliament this morning. See http://www.royalgazette.com/assets/pdf/RG39988931.pdf. Mr Caines was delivering an update to MPs on the island’s disaster risk reduction and mitigation team. The team is also drawing up plans for Ferry Reach residents in case of an incident at the area’s fuel facilities. Evacuation plans would include the area’s two prison facilities. The island will conduct a counter terrorism exercise next year at the airport after being approached by both the US Department of State and US Northern Command. And the team will send a member to the British Virgin Islands this month to learn from its hurricane experience.

2019. January 8. The number of cruise ship visitors rocketed by more than 168 per cent last November compared with the same period in 2017, the Bermuda Tourism Authority said yesterday. The number of tourists who arrived by air rose by just 2.7 per cent over the same time frame. Kevin Dallas, the BTA chief executive, said: “As outlined in the National Tourism Plan, our strategy is to focus on better balance in Bermuda’s cruise business with more calls outside the summer months. The effectiveness of that strategy has shown up in the November 2018 visitor arrival statistics.” Mr Dallas added: “As our extended season strategy takes hold, we hope tourism experience providers are ready to provide the same level of service to cruise passengers in November as they do during the summer.” A total of 18,620 visitors travelled to the island by cruise ship and 11,836 tourists flew to the island last November.

2018. December 28. Bermuda is expected to receive an extra 68,000 cruise ship visitors next year, according to the Government. Next year’s cruise ship schedule includes 192 calls to Bermuda, which is estimated to bring 544,000 passengers, a rise of 14 per cent on the 2018 figure. Zane DeSilva, Minister of Tourism and Transport, said the increase in passengers is expect to generate $7.9 million in tax revenue and increase visitor spending. He said: “We have another growth year for cruise ship calls to Bermuda and we look forward to welcoming approximately 544,000 cruise ship passengers in 2019. Be assured, though, that our Government is very mindful of the big picture: the increase in cruise passengers, year over year, the need to balance air and cruise arrivals, and the challenge of providing the necessary infrastructure to serve all of our visitors.” The minister added: “My ministry is working diligently to attract more business for Hamilton and St George’s.” Kevin Dallas, Bermuda Tourism Authority CEO, said the body is still working to increase the number of ships in the cooler months. Mr Dallas said: “The long lead time of the cruise ship industry means the Bermuda Tourism Authority has accounted for next year’s cruise passenger’s growth in the National Tourism Plan. Our focus between now and 2025 is better balance in Bermuda’s cruise business with more calls outside the summer months, increases in what cruise passengers spend on-island and, perhaps most importantly, growing the number of vacationers who arrive by air.” Next year’s cruise ship schedule includes five inaugural visits to the island, including calls from NCL Pearl, NCL Jade, Celebrity Edge, Spirit of Discovery and the Adventure of the Seas.

2018. December 24, repeated December 27. Bermuda is expected to receive a dozen more cruise ship visits in 2019 than it did in 2018, according to the newly released Cruise Ship Schedule. Dockyard will see an extra 16 visits throughout the year, with a new one scheduled for the Great Sound, but both St George’s and Hamilton are expected to receive fewer cruise ship visits. Penno’s Wharf is scheduled to receive 12 visits, compared to 15 in 2018, while Hamilton will receive 15 visits compared to 17 this year. According to the 2019 Cruise Ship Schedule, Bermuda is expected to receive 108 visits from regular callers next year — two more than in 2018. There will be three additional visits by the Norwegian Escape, along with one less visit from the Celebrity Summit. And the island is expected to receive 84 visits from occasional callers — ten more than this year. Two cruise ships — the Ventura and the Aurora — are scheduled to visit Bermuda in February, a month that had no cruise ship visits in 2018.

2018. November 16. Bermuda will be visited by both the Carnival Radiance and the Carnival Sunrise in 2020, according to Carnival Cruise Lines. The 2020 season will be the first for the Carnival Radiance, formerly the Carnival Victory, after an estimated $200 million refurbishment. The ship will be used for four and six-day cruises from New York. There will also be trips to other destinations including the Mediterranean and Cuba. The cruise line said the Carnival Sunrise will meanwhile host “long weekend” four-day cruises to Bermuda.

2018. November 1. Tourists waited up to an hour for public transport yesterday as Bermuda welcomed a record number of cruise ship passengers. Long queues formed at bus and ferry stops in Dockyard, where two cruise ships were berthed and a third was anchored at nearby Grassy Bay. Hamilton and St George’s each had one vessel at the same time — a total of five. A sixth was due at Dockyard later in the day but had to sit at Murray’s Anchorage until a berth at Dockyard was clear. It meant up until the Carnival Conquest left at 4pm, a record one-day total of 9,341 cruise ship passengers were expected around the island. Some were caught in long queues as they waited for transport from Dockyard to Hamilton or the South Shore beaches. Cao Wilson, from New York, said: “The bus is not frequent enough for a place like this — they should have constant buses. It’s ridiculous. The infrastructure is not up to the standard for all these tourists.” Ms Wilson claimed she had arrived at the bus stop at 10am and did not leave until almost 45 minutes later. Sara Kitts, 42, from Raleigh, North Carolina, and her husband, Rick, 44, spent their honeymoon in Bermuda and returned on the Disney Magic yesterday with children Richie, 12, and Jesse, 10. They queued for transport to Horseshoe Bay but when a bus arrived it filled up with passengers before they had a chance to embark. Ms Kitts was told another bus would collect them, which was expected to mean a total wait of nearly 45 minutes. She told The Royal Gazette: “We kind of expected some wait and some chaos, a little bit, especially getting out of the port, so we’re not too disappointed.” But she said: “We will be if we miss the next one.” Ms Kitts said the couple’s happy memories of their honeymoon and the island had drawn them back. She added: “The people, how small it was and the beautiful waters, the shops and the local artists.” Don Shaver, among a group of Carnival Conquest passengers from Michigan and Florida, said the island was “nice and clean”. But he added he had a “long” wait of almost 50 minutes for a ferry to Hamilton. It was at least another ten minutes before the ferry left Dockyard. The 78-year-old added: “I thought we were going to be no more than half an hour.” Hundreds of people waited to board at the Dockyard ferry terminal as tourism ambassadors assured them “another one’s coming”. But The Bermudian, which has a capacity of 700, managed to clear most of the queue when it set sail at about 11.25am. One worker at the port said the movement of the influx of tourists and traffic had been “so far, so good”. But he admitted: “There has been a few little hiccups, people don’t want to wait.” The man added: “We’ve got three ships in, you can’t service everybody at the same time. Everybody’s got to wait to some degree.” Jerome Robinson, a minibus operator who was director of transport for the America’s Cup, was part of a large fleet ready to take visitors across the island. He explained it was important to recognize the different needs of cruise ship passengers as some, like those on the Disney Magic, were more likely to arrange tours and activities before they disembarked, which meant less pressure on transport services. Mr Robinson said: “When everyone was talking about ‘six ships’ I didn’t feel that it was going to be a problem. If we have a transportation plan for the day, for whatever is coming to Bermuda, it shouldn’t be a challenge, and it’s not.” He added that some of the drivers had not picked up the hires they had expected. But minutes later Mr Robinson and a colleague co-ordinated a private hire pick-up from a public bus stop. He explained: “When you hear that sometimes people are up here waiting for the Government bus for one or two hours, the mini bus drivers always make a sweep around the Dockyard.” Mr Robinson said private hire drivers were aware tourists could be annoyed by delays and did their best to step in and pick up any excess. He explained: “They’re already frustrated, they’ve got their kids who are getting frustrated, so sometimes we just say, ‘let’s just get the people to the beach for $5 a person’.” The Bermuda Tourism Authority said by noon, reports from operators were “all positive”. Glenn Jones, the director of strategy and corporate communications, said crowds were moving “reasonably well” and public transport was running at full capacity but not overwhelmed. Conditions meant some water activities were cancelled so visitors were directed to other island attractions and cruise passengers were said to have enjoyed a “smooth process” connecting with land-based tour operators. The BTA thanked everyone “who played a role in preparing for this enormously high traffic day”. Mr Jones said that Stacey Evans, section head of the Transport Planning Team at the Ministry of Transport and Regulatory Affairs, and her colleagues were “especially effective at co-ordinating all the relevant people and organisations to ensure the day was as well planned as possible”. The Ministry of Transport said it worked with WEDCO, the coordinator of transport at Dockyard, to address “some minor challenges” relating to demand throughout the day. A spokeswoman said reports showed at about 11.30am there was a queue for ferries to Hamilton which was quickly addressed by the Marine and Ports Department through the provision.

