Cruise-ship visitor numbers to rise
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 George’s’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.
• 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
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