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Veendam, we are going to miss you!

Veendam and her 1,400 passengers leave Bermuda today for the last time in 2015 much to the disappointment of retailers and businesses in the capital.

The Holland America liner has completed six trips between Boston and the Island this year and a further four are scheduled for the 2016 cruise season.

However stores and restaurants hope that Veendam will return more frequently in 2017 and Government can secure other cruise ships to stop in Hamilton in the long term.

Paula Clarke, chair of the retail branch of the Chamber of Commerce said: “It is disappointing that the Veendam will not be back again in 2015 and that her schedule for this year has finished.

“Apart from the obvious positive impact a cruise ship on Front Street has on retail sales, tourist excursions, bar and restaurant sales, their presence on Front Street add vitality and vibrancy to the City of Hamilton.

“They are in themselves a tourist attraction, hotel guests are enthralled by the closeness and largeness of the ships docked in Hamilton Harbour.”

The ship had been a regular caller between 2010 and 2012 and was the only regular caller to dock in Hamilton.

She was initially supposed to call in St George but the liner was deemed too big to transit Town Cut and therefore berthed in the city.

Holland America pulled Veendam out of Bermuda at the end of 2012 and she returned to the Island this year for the first time in three years.

Ms Clarke added: “Ideally, a good cruise season would see cruise ships in Hamilton Harbour every week of the season.

“We understand that the six trips this year and the three trips next year were all that could be scheduled for the Veendam and there are size issues that prevent many cruise ships coming into Hamilton.

“However we are hopeful that in 2017 the Veendam will visit Hamilton more frequently and other ships will stop in the city as well during the cruise season. Bermuda’s doors are open and we would very much welcome more ships in Hamilton.”