2018. October 30. The transport ministry and has called on the public to plan their transportation ahead of time because of to an “unprecedented” influx of visitors over the next month. Six visiting cruise ships are due to arrive from October 30 to November 2 and there has been an uptick in air arrivals which equates to about 9,300 people. The short-term influx is, in part, thanks to the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s extension of the cruise ship season and industry partners are joining forces to try to ensure the island’s transportation needs are met. The spokeswoman said: “The ministry takes this opportunity to strongly encourage the public to plan ahead for their personal transport requirements to avoid delays. The ministry also specifically seeks and encourages the public’s patience during this time. The ministry will work to maintain the island’s regularly scheduled transportation service during this time. In that regard, the ministry takes this opportunity to strongly encourage the public to plan ahead for their personal transport requirements to avoid delays. The ministry also specifically seeks and encourages the public’s patience during this time.” Transport minister Walter Roban said that this week, Hamilton and the Town of St George will each host one ship, while one ship will anchor in Grassy Bay and another three cruise ships will berth in Dockyard. Mr Roban said: “This week, we are preparing to receive six cruise ship calls. This is an exciting and unprecedented time for Bermuda. In fact, on one day alone, this represents the largest number of cruise ship passengers in Bermuda’s tourism history. In 2018, our cruise ship season started in March and will end in December. I wish to commend the Bermuda Tourism Authority, who have worked diligently to extend the seasonality of the cruise ship season, which traditionally has been between April and September.” Industry partners have been planning for the visitors since March and have increased various support services. For example, all public service vehicles including taxis and minibuses will be in service to try to meet demand; select community service vehicles and licensed hotel properties have been granted permission to operate their shuttles; increased public ferry lift has been added, including a supplemental ferry route to St George’s and Hamilton from Dockyard; the BTA has increased their Visitor Service Centre team and ambassadors; and events have been scheduled in Dockyard. Mr Roban added: “This influx of visitors is good for Dockyard, Hamilton and St George, it’s good for our economy and it’s good for Bermuda. We are encouraging all residents to support our efforts as we welcome these visitors to our shores.”

2018. October 13. Disney Cruise Lines marked its first trip to Bermuda with a plaque and key ceremony. The Disney Magic stayed in Dockyard on last Saturday night, with 2,399 guests and 1,024 crew on board, after its arrival from New York City. It was the first of five calls to the island scheduled for the rest of 2018. Walter Roban, the transport minister, and West End Development Corporation representative Carmen Tucker attended the ceremony and festivities. Mr Roban said of the weekend visit: “I am delighted that after many years of discussion with Disney Cruise Line, that Disney was finally able to come to our shores. It is an honour to welcome Captain Fabian, Disney Cruise Line executives, and the Disney Magic crew and passengers.” A celebration event at Heritage Wharf included a Marine and Ports tug salute, Gombey performances and a greeting from Bermuda Tourism Authority ambassadors.

Disney cruise to Bermuda

2018. October 8. Bermuda hosted its first Disney Cruise Line vessel at the weekend. Disney Magic docked at Kings Wharf, on its way from New York to the Bahamas. The 966ft vessel brought with it about 2,376 passengers and 945 crew. A special run of the ferry from Dockyard to St George’s was arranged for the visit.

2018. September 27. The Serenade of the Seas made its first visit to Bermuda yesterday. The Royal Caribbean Cruise Line ship arrived in Dockyard from Boston for a two-night stay. The trip is the first of three calls to Bermuda this season. The ship is due back again from October 10 to 12 and October 23 to 25.

2018. September 21. Norwegian Cruise Lines has unveiled its 2020 schedule to Bermuda, including visits from the still-unfinished Norwegian Encore. The cruise line announced that the Norwegian Encore will offer seven-day cruises from New York to Bermuda from April 22 that year. The Norwegian Gem will continue to visit the island, offering seven-day cruises from Boston starting on May 1. Both itineraries include three days in port in Bermuda. The Norwegian Encore, still under construction in Germany, is scheduled to make its maiden voyage next autumn. The vessel will be a sister ship of the Norwegian Escape, which was scheduled to make 24 visits to Bermuda this year. The Norwegian Gem, which has been in use since 2007, is scheduled to make a visit to Bermuda in November.

2018. July 24. Dockyard has been named the top cruise ship destination in the region by Cruise Critic for the second year. The Royal Naval Dockyard was named the top destination in the Eastern Caribbean, Bahamas and Bermuda based on consumer ratings and reviews published on the Cruise Critic website. Andrew Dias, general manager of the West End Development Corporation, said: “It says that what we have done at Dockyard, and continue to do, in terms of improving the facilities and adding more activities is paying off. It also shows us that we are keeping ahead of some very stiff competition. Dockyard is an extremely important tourist hub so to know that we are favoured above other cruise ship ports is not only positive for us, but positive for Bermuda as whole.” Mr Dias said Wedco continues to invest in Dockyard, and that the relaunched Destination Dockyard and a new trampoline park will only make the area more popular.  “Wedco has invested millions of dollars into Dockyard and we will continue to invest to ensure we are able to serve the needs not only of our visitors, but also the locals who come to visit us. I thank the entire Dockyard community for their tireless efforts and support as this combined effort has made us successful and contributed to this achievement.” Pat Phillip-Fairn, chief product and experiences development officer with the Bermuda Tourism Authority said it is the local hospitality that has made the difference. “Bermudian hospitality is legendary and that’s because across the island we focus on providing a high quality, memorable experience for our visitors. At the BTA we offer our congratulations and gratitude to all the people who made this Cruise Critic accolade possible. It further proves Bermuda out performs its peers in cruise travel year after year and we are happy to support all on-island tourism industry partners dedicated to raising the bar even higher.” Rickeisha Burgess, who runs gourmet popsicle business Duch Pops Bermuda, said: “I love it here. Dockyard keeps changing for the better with more things to do. The staff do an incredible job keeping it really clean and tidy and I always see them out making sure the place looks good. I am not surprised they have won this award twice, everyone here works hard to make Dockyard special.”

2018. July 7. Caribbean Journal. Disney Cruise Line’s long-awaited debut in Bermuda will come next year, according to the Bermuda Tourism Authority. Disney will be sailing five-night cruises that feature two days in Bermuda, beginning in the fall of 2019. Bookings are already open to the public, according to the BTA. All of the Bermuda cruises will sail out of New York City, with an initial string of three special cruises to the Atlantic island, sailing on Disney’s Disney Magic cruise ship. Disney had originally been slated to sail to Bermuda this year.

2018. June 16. Royal Caribbean Cruises, which sends cruise ships to Bermuda, has announced the acquisition of a significant stake in ultra-luxe small-ship cruise line Silversea Cruises which also cruises to Bermuda. The agreement includes the acquisition of a two-thirds equity stake in Silversea based on an enterprise value of $2 billion, with the purchase price of the equity valued at approximately $1 billion, according to the company. RCL said it would finance the purchase through debt. “Silversea is a crown jewel, and the acknowledged leader in luxury and expedition cruising, two key markets that are poised for growth,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “Uniting our two companies presents an extraordinary opportunity to expand vacation options for guests and create revenue in strategic growth areas.” The move means a major new luxury brand for Royal Caribbean. The move comes as the luxury cruise market continues to see drastic changes, most notably by the planned entry of Ritz-Carlton to the market. Ritz-Carlton just launched bookings for its first cruises, which will launch in 2020. “We are proud to welcome aboard [Silversea executive chairman] Manfredi Lefebvre, a visionary leader whose high standards and history of innovation we deeply respect. Manfredi will remain Executive Chairman of Silversea, continuing to lead its strategy long term,” Fain said. In a statement, Royal Caribbean said strategic rationales for the agreement included driving long-term capacity growth in the luxury cruise market; diversifying Royal Caribbean’s portfolio; leveraging the global footprint of both companies to “generate demand and increase vacation and destination options” and realizing what the company called “significant synergies” related to global market access, supply chain, purchasing power and other economies of scale. Silversea CEO Roberto Martinoli will continue in his role, the company said. Silversea operates a fleet of nine all-suite ships sailing around the world. The brand joins Royal Caribbean’s existing portfolio, which includes its namesake brand, along with Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises and the regional TUI and Pullmantur brands.

2018. May 28. Deputy Premier and Minister of Transport the Hon. Walter H. Roban JP MP led a Bermuda delegation aboard the Carnival Horizon Saturday morning on the ship’s inaugural visit to the island. In for the day out of New York just prior to its return voyage, Carnival Horizon is billed as the newest, largest and classiest cruise ship built for Carnival Cruise Line, and the second of Carnival’s Vista-class ships. The delegation was met by the President of Carnival Cruise Lines Christine Duffy and Ship’s Captain Luigi De Angelis. Carnival Cruise Lines is a division of Carnival Corporation & plc. The Carnival Horizon just entered service on April 2, sailing from Barcelona. It will be based in New York for the summer. Grammy award-winning musical artist and actress Queen Latifah headlined the naming ceremony in New York on Wednesday. The Panama flagged ship with a crew of 1,450 carries a maximum number of passengers of nearly 5,000 in 1,967 passenger cabins. With 15 decks, the ship took about two and a half years to build. As an occasional caller, it was on the first of its five visits this season. It returns to the island once a month until September, when it is re-positioned for year-round deployment, sailing from Miami on six and eight-day Caribbean cruises. Carnival Horizon is Carnival Cruise Line’s 26th ship in the Carnival fleet. The traditional exchange of plaques for the inaugural visit included gifts from Bermuda, Wedco and the cruise line.

