Efforts underway to attract new cruise ships after Island loses Veendam
Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert is hopeful new cruise ships will be brought to the Island to soften the blow of losing the Veendam from 2013.
The new Cabinet member also backed Transport Minister Derrick Burgess efforts to find a way of ensuring the Island wont suffer in the long-term despite suffering snubs from both the Veendam and Carnival Cruise Lines.
Mr Furbert told a press conference yesterday larger cruise ships are expected to make their way to the Island in 2013.
We may lose some numbers on the Veendam, but gain some on another ship, so we may still have the same numbers, he said.
He said cruise arrivals had climbed from 100,000 to 350,000 a year in recent times but Government had announced in this months Throne Speech it is planning to try and convert cruise visitors to air visitors.
I believe Transport Minister Derrick Burgess will do all he can to find a solution so the economic impact for the Veendam moving out of Bermuda will not be long-term, he added.
Earlier, Mr Burgess had confirmed in a statement that Holland America Lines Veendam will not be returning to Bermuda in 2013.
The vessel has been serving Bermuda since 2010, making weekly sailings from New York, tendering from Murrays Anchorage in St Georges on Tuesdays and docking in Hamilton on Wednesdays to Fridays.
She is one of the few remaining small cruise ships capable of docking in Hamilton.
It is unfortunate that Holland America Line is withdrawing the Veendam from Bermuda in 2013, stated the Minister.
Apparently, the New York to Bermuda schedule was not meeting their revenue projections, and they have decided to deploy the ship to another location. The Veendam is scheduled to make 19 calls to Bermuda in 2012.
Last month, Carnival Cruises revealed it is axing 11 of its 12 visits to Bermuda in 2012, after a last-minute change of heart.
And a recent series of town hall meetings on the Channel Study heard less than 30 cruise ships are capable of docking St Georges and Hamilton, with one third of them set for retirement in the next few years.
Governments statement yesterday added that older and smaller ships will no longer be able to compete head-to-head with the newer and larger cruise ships being built today. Those new ships will not be capable of docking in St Georges and Hamilton.
We continue to pursue the availability of small cruise ships for St Georges and Hamilton, but the reality is those ships that are available are mostly luxury and premium cruise brands doing worldwide itineraries or are no longer competitive in the North American market, stated Mr Burgess.
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