The damage to our reputation is done
It really was in the Royal Naval Dockyard on Sunday, October 21 with the visit of two cruise ships, one being the famed Disney cruise and a few hundred visitors just milling around endlessly with nothing to do.
It is unfortunate that we, that is, Bermuda, were not prepared for them.
I was under the impression that we were all set to provide for these extra cruises. To my disappointment, and I suppose embarrassment, we were not.
I could not believe it when I saw a line of people from the bus stop located near The Keep entrance facing the closed craft market, all the way back towards the Bonefish Inn car park area waiting for a bus. I would estimate at least five busloads of passengers.
I don’t know how long they had been waiting, but I saw the first bus arrive at 10.15am. This bus displayed a sign saying No 8 Hamilton via Cedar Hill. I hope the first 40 or so people were not hoping to go to Horseshoe Beach.
When that bus left, chock-full, there was still a long line with no other bus on the radar. I did see two more buses at the bus stop at about 11.10am.
It’s amazing that people would wait that long out of their short trip on shore. It seemed operators were trying their best to communicate their frustrations.
On the other side, at the Sea Express Ferry stop, I arrived at 11.12am in time to take the scheduled 11.15am and saw another line of visitors.
I asked about the 11.15am ferry, as there was none in sight, only to be informed at the Visitors’ Information hut that the 11.15 had left early. Why? Because the small ferry that had arrived was full to capacity and the next ferry would be at noon. Another letdown.
A lonely tourism ambassador, Alfred Eve, was there doing his friendly best to defend our lovely island’s good reputation.
Probably the only impressive thing for these visitors to take back, in addition to locals present who were trying to “fly our flag”, was the special, complimentary Historical Walking Tour that was specially arranged for the Disney Cruise passengers, at which 16 people attended.
The rest were waiting for buses or ferries. Each one of those disappointed people may in turn tell several other people about their bad experience.
Imagine the damage done, even though they may be “low-end spenders”. What a shame when so many are trying to do their bit.
Going forward, there are two more Disney Cruises scheduled for this month — tomorrow and Wednesday. Fortunately, neither of those is a Sunday. Bermuda, let’s do better next time.
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