2018. March 15. Dockyard welcomed its first cruise ship of the year yesterday. The Cunard Line’s Queen Victoria arrived at Heritage Wharf in the morning and departed in the evening. Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre said the visit made up for a planned call in January that was cancelled because of bad weather. The Queen Victoria had been due to visit the island with sister ship Queen Elizabeth. They were to be the first official cruise ship visits of the year, but storms in the North Atlantic forced them to abandon the plan and bypass the island. It would have been the inaugural visit for the Bermuda-registered Queen Elizabeth. The Queen Victoria made her first visit to the island on April 2, 2011. Visitors at the time ranked Bermuda as the best destination on their transatlantic voyage. The ship’s arrival kicked off the cruise ship season in the West End. The MSC Cruises’ Divina is expected to arrive at Heritage Wharf this morning and leave this evening.

2018. March 15. The MSC Divina has cancelled its Bermuda visit today because of bad weather. The cruise ship was scheduled to arrive at Heritage Wharf in Dockyard this morning and depart this evening. The Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre duty officer said the ship arrived at the pilot station on schedule at 7am. He added: “But the captain assessed the weather conditions and with the winds at the time, not less than 35 kts, decided for the safety of the vessel to cancel the call into Bermuda. The vessel continued its voyage onwards to the Azores.” It was to be the ship’s first of two visits this year and Dockyard’s second cruise ship of the season. The Bermuda Weather Service said strong southwesterly winds are expected to increase to “occasional” gale force by Friday before easing on Saturday.

2018. March 5. Bermuda is expecting 20 additional cruise ship calls in this calendar year. The island will also host 11 inaugural cruises. Thus  Bermuda will receive an estimated 49,000 more cruise ship passengers compared with last season.

2018. January 10. Cunard cruise liners Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth have cancelled their calls in Bermuda because of bad weather in the North Atlantic. The two ships were due to arrive in Dockyard on Sunday and signal the beginning of the island’s 2018 cruise season. However the Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre reported today that both vessels had cancelled their Bermuda calls “due to weather encountered on crossing”. Heavy weather in the Atlantic has forced Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth to head straight to their next ports of Port Everglades and New York respectively. It would have been the inaugural visit for the Bermuda-registered Queen Elizabeth. The luxury liner, which carries 1,900 passengers and 980 crew, is Cunard’s newest cruise ship. The ship left Southampton in England on its 122-night world tour at the weekend and is scheduled to visit to 39 ports in 25 countries. A press release from the Bermuda Government said today: “The ships’ captains have determined the best course of action is to bypass Bermuda and proceed directly to their next ports of call in the United States.” It said both ships were originally scheduled to be at the West End for a 7½-hour call on Sunday.

2017. December 22. The island’s cruise tourism is set for a “sharp rise” outside of the traditional summer trade, with the 2018 schedule released today (see above). The boost, which includes 17 more cruise calls for April, October and November, marks a joint strategy between the Ministry of Transport and Regulatory Affairs, the Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism, and the Bermuda Tourism Authority. Compared with this year, April’s cruise calls will jump from 12 to 20, while October rises from 18 to 24 visits and November goes from six to nine. Jamahl Simmons, the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, said that extending the cruise season beyond summer would increase tourism work opportunities for locals. Water Roban, the Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs, said the island looked forward to Disney Cruise Lines making its first calls in October 2018. The ongoing relationship with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings will bring smaller cruise ships such as the Oceania and Regent Seven Seas brands back to Hamilton and St George’s. According to the 2018 Bermuda cruise ship schedule, cruise calls are projected to rise 12 per cent and cruise visitor arrivals are forecast to jump 13 per cent. Bermuda is expected to receive 180 cruise ship calls bringing approximately 470,000 passengers — amounting to 19 more cruise ship calls and 53,500 more passengers in 2018 over 2017. Meantime, 2017 proved a growth year for the island’s cruise travel market. Bermuda received 161 cruise ship calls, bringing 416,049 passengers — an increase of 18,145 visitors, or 4.6 per cent over 2016. The total estimated economic impact of visitor spending and government tax revenue is expected to be more than $72 million, including an estimated $50 million in visitor spending and $22 million in tax revenue. In 2018, the total projected economic impact of both visitor spending and government tax revenue is $84.8 million, with $59.8 million estimated in visitor spending and $25 million in tax revenue. The total economic impact would be an increase of approximately $12.7 million. The City of Hamilton will see 17 calls in 2018, down from 26 calls in 2017. According to a ministry statement, the Hamilton increase in 2017 was primarily due to the 35th America’s Cup, which brought additional luxury callers during the summer. St George’s will see 16 calls in 2018, up two from 2017. The ports in Hamilton and St George’s were described as better suited for small cruise ships that make occasional calls. The Norwegian Breakaway is being replaced in 2018 with the Norwegian Escape, which can bring roughly 500 more passengers. The Escape is set to make her inaugural call on April 25, 2018. The NCL tender between the Royal Naval Dockyard and St George’s, which began in May, brought approximately 45,000 passengers to the East End. Pat Phillip-Fairn, the BTA’s chief product and experiences development officer, said the commencement of the tender operation had stood out as a highlight of the year. She added: “The potential economic impact of direct calls to the East End and the dedicated tender service, in addition to arrivals from the public ferries, is something the town can build upon further.” The NCL tender is scheduled to maintain annual summer service exclusively for NCL guests through 2022. Meanwhile, Bermuda’s partnership with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines continues with regular calls from its Quantum-class ship as well as occasional calls from Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises, RCL’s smaller affiliated lines. In 2015, RCL partnered with the Bermuda Government to dredge the North Channel — making way for the Quantum-size Anthem of the Seas. Carnival branded ships will make 13 calls to Bermuda in 2018. The Carnival Corporation also has interests in Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Adia Cruises, Cunard Line, Costa Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line and P & O — all of which will make stops in Bermuda over the next year. In total, Carnival Corporation brands will make 32 calls to Bermuda in 2018, which is up from 21 calls in 2017. Disney Cruise Line is coming to Bermuda for the first time in October 2018. The Disney Magic will sail to Bermuda five times next year from New York City. The BTA is collaborating with Disney and local businesses to build unique experiences for Disney passengers with specific holiday wishes.

2017. September 19. A Bermuda delegation participated in a welcome and plaque exchange aboard the MS Aurora, during the ship’s short stay at King’s Wharf in Dockyard. Transport minister Walter Roban led the delegation aboard the Bermuda-registered luxury liner which arrived from the port of Charleston, United States, on its inaugural visit to the island. Stopping in its home port for the day and then sailing on to Ponta Delgada, Azores, the vessel carried some 1,900 passengers and a crew of 850. Mr Roban welcomed Deputy Captain Alan Hawkins and crew of the sixth largest of eight ships currently in service with P&O Cruises. He said in a press release: “Visitors have been cruising to Bermuda for more than a century and, today, we welcome more than ever before in three port of calls. It is as a result of great organizations such as yours — and modern marvels like the MS Aurora — that travelers are finding ocean cruising more comfortable and rewarding. I congratulate you and your crew for your participation in the growth of the cruise industry. The island’s popularity as a vacation destination is growing — both for cruise ship visitors and air travelers — as more people learn of our mid-Atlantic paradise.” At more than 76,000 tonnes, Aurora was built by Meyer Werft at their shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. Those at for the ceremony and tour of the ship included officials from the Ministry of Transport, Marine and Ports Services, Bermuda Tourism Authority, host port the West End Development Corporation, ship’s agent Meyer Agencies and the Bermuda Shipping and Maritime Authority.

2017. July 26. Dockyard has been named the region’s top cruise ship destination by the online review site Cruise Critic. Voted a top five destination last year, Dockyard has been declared the best for the Eastern Caribbean, Bahamas and Bermuda in the site’s cruisers’ choice destination awards, based on reviews and consumer feedback over the past year. “We all work hard to ensure standards are kept high, and credit must go to the entire team for achieving fantastic results,” said Andrew Dias, general manager of the West End Development Corporation. “So while receiving this award is great news, credit must go not just to the Wedco team but every person and business that provides goods and services at the port. I send thanks and praises to all who have made it possible. It is particularly pleasing to receive this award as it is voted for by the people who use the facilities which reflects positively on Dockyard and Bermuda as a whole.”

2017. May 17. St George’s welcomed the Seven Seas Navigator for the first of a series of scheduled visits to the East End yesterday. Mayor Quinell Francis and area MP Kenneth Bascome celebrated the ship’s arrival in the historic town in a brief press conference yesterday afternoon. Meanwhile, Senator Michael Fahy, the tourism minister, said the vessel’s arrival was the culmination of long-term efforts to bring small cruise ships back to St George’s. “It is not said often enough, but St George is not just an historic town and Bermuda’s former capital, it is an important part of these Bermuda islands and its success is an integral part of Bermuda’s future success,” he said. “This is the reason the Government has advanced significant initiatives to breathe new life into the East End.” He later added: “It’s great to celebrate what we can achieve together. And I’m happy to say that Bermuda’s friends at NCL are delivering on a commitment to work with the Government of Bermuda, the Bermuda Tourism Authority and the Town of St George to boost the fortunes of the East End after far too many years of limited economic momentum.” Mr Fahy also noted the St Regis hotel project in St George’s and the new airport terminal building, both of which he said would bring economic activity to the area. “In 2012, we promised to be a reliable partner and help bring recovery to St George’s, and we haven’t finished yet,” he said. Government announced last year that St George’s would receive an additional 12 cruise ship visits annually between 2017 and 2022 through a partnership with NCL. The agreement included bringing ferries to the island to run from Dockyard to the East End, along with a yearly investment of $150,000 by NCL to sponsor tourism enhancement in co-operation with the BTA. Ms Francis described the arrival as a “milestone” for St George’s, saying the town welcomed the arrival of additional cruise visits. “We are delighted that NCL has partnered with the Bermuda Government to ensure that small cruise ships are able to traverse Town Cut and berth here at Penno’s Wharf. NCL has discovered what St Georgians have known for a century — our unique and rich history.” She noted that, in recent months. the town has undergone several infrastructure projects, including maintenance work at the terminal building. “The residents and businesses of St George stand poised and ready to extend the hand of friendship and welcome these visitors to our town,” she said. Mr Bascome meanwhile said it was a great pleasure to be part of the “renaissance” of the town, thanking representatives from NCL for their commitment to the island. Kevin Dallas, CEO of the BTA, meanwhile said it was a proud day for the authority, adding: “Having ships back in St George and having a viable, vibrant tourism economy in St George has been a long-term priority for us really, since the inception of the BTA.” Captain Ubaldo Armellino also spoke briefly, calling Bermuda one of the most beautiful islands in the world and saying he was sure the passengers would enjoy their time in Bermuda.

