Cruise ship boost ‘amazing’ for St George
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”.
He added: “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 inicrase 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.”