2017. May 16. Five Bermudian crew, led by long-time mariner Beau Evans, have begun ferrying passengers from NCL cruise ships to and from St George’s and Dockyard on the new tender Bo Hengy II. The service begun on Monday when junior minister for tourism Kenny Bascome rode with the crew, assisting some of 650 passengers who took the trip from west to east on the first day. “The high end ferry received a warm reception from visitors during its four round-trips for the day and Mr Bascome was on hand to greet many of them,” said a Government spokesman. Mr Evans is the Cruiseport Ferry Management Ltd CEO and reserve captain.

2017. May 12. Disney Cruise Line will make its maiden trip to Bermuda in October 2018, the Bermuda Tourism Authority announced yesterday. 

Disney Magic in Bermuda

The Disney Magic is to sail to Bermuda five times next year on October 6, 15, 21, 28 and 31, from New York City. The BTA was “thrilled” to partner with an iconic brand and bring a new segment of cruise travelers to Bermuda, chief product and experiences officer Pat Phillip-Fairn said. “It’s the first time Disney Cruise Line has come to Bermuda, so naturally we’re excited about these inaugural calls. Disney cruise vacationers and the new experiential travelers now discovering Bermuda are very similar, in that they want to see, taste and experience everything Bermuda has to offer. Our team will now drill down on the kinds of desirable Bermuda experiences the island can offer to inspire Disney passengers with the company’s Port Adventures team and our local stakeholders.” Each of the Disney Magic sailings will include two full days in Bermuda, while the October 15 sailing will include three days. Ms Phillip-Fairn said Disney had been “intrigued by Bermuda” during talks — and that up to 20 per cent of passengers would be traveling without children. Diversifying the island’s cruise offerings is another key objective of the BTA, and Disney is “very keen on creating great experiences for guests, and encouraging guests to get off the ship and explore”. Senator Michael Fahy, the Minister for Tourism and Transport, said the calls were significant because they helped lengthen the visitor season. “When we successfully attract visitors in the fall and winter, we keep Bermudians in hospitality working year-round and that’s critically important to the growth of our tourism industry.” The Disney Magic cruise liner carries up to 2,713 passengers and 950 crew, and will berth in Dockyard. The island offers “a wonderful setting for memory making”, according to Tom Wolber, senior vice-president of Disney Cruise Line operations.

2017. April 4.  Norwegian Epic, the largest Norwegian Cruise Line ship by tonnage to visit Bermuda, came along side Heritage Wharf this morning on its inaugural visit. Captain Frank Juliussen welcomed a Bermuda delegation on board, led by acting minister of tourism, transport and municipalities Cole Simons, who was joined by junior tourism minister Kenneth Bascome. The deep draft ship took advantage of last year’s dredging of the North Channel to put into Bermuda. It was scheduled to leave port last evening, bound for Madeira in Portugal. Mr Simons engaged in a customary plaque exchange with the captain. The Norwegian Epic arrived with 4,020 passengers and a crew of 1,696. Built in 2010, the 329 metre vessel is expected to spend six months out of its home port of Barcelona, including the summer season, before deploying to the Caribbean for the winter. The 155,873 gross ton vessel has been offshore in Bermuda waters on two previous occasions, transferring individuals to the island for medical emergencies. But today was its first official day in port.

2017. March 30. Senior officials from Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) were welcomed by Premier Michael Dunkley on a special courtesy visit to the Cabinet Office today. NCL executive vice-president of vessel operations Robin Lindsay and senior vice-president Luigi Lazeto, along with other key NCL personnel, are here conducting operational and logistical meetings in anticipation of providing a specialized intra-port tender service for NCL’s cruise ship passengers, beginning in a few weeks. The Premier said he “appreciated the strong relationship Bermuda has enjoyed over many years with NCL”. He also noted the importance of having cruise ship visits to Bermuda’s three ports as cruise activity “enhances value throughout the island”. Mr Lindsay said that NCL passengers enjoyed Bermuda as a “beautiful and clean resort”, adding that becoming the host venue for the America’s Cup was an impressive feat for the island, and has drawn a great deal of attention to Bermuda.

2017. March 23. Norwegian Cruise Lines has committed to bringing 56 cruise ships to Bermuda each year in return for concessions and berthing rights, tourism minister Michael Fahy told the Senate. Mr Fahy made the announcement as he outlined spending in the Ministry of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities as senators debated the Budget. He also addressed the continuing problems with buses and said four new vehicles would arrive on island in the third quarter of 2017. The Government is also looking to buy eight more buses in the coming fiscal year. Mr Fahy urged the unions to accept the bus schedule that has been put forward, saying it would significantly reduce overtime and allow a massively improved maintenance schedule. “Currently to run a peak service we need 88 buses,” Mr Fahy later told The Royal Gazette. “Under the new schedule, we would need 46 buses. This failure to agree by the union has now become a serious issue and must be resolved. We must put the public first and the new schedule will complement our other efforts to improve service and safety for passengers.” Meanwhile, the NCL agreement, which expires in 2022, will see NCL-branded ships and their smaller luxury cruise lines including Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas and Prestige Cruise Holdings visiting Dockyard, Hamilton and St George’s. NCL also committed to acquiring tender lift at its own expense that would be leased or built to help transport NCL passengers in the West End, to and from St George’s. Mr Fahy said: “Pending the signing of the lease agreement, a vessel has been identified to be chartered by NCL from May through October 2017, while NCL continue to build two smaller purpose built tenders to service Bermuda between 2018 and 2022. The tender is intended to be licensed for 400 passengers and will operate on days when NCL ships are in port.” As part of the agreement, Bermuda has agreed to upgrade Penno’s Wharf to as well as the provision of fresh water for each cruise ship call. Speaking about the Department of Marine and Ports, Mr Fahy said that the ferry Millennium would continue to operate until the end of the 2017 season, but the contract would not be renewed.

2017. February 9. Carnival Cruise Line’s is to offer a series of four-day cruises from New York to Bermuda during the spring and summer of next year. Its cruise ship Carnival Horizon’s inaugural season includes voyages to Europe from Barcelona and the Caribbean from New York and Miami. The “long weekend” cruises are due to depart Thursdays and feature a full-day visit to Bermuda which is advertised on the cruise line’s website as a place “where guests can relax on the island’s legendary pink beaches, enjoy snorkeling, kayaking and other water sports, and visit historical landmarks such as Royal Naval Dockyard and Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, the oldest cast iron lighthouse in the Western Hemisphere”. Five four-day Bermuda cruises will be offered, departing May 24, June 21, July 19, August 16 and September 13, 2018. Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line said: “Bermuda is a beautiful and sought-after destination and what better way to visit this breathtaking island paradise than on the spectacular Carnival Horizon? These visits to Bermuda are part of Carnival Horizon’s terrific inaugural schedule that also features top destinations throughout Europe and the Caribbean, providing our guests with opportunities to create wonderful and fun memories together.” Currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, Carnival Horizon will offer indoor and outdoor dining, bar, entertainment and activity options that debuted on Carnival Vista. Included is a groundbreaking bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction called SkyRide, an IMAX Theatre and a massive Waterworks aqua park featuring a water tube slide called Kaleid-o-slide. A variety of unique dining and bar concepts and spectacular outdoor spaces found only on Carnival Horizon will be announced in the near future.

2016. December 14. A Bermudian firm has won a bid to run two ferries between Dockyard and St George for Norwegian Cruise Lines. Cruiseport Ferry Management, owned by experienced mariner Beau Evans, will operate the two 85-foot catamarans from next July. The boats, built by NCL and thought to be worth between $3 million and $4 million each, will carry up to 250 passengers each and run regularly between the two destinations. The service, to be entirely staffed by Bermudians, will provide a massive boost in transport capacity to St George. Senator Michael Fahy, the Minister of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities, said the service would “more than double” the service to the island’s former capital. Mr Evans holds Department of Marine & Ports class C pilot’s licence, as well as having a Standards of Training, Certification and Watch Keeping for Seafarers qualification, which includes proficiency in marine safety, security, firefighting and first aid. Mr Fahy said: “Mr Evans has an in-depth knowledge of the Bermuda marine industry, possessing a long history in the field of marine operations and services as well as experience in cruise ship operations. I am also very pleased to announce that the captains, crews and all of the associated support staff for this venture will be Bermudian.” NCL submitted a request for proposal to run their boats in August. Kenny Bascome, Junior Minister of Tourism, a St George’s MP, said: “This increase in business will provide an important boost to the number of visitors to the Olde Towne. It is anticipated that the catamarans will be based in St George’s during the winter months for repairs and maintenance, providing a further boost to the St George’s economy. This is yet another step forward in improving tourism in St George’s — the jewel in the crown of Bermuda’s tourism product.” Bill Hanbury, CEO of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, said earlier this year that the ferries, which will create up to ten jobs, are expected to run on the island until 2022. Mr Hanbury added that the new service would augment to public ferry system rather than supplant it and the investment was not one Bermuda could have afforded on its own. NCL ships from its Regent Seven Seas and Oceania premium lines will also make a dozen calls to St George next year.

2016. October 27. Businesses in struggling St George yesterday welcomed news that the Olde Towne will next year play host to 16 cruise ships. And they said that the callers — up from the four ships that visited the port this year — would bring a boost to the local economy in their wake. David Zuill, co-owner of Davidrose jewellery store in Water Street, said: “I would assume it’s good news — next year is looking like a positive situation for everyone. It’s not just because of the cruise ships, but because of the America’s Cup and the influx of superyachts and megayachts into the town. The extra cruise ships are an added bonus, however, I’m not sure if this will continue up to the following year after the America’s Cup and if we will see more cruise ships coming every year.” Mr Zuill added that the decision by Norwegian Cruise Lines to station two ferries in Bermuda to shuttle passengers from Dockyard to St George would also increase visitor numbers. He said: “That’s a bonus as well — we have a problem with transportation and that will relieve a lot of stress in terms of transportation into St George’s and getting people around. More ferries means more people in the town.” Mr Zuill was speaking after it was announced that Norwegian Cruise Lines would increase calls by its smaller premium brands, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas. Ships from the two lines will visit St George a total of 12 times in 2017. Danny Gogoi, restaurant operations manager at The White Horse pub and restaurant on the town’s King’s Square, said: “To have a captive customer base like that helps tremendously. We have seen in the past that even a small ship makes a huge amount of difference during the day.” Mr Gogoi said that visitors from cruise ships in Dockyard tended to leave in the early evening due to transport restrictions. But he added: “This will improve things tremendously, especially in the evening and for the nightlife, when you might have a thousand people. It just makes a huge difference.” And Mr Gogoi said NCL’s decision to base two 250-capacity shuttle boats in Bermuda was “a brilliant move. They wanted their guests to do more than just be on a cruise ship. To come up with this service over and above the Government ferry service is fantastic. It represents a sizeable increase in visitor numbers and something we’re looking forward to. It encourages us to spend more and invest more. Over the years, we have seen so many businesses shut down, unfortunately, because we didn’t have a captive audience like Dockyard and Hamilton.” Theresa Gibbons, manager of the Island Store in St George’s said: “It’s a 300 per cent increase in cruises — that’s amazing. The NCL cruise ships that are coming in are high-end cruise ships that hold about 700 passengers, which is very good for us. We’re very much looking forward to next year being busy from beginning to end.” Isabelle Ramsay-Brackstone, owner of the Bermuda Perfumery, added: “The news of cruise ships to Bermuda for next summer is amazing. We are very happy that the BTA is working for St George’s.” Geza Wolf, of Wahoo’s restaurant on Water Street, said: “Any ship and every ship that comes in is more than welcome. Every little helps — that’s the truth and it helps to create an atmosphere in St George’s. I have no complaints. We will take what we can get and with the America’s Cup, May and June will be just crazy. It looks like it will be an amazing year and we’re very hyped up and getting ready for a very, very busy summer.” Kendaree Burgess, executive director at the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, added: “It’s good news. Anybody who lives and works in St George’s will be happy with the additional cruise ship visitors. With dedicated cruise ships, the restaurants, retail and local businesses will see a huge boost. That’s significant and it will be welcomed. It will also give a lot of the area’s businesses an opportunity to create opportunities and excursions around the extra people who will be in St George’s.

2016. October 25. A number of cruise ships have been lined up to visit the island during next year’s America’s Cup. And Bermuda Tourism Authority is attempting to lure even more. During the month of June, when most of the America’s Cup races will be held, the Fred Olsen Line will send their ship Boudicca to Bermuda from June 22-25. And the same company, in coordination with the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA), is planning to offer America’s Cup packages for the event. Celebrity Cruise Line’s Celebrity Summit will make an extended stay from June 22-25. All told, the island will see 162 cruise ship visits next year, up from 151 in 2016. This will include 16 for St George’s and 23 for Hamilton, up from four and 16 respectively, according to the Bermuda Government and the BTA. BTA CEO Bill Hanbury said in a statement: “Our stakeholders told us it was important to recruit more cruise calls to Hamilton and St George’s and I’m proud to say we have delivered. Our team went out to create and cultivate important cruise industry relationships over the past two years, then worked with the tourism ministry to close the deals. We know these additional calls may be the difference between make or break for some of our tourism industry partners, particularly in the east end.” According to a press release, Norwegian Cruise Line has planned to provide two tenders to transport their guests between Dockyard and St George’s next year. The carrying capacity of the two tenders is a combined total of 500 passengers. They will work alongside the normal ferry service already operating between the two hubs. The Corporation of St George’s and the Government have also partnered to upgrade the existing cruise and ferry infrastructure at Penno’s Wharf. Senator Michael Fahy, the tourism minister, stated: “With the significant increase in calls and the improvements we’ve made with water transport and maritime infrastructure, 2017 has the potential to be a game changer for the East End. These luxury brands bring to Bermuda exactly the kind of premium traveller we have been pursuing. I expect 2017 to be a year of busy cobblestone streets, active shops and bustling attractions for St George’s. And not far off is a new St Regis hotel which will bring increased air visitors to the old town, perfectly complementing the cruise lines we’ve attracted.” The release says the increase in the number of cruise calls to St George’s was made possible through negotiations with Norwegian Cruise Line which was encouraged to increase the number of times its smaller premium brands visited the island. Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas brands will call on St George’s 12 times in 2017 and on Hamilton twice. Meantime, also in Hamilton, the luxury brand Viking Ocean Cruises will come to Bermuda for the first time, making two calls with its Viking Sea and Viking Sky. Other cruise developments in 2017:

2016. October 25. Passengers scheduled to join a cruise ship in Bermuda were left disappointed at the weekend after the liner cancelled its call at Dockyard due to bad weather. The Anthem of the Seas was due to arrive in Bermuda on Saturday morning for a daylong trip before returning to Cape Liberty in New Jersey the same day. However, the cruise ship diverted away from the island due to an area of low pressure and heavy Atlantic seas and traveled to St Maarten in the Caribbean instead. The liner had looked to bypass Bermuda, sail south first and then stop off in Bermuda this week on the way back to New Jersey. But those plans had to be scrapped as the Norwegian Breakaway was scheduled to be at Heritage Wharf on the days the Anthem of the Seas was looking to berth. The decision by the cruise liner meant passengers hoping to join the ship in Bermuda had to make alternative arrangements.

2016. August 25. A multimillion dollar investment in two catamarans by Norwegian Cruise Line will create up to ten jobs in Bermuda. Bill Hanbury, CEO of the Bermuda Tourism Authority said the catamarans, with a 250-passenger capacity each, would be used to transport Norwegian cruise ship passengers from Dockyard to St George. Mr Hanbury added: “As part of the negotiations with NCL and as part of their new five-year agreement, which is now in place, they will provide Bermuda with additional lift between St George’s and Dockyard, which is sorely needed.” He was speaking after NCL advertised for a Bermudian operator with “in-depth knowledge of the marine industry” to run the ferries on behalf of the cruise line. Mr Hanbury said: “They will augment our public ferry system, not supplant it any way whatsoever. “We have a brilliant ferry system which is a huge asset and we put a lot of value on it, but this will accommodate Norwegian’s passengers specifically between two destinations which are a very big part of the Bermuda tourist product.” NCL declined to comment on the move, which will see the ferries run on island until 2022, and referred all questions to the BTA. It is thought the new ferries will cost between $3 million and $4 million each. Mr Hanbury said: “This is a positive thing. This is an investment we could not make on our own. They may help us, particularly when they have very high demand periods, with some lifts which will accommodate other visitors, but this is predominantly for NCL passengers, who sometimes struggle between Dockyard and St George’s. It also frees space on the public ferries, which also accommodates our visitors.” Michael Fahy, the Minister for Tourism, Transport and Municipalities, said: “The ministry welcomes this exciting new partnership ... NCL have agreed to procure the tenders and bring them to Bermuda, where they will be maintained by NCL. While it is expected to provide between six and ten new jobs for Bermudians to operate the tender service, it may also breathe new life into the town of St George. Increased vibrancy for the Olde Towne should create jobs in restaurants, retail stores, at the beaches and at various east end attractions. We also expect an increased number of fares for taxis and minibuses as a result.”

2016. May 12. Twelve extra cruise ships are to call on St George from 2017 to 2022 as part of a deal announced yesterday with Norwegian Cruise Line. The agreement with the Bermuda Government includes bringing two catamaran ferries to the island for a run from Dockyard to the East End, along with a yearly investment of $150,000 by NCL to sponsor tourism enhancement in co-operation with the Bermuda Tourism Authority. The deal was welcome news for the Olde Towne, which for years has been penalized by the trend for ever-larger cruise ships. Announcing the deal, Michael Dunkley described NCL as “one of our most respected and longest-serving partners”, and noted that cruise passengers spent about $45 million in Bermuda last year. “Both the Government and NCL believe that if we are to continue to prosper, then maintaining a strong, lasting and mutually beneficial partnership is a must,” the Premier said. At a press conference at the Cabinet Building, Mr Dunkley was joined by Frank Del Rio, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Lines, and Colin Murphy, senior vice-president of destination and strategic development. “We recognise that the global cruise industry is an ever evolving one and for many visitor markets, like Bermuda, it is a key economic contributor,” Mr Dunkley said. “We understand that in the face of increasing competition from other visitor markets, as a destination we too must adapt to the current industry trends, or risk getting left behind.” The boosted service to the Olde Towne “will aid greatly in the revitalization of St George’s”, he added. The commissioning of two new ferries, both their construction and delivery to the island, is taking place in consultation with the Department of Marine and Ports Services. The Premier said other agreements were potentially in the works. According to Bill Hanbury, the CEO of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, there are 23 calls on Hamilton set for next year. Mr Dunkley said that in discussion with NCL “we will continue to look at opportunities to bring more into Hamilton”. Hailing the collective effort between the Government and the BTA, Mr Hanbury said it was “very important that we continue to focus on the cruise line industry, which provides a tremendous boost to the overall economy”. St George has long been hampered as a port by the cruise industry’s trend towards increasingly bigger vessels, but Mr Del Rio said NCL would be directing Oceania and Regent Seven Seas Brand luxury vessels to the East End, with roughly 700 passenger capacities. This will include a new Seven Seas Explorer, which he described as the “most luxurious cruise ship ever built”, and which could call on Bermuda by the winter of 2017/18. Calling the deal a favorable one for NCL as well as Bermuda’s economy, Mr Del Rio added: “They will spend two to three days on the island — and they have got deep pockets.”

2015. November 18. Cruise calls and passenger numbers are expected to increase significantly next year. An additional 15 cruise calls will be made to the Island compared with last year, while both St George’s and Hamilton will see an increase in cruise visitors during the season. Next year will also see the maiden voyage of the Royal Caribbean International liner, Anthem of the Seas, which carries 4,365 passengers — a handful more than the Norwegian Breakaway, which had previously held the record in Bermuda for the ship with the largest passenger capacity. According to the 2016 cruise schedule, which has just been released, there will be 151 cruise calls next year — the highest figure since 2012. The five regular callers — Summit, Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Breakaway, Anthem of the Seas and Grandeur of the Seas — will make 98 visits to Dockyard in 2016. Meanwhile, 53 visits will be made by “occasional callers” — an increase from 36 in the previous year. St George's is scheduled to host five different ships during the season, while Hamilton will welcome 14 liners, including four trips by the Holland America Line vessel, Veendam. Between March and April, four liners — Minerva, AIDAavita, Albatros and Balmoral — will dock at Penno’s Wharf, while in October the Sirena will call into the town. Mayor Quinell Francis told The Royal Gazette: “We see this as a step in the right direction. It’s pretty much a 100 per cent increase on what we had last year, and we remain hopeful that in the future we can secure a regular cruise ship in St George again. We are looking at all the options. Furthermore we have already been told that for 2017 there will be a permanent cruise ship with 500 rooms based at Penno’s Wharf, so that will obviously be a big boost to the town as well.” Meanwhile, as well as hosting the Veendam on four trips, Hamilton will welcome more than a dozen liners throughout the season, some of which, such as the Balmoral, Sirena, Insignia, Adonia and Viking King, will be visiting Bermuda for the first time. Kendaree Burgess, the executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are happy to see an increase in the number of cruise ships and passengers. The Hamilton stores and the Harbour Nights retailers and vendors will appreciate the extra visitors. Naturally the chamber is supportive of the increase in visitor numbers.”

2015. October 22. Dredging work on the North Channel will begin before the end of the month so Bermuda’s shipping ways can accommodate the latest generation of cruise ship next year. The dredging and widening of the channel that runs from off St George’s towards Dockyard is expected to take a month to complete, but will not affect cruise liners calling in the West End. Specialized equipment that will complete the operation has already begun to arrive in Bermuda, with more vessels arriving today and tomorrow in Dockyard and Hamilton. The material collected from the dredging project will be moved to the South Basin in Dockyard where it will be used in the America’s Cup village project. Nearly 600 corals have already been relocated from the North Channel to adjacent reefs and are being monitored. Joe Simas, vice-president of marine operations for the Meyer group of companies, told The Royal Gazette: “Jan de Nul Group will be conducting the North Channel dredge. Suction dredger Niccolo Machiavelli along with two Splithopper barges Astrolabe and Boussole will be working in North Channel and The Narrows widening the channels. This will be a 24-7 operation and weather depending should be completed by end of November. The material from the dredge operation will be landed at South Basin for the America’s Cup Village project. Jan de Nul Group are experts in this field of work.” A statement released by the Cabinet Office last night confirmed that the dredging work was being done to accommodate Royal Caribbean International’s quantum class of ship that are expected to call in Bermuda in 2016. The beginning of the project comes after the Government held a series of town-hall meetings to gauge the public’s opinions on the dredging options. The Ministry of Public Works also commissioned an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to explore the positive and negative impacts of each option. The latest October update on the Bermuda Channel Study website states: “Dredging will commence in late October to avoid main coral and fish spawning season. A turbidity monitoring plan developed by the Department of Environmental Protection is being implemented with stringent action thresholds for turbidity excellencies. Deployment mobilization of the buoys has commenced.” 

2013. Bermuda's Members of Parliament changed the law, to allow cruise ship casinos to remain open, after prolonged intensive lobbying from cruise ship lines which pointed out that this restriction applied nowhere else in the cruise ship world. MPs enacted Bermuda's Cruise Ship (Casino) Act 2013. On-board casinos can now operate between 9pm and 5am, in return for a license fee per ship payable to the Bermuda Government. Cruise ships have to be in port for one night or more to qualify. The use of the casino is to be limited to passengers on board the ship only. No local residents or visitors to the ship will be allowed to participate in casino activities.


Cruise ship gambling

Bermuda-bound cruise ships US and European ports of departure include:

Cruise ship off Bermuda

Cruise ship off Bermuda

Contract and other cruise ships

Bermuda-bound cruise passengers need to know:

Norwegian Breakaway in Bermuda May 15, 2013

Norwegian Breakaway's arrival in Bermuda at Dockyard

Two cruise ships in Bermuda

Cruise ships at Dockyard

Bermuda Cruise ship port - (1) City of Hamilton

    Hamilton Bermuda

    Bermuda's City of Hamilton is the most central by far of Bermuda's three cruise ship ports but the city's harbour and docks can only accommodate up to medium-size cruise ships, no mega-ships.

    Veendam in City of Hamilton

    Cruise ship Veendam docked in City of Hamilton. Royal Gazette photos above and below

    Cruise ship Veendam in Hamilton

The city is in the center part of Bermuda, 15 miles from the Town of St. George) and has 2 cruise ship berths, the # 1 Passenger Terminal; and # 5 & 6 Passenger Terminal. Both can take ships of up to 750 feet in length - small and medium-size cruise ships. Bermuda's highest-rated port by a huge margin, also the most central, easiest to get to and from, with biggest choice of shopping and facilities. Two Rock Passage has been the entrance to Hamilton Harbour since 1896. A huge advantage here is that passengers can walk off ships docked here and be right in the city. A port city for hundreds of years and Bermuda's single main attraction and main shopping area by a very wide margin.  From here there are frequent by-day buses and ferry service going east to the Town of St. George (about 1 hour) and west to the Royal Naval Dockyard (about 1 hour).

From here there are many options. By land. See Bermuda Beaches. By bus or taxi or moped/scooter. John Smith's Bay in Smith's Parish is a lovely public beach about 30 minutes by the # 1 bus every half hour during the day. Other public beaches are ( the public section of) Elbow Beach in Paget Parish, on the # 7 bus route; Warwick Long Bay (another personal favorite) in Warwick Parish, on the # 7 bus route; Horseshoe Bay in Southampton Parish, on the # 7 bus route; Church Bay, also in Southampton Parish, also # 7 bus route. Or, if you prefer a more leisurely pastime, head into Devonshire or Paget, on either side of the city, and walk along a relevant part of the Railway Trail. By sea. Go fishing, on a licensed commercial fishing boat operating a whole day or half-day service. Some fishing boats, by prior arrangement with you and your cruise line, will meet you either where your cruise ship docks or elsewhere convenient to you. Go by ferry to Dockyard and/or Town of St. George, a gorgeous way - and the least expensive of all trips by boat - to see the western and eastern parishes. Marine sightseeing tours. There are a number of options, all leaving from Albouy's Point near the Ferry Terminal. Rent a Boston whaler. Ask for a map and directions. A special recommendation, if you or a member of your family or group or a friend can handle such a boat is go to Paradise Lake - not served by ferry - passing a number of islands, for gorgeous swimming, a picnic and sightseeing of a type most cruise ship visitors won't experience.

Bermuda Cruise ship port - (2) King's Wharf/Heritage Wharf/Dockyard

King's Wharf, Dockyard

King's Wharf (and Heritage Wharf adjacent) are the most westerly of Bermuda's three cruise ship ports, the only ones in Bermuda that can accommodate large cruise ships. From here, there are frequent public transport ferries and buses to the major shopping areas of the City of Hamilton and historic St. George's.

Cruise ship at Dockyard 2

Cruise ship at King's Wharf, Dockyard

Cruise ship at Dockyard

King's WharfThe only port in Bermuda where large vessels can berth. At the former Royal Naval Dockyard, at former islands now joined to the mainland in Somerset, Sandy's Parish. This is the westernmost part of Bermuda. There are frequent but often full buses going west to and east from here and ferries to and from the City of Hamilton, Bermuda's capital. Public-transport ferries are more enjoyable and quicker than the public transport buses. Shopping is mostly at the Clocktower Mall - within walking distance of cruise ships docked here. From this port, the nearest village is sleepy Somerset, going east. Buses go there but ferries do not. Building and subsequent modifications to Dockyard’s two cruise ship wharfs, Heritage Wharf and King's Wharf,  needed to enable them to accommodate new, larger cruise ships, cost millions of dollars. Heritage Wharf was first opened in 2010 at a cost of $60 million, after originally being budgeted at $35 million. Government also had to repair for a multi-million $ sum, a broken thruster wall.  The hole was caused by the thruster engines of the cruise ship that had moored there, and it has been eroded to such an extent that major repairs were necessary.  Dockyard is both a Historic Preservation Area under the Planning Act and a Marine Heritage Site under the Historic Wrecks Act, because of the numerous artifacts that have been found in the basin. There are historic wrecks still lying in the mud. It is believed they include a couple of historic convict hulks. British convicts were sent to build the Dockyard for Britain's Royal Navy in the early to mid 1800s. By land from here. See Bermuda Beaches. A really nice beach is Somerset Long Bay, a fair walk from where the nearest public bus stop at Mangrove Bay. Or, if you prefer a more leisurely pastime, walk along a relevant part of the Railway Trail. Or indulge in one of the many Watersports options within reach. By sea from here. Go by ferry to City of Hamilton and/or Town of St. George, a gorgeous way - and the least expensive of all trips by boat - to see the central and eastern parishes. Go fishing, on a licensed commercial fishing boat operating a whole day or half-day service. Some fishing boats, will meet you where your cruise ship docks. Rent a Boston whaler. Ask for a map and directions. Then go, keeping to the 5 knot limit in the harbour. Take a day or half day exploration of Ely's Harbour and then a relaxing swim after the harbour to the small beaches of the Daniel's Head Village hotel. To stay legal, go on any beach up to but not beyond the high water mark.  Go at high tide to give you the best chance of evading reefs and shoals.

Cruise passengers awaiting ferry

Cruise passengers ashore at Dockyard lining up to board a ferry to Hamilton. Royal Gazette photo.

Cruise ship moored at Dockyard

Taxi service from Dockyard berths

Bermuda Cruise ship port - (3) Town of St. George

St. George's

St. George's, right, is the most eastern of Bermuda's three cruise ship ports. It can only take smaller cruise ships at its two docks and that depends on whether wind conditions will allow them to enter the narrow Town Cut channel shown below:

2016. October 14. A new ferry stop for St George, including berths for an extra cruise passenger service, is in the works for the Olde Towne. Plans to move the stop to Hunter’s Wharf, which can be viewed at the Department of Planning office, include adding a 2,200 square foot open shelter, landscaping and six parallel parking spots for pick-up and drop-off on Penno’s Drive, opposite the historic Hunter’s Building. The work will extend to the edge of the Penno’s Wharf site, including the rubble seawall lining the harbourside property. Along with a docking space by the southern edge of the wharf, plans show a gangplank jutting from the eastern corner for the bow loading of passengers. Quinell Francis, the Mayor of St George, said the stop would help to accommodate two new Norwegian Cruise Line ferries bringing passengers to and from the town. According to a letter by Michael Kirkos of engineering firm Brunel Ltd, the project requires the creation of two ferry berths — one for bow loading and a second for side loading. The existing marine structure from Works and Engineering will likely be relocated, with the exception of the piled foundations, for the ferry berths. Proposed works include a new reinforced seawall, concrete or paving stone walkways, and sitting areas. In the letter, Mr Kirkos requested an “expedited processing” of the application, explaining that work must be completed by March in time for the America’s Cup. Twelve extra cruise ships are to call on St George each year from 2017 to 2022 as part of a deal between the Bermuda Government and Norwegian Cruise Lines. The agreement also includes bringing two catamaran ferries to the island for the run from Dockyard to the East End, along with a yearly investment of $150,000 by NCL to sponsor tourism enhancement in co-operation with the Bermuda Tourism Authority.

St. George'sAt the East End, or most eastern part of Bermuda (15 miles from the City of Hamilton). (Appears to be north on the map). If small enough, the cruise ship will enter via the narrow Town Cut channel, 220 feet wide - when wind conditions permit, in St. George's Harbor between Gates Fort and Higgs Island. It has been deepened and widened since 1846. But often, if the wind will present a hazard to the ship or passengers or crew, the captain of the cruise ship may elect to avoid St. George's and go to Hamilton instead. The town has berths at Penno's Wharf and Ordnance Island.  Both can take ships of up to 750 feet in length. The town itself is within easy walking distance of the cruise ship berth for most passengers. There are frequent buses and less frequent ferries going to and from Hamilton. There are also periodic seasonal daily ferry services all the way west to the Royal Naval Dockyard. The tender Bermudian, a large ferry capable of carrying up to 700 passengers, services ships which due to to their size are unable to dock in the town. Instead, such ships anchor in Murray's Anchorage, an area off of Fort St. Catherine, weather permitting. The tender may take approximately 1 hour each way to ferry the passengers to Penno's Wharf and the tender may have to make more than one trip each way if there are too many passengers for one trip each way. Government is considering plans for a new cruise ship terminal in St George's. Pennos Wharf would be the likely location for a new terminal. Commercial activity currently taking place at the wharf could be shifted to Marginal Wharf once that had been upgraded. But the Town Cut channel will first have to be widened to allow larger cruise ships access to the town. From here, Go fishing, on a licensed commercial fishing boat operating a whole day or half-day service. Some fishing boats, by prior arrangement with you and your cruise line, will meet you where your cruise ship docks. Or go by sea, rent a boat - a Boston whaler or personal watercraft - for a day or half day.  By land from here. By bus or minibus or taxi or moped/scooter. See Getting Around for Visitors. Arrange with the cruise ship to supply you with a packed lunch and towels. Wear your swimsuit under your clothes. Bring a camera and sun tan lotion. Go by mini-bus to not-far-away places such as public beach Tobacco Bay; private beach Achilles Bay half a mile away; public Fort St. Catherine Beach. See Beaches. By sea from here: Ferries don't go to Paget Island. Residents and visitors can, but always check in advance from where you rent a Boston whaler. Be sure to ask for a map and directions. Then go, keeping to the 5 knot limit in the harbor until you get to the Paget Island beach. Take photographs with no problem but be sure not to litter the beach in any way. Find a little-known-to-tourists island beach, such as those on Paget Island, 10 minutes away by water from the Old Town. It is owned by the Bermuda Government but is accessible by water (only) up to the high tide mark. (Only when you trespass beyond the high water mark will you see the sign telling you not to access without permission). The author recommends it as a lovely romantic getaway, but pick a day when the water is calm. Ferries don't go Castle Harbour. Residents and visitors can, but always check in advance from where you rent a Boston whaler. If Be sure to ask for a map and directions. Then go, keeping to the 5 knot limit in the harbor. Go west from the Town of St. George's via Ferry Reach and under Swing Bridge and then east again under Longbird Bridge into Castle Harbour, for sightseeing or beaching. For best results, go when the tide is low. In Castle Harbour, stop first on the sea side of the small beach exposed at low tide at Cable End, then moor off Castle Island. For more extensive touring, ferries go from here, depending on their timetable, to the City of Hamilton and Dockyard. 

Bermuda-incorporated cruise ship lines

It will surprise you to know how many of the world's leading cruise lines are both flagged and registered in Bermuda and why. 

Queen Mary 2 Bermuda registered

Queen Mary 2 in her new Bermuda-registered livery

P&O Carnival cruise ship Arcadia

P&O cruise ship Arcadia (see below), also registered in Hamilton, Bermuda. 

Instead of Southampton (England) on the ships' hulls Cunard vessels now show "Hamilton," Bermuda. Earlier, there had been speculation this would occur in either Malta (Valetta), from where many of the Cunard ships' crews come, also a major ships' registry like Bermuda, Bahamas, etc. or Bermuda. Being registered, or flagged, in the U.K. means that Cunard lost out on the lucrative business of weddings at sea. UK law, which governed until the change in registry of the three Cunard ships, states that couples can only wed when the ship is in port and the service is conducted by a minister or other notary -– a less romantic proposition than exchanging vows in mid-ocean. But on ships registered in Bermuda or Malta, which include the fleets of Cunard's sister lines, Princess Cruises and P&O Cruises - all already Bermuda-flagged - couples can marry at a service officiated by the captain, in port or at sea. Weddings at sea are now big business. Cunard options included simply keeping the ships registered in Southampton; creating one ‘wedding ship' with Bermudian (never "Bermudan") or Maltese registry; or changing the registration of all three of the line's ships. Cunard elected for the latter. This development has brought Bermuda hundreds of thousands extra in annual fees, to a registry that already takes in about $3 million a year. However, in the UK there was huge disapproval in Southampton following the announcement in the UK. Cunard had been UK-registered for the last 171 years, but has said it will continue to use Southampton as its home port.

There was another reason for Cunard flagging its ships outside the UK, involving a change in European law. The enactment of Britain's Equality Act 2010 requires that staff from countries in the European Union must be paid wages equal to those of British citizens when working on British-registered ships. While many other lines use more crew from countries outside of Europe to save on operating costs, Cunard had been using mostly Europeans or Maltese in the dining rooms and bars. Now, Europeans and Maltese are likely to be replaced by others.

Bermuda beaches

If you visit them, be sure to take a picnic lunch, drinks, camera, swimsuit and towels. For tourists arriving by cruise ship from March through May and September through February, please note only you and possibly a few hardy local souls will want to use the beaches. Most Bermudians won't use them then, they consider the water too cold until late May and after Labour Day. There is an optional ($16 per person round trip) minibus service specifically for cruise ship passengers to go to/from Horseshoe Bay.

Churches and other places of worship

If your cruise ship will be in Bermuda on a Saturday or Sunday or other religiously-significant day and you want to attend Mass or a service ashore, expect the on-board cruise director staff to have full information on what churches and other places of worship are nearby, with times of services, and what public transportation or taxi services are available. 

Cruise ship Health and travel insurance

Bermuda hospital and emergency treatment costs are higher than in the USA.  Always prudently take out travel insurance, spare money and have adequate hospital and medical health insurance to cope with possible unexpected problems in a foreign country, such as Bermuda. In emergencies, contact the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital - note its rate of charges for visitors - in Paget Parish. If you are hospitalized in Bermuda, you or your insurance will always be responsible. Unlike Canada, United Kingdom and Ireland, Bermuda has no National Health Service and no free clinics or free medical or surgical or prescription for visitors. Bermuda does not give free hospital and surgical benefits to visitors from USA who claim they have no health insurance. If you ignore warnings not to hire a scooter or moped unless you are thoroughly used to driving them on the left hand side of the road and don't have healthcare/major medical insurance, you will have to pay and dearly. Affordable local accommodation in Bermuda for spouses or friends or families who come to visit you in hospital, is difficult or impossible to find, especially in the cruise ship or tourist high season from April to November.

Cruise ship marriages

Cruise ship passengers who either arrive in Bermuda or who are on Bermuda-registered cruise ships anywhere else in the world should note  Marriages in Bermuda.

Marriages on board a cruise ship are conducted by either the captain or staff captain. Bermuda-registered ships such as Cunard, P&O and Princess Cruises mean that wedding certificates will be issued by the appropriate Bermuda Government agency and marriages will be under Bermuda law.

Cruise ship visitors and shopping 

Shopping in Bermuda is expensive

Disabled Facilities on Cruise Ships

Veendam in BermudaSee  Bermuda Disability concerns.  Disabled cruise ship passengers visiting American ports are pleasantly surprised by ADA laws applicable there. But cruise lines sailing to Bermuda from American ports should know that Bermuda does NOT have facilities similar to those relevant to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). 

 Physically challenged or blind or hearing impaired or mobility-restricted passengers should check in advance or ask their caregivers do so, what facilities are available for them on the cruise ships of the cruise lines they favor or, when not available, on competing cruise ships. These can vary considerably. Matters of particular importance may include:

Those sailing from US ports to Bermuda are required by US laws have between 15 and 25 disabled cabins and staterooms, more roomy than for the non-disabled. cruise lines and their travel agents should check to see that people really are disabled - wheelchair confined, blind, deaf or ambulatory with a stick - and are registered as such with their state or provincial government agencies, they allow persons who are not disabled to occupy staterooms intended solely for the disabled and their caregivers or carers. Disabled persons, if denied a cabin specifically for the disabled, under American laws But not in other countries) have specific legal remedies if such cabins are instead given by cruise ship operators to persons not officially registered as disabled and don't have appropriate disability and ID documentation to prove it.

Cruise lines don't tell you that if you are disabled in a wheelchair or using crutches or walking sticks or walkers (Zimmer frames) and/or are  otherwise in any way mobility-impaired, you will encounter some substantial difficulties both on and off your cruise ship (on shore excursions). Here are some of the problems:

Cruise ships arriving in Bermuda with blind other otherwise disabled passengers with their own guide dogs should see "Guide Dogs for the Blind or Disabled" below. 

Blind cruise and other visitors who have guide dogs should get their sighted caregivers or family members to apply as long as possible in advance, as all visiting animals including guide dogs that go ashore must be pre-approved.  In all cases, including for cruise ship visitors, a formal application must be made in advance to the Ministry of Environmental Protection. The guide dogs must be licensed and micro chipped in their normal place of residence and be free from any problems that could potentially affect Bermuda. See ApplicationForPermitToImportSmallAnimals.pdf. The same applies to blind newcomers who are not working, with their own guide dogs and dependents of those on work Permits. For all personal importers of pets, there is a strict import and export procedure for their documentation and certification. You can personally import and export animals, usually from the USA but also from Canada and the UK, with sufficient notice (which can be as high as 6 months). Bermuda does NOT have a quarantine period. 

Getting around

This website deals in detail with all the forms of public transport available to visitors and what they can and cannot carry.

Golf Courses in Bermuda

Note how each course is shown with nearest Bermuda port for cruise ship passengers, how best to get there, how close public transportation will go of you do not have your own clubs; and whether public or private. Always check yourself with the course what the rates are as they can vary significantly by time of day and time of year.

Internet and WIFI not free in Bermuda

No free WIFI. Unlike in an increasing number of ports where Internet access and WIFI are free and unrestricted, in Bermuda there is no free WIFI access to cruise ship passengers either from the ship or when going ashore In contrast,  much of the Caribbean, Canary Islands, Europe, have now added free WIFI. Being connected to the Internet at any time and anywhere, from any laptop, smart phone, tablet, etc. is a way to promote and spread the beauty and uniqueness of where they are.  See Internet in Bermuda.

WIFIWIFI hotspot not free

See the following for a 2020 guide on cost of Internet on cruise ships: http://cruiseline.com/bonvoyage/cruising-101/cheat-sheet/what-is-the-cost-of-internet-access-on-cruise-ships- 

Internet Access on most cruise ships remains hugely expensive, slow, poor, restrictive and unreliable. Some cruise ship loyalty programs now include free internet for qualifying repeat passengers but this benefit is of limited value.  On cruise ships, there is usually no notification of the general unreliability. Costs are not reasonable when service is not good. Yet some cruise lines offer as one of their optional services classes and courses in internet and website methodology. Because of the poor quality and huge expense of Internet access on board many cruise ships, many passengers and crew bring their own laptops or notebooks, prepare their notes and comments in advance, wait until they reach a port or a port's shopping centre with free WIFI access, such as is now common in Europe including Amsterdam, Paris, Lisbon, Cadiz, some Canary Islands, Barbados, Curacao and elsewhere in the Caribbean . This author has personally seen how most crew with laptops and frustrated passengers wait for the ship to dock then immediately make a beeline for the nearest Free WIFI shopping plaza. Passengers are not told about this by pursers or other ship staff, they have to find this out for themselves. 

All cruise ships, big and small, irrespective of where they sail, now use pinpoint satellite navigation. Inmarsat has main offices in Dubai, Singapore, Miami, Washington DC and one in Bermuda. The captain, his senior staff, their hotel managers and more, depend on reliable internet satellite navigation to plan their duties, issue daily ship's reports in several additions depending on where the bulk of their passengers come from - USA, UK, Canada, Australia, etc.  Their passengers, who pay dearly for their cruises, do not have the same service. Providing on-board internet access for free or for a moderate cost and at a decent, not exorbitant, price for passengers should a top priority of all cruise lines.  Note also that all cruise lines cruising between New York and other American ports and all from the UK to Bermuda may block Skype.

In all the United Kingdom and Europe, there is now free unrestricted free WIFI on inter-city buses and trains. This not a luxury optional extra but a good-business essential. Many cruise passengers assume wrongly that when they go on an expensive holiday or vacation they will have at least the same, if not better, abilities and Internet facilities on their ships as they do ashore in their homes and places of employment, and at the same price.

Railway Trail

In accessibility to cruise visitors, note the challenges faced.

Road Traffic density

See Getting around for Visitors. Also Transport Options for Residents.

Cruise ship Veendam off St. George's

Veendam in Bermuda

line drawing

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Last Updated: March 20, 2020
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