First cruise ship of 2012 visits
Bermuda proved to be the calm after the storm for the Island’s first cruise ship visitors of the season, as the
Artania arrived at Heritage Wharf, Dockyard.
Pursued from New York by the same frontal system that brought yesterday’s high winds, the ship had a bumpy ride.
Cruise director Klaus Gruschka said the 877 mainly German-speaking guests were a little seasick from the trip down, but mostly keen to experience the Island.
“Our passengers are very interested in excursions,” he said. “They want to see landscapes, museums, not just get drunk.” A bus took many away on an island tour, while others braved the ferry, keen to see more of Bermuda.
Mr Gruschka said the Artania was making its first stop in Bermuda, as part of a 99-day cruise that started on December 21 in Genoa, Italy. It was scheduled to cruise for the Dominican Republic this morning.
There was no shortage of transportation, observed Bermudian bus supervisor Maxwell Burrows.
“This place was rammed with taxis when they arrived,” he said. “All along the dock. I never saw so many in my life.
“You can tell a lot of people out there are desperate for a dollar, mate.”
Three tour buses with interpreters were waiting for the visitors, many of whom hailed from Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Capturing more German cruises through Aida cruise lines was touted as a coup for the Island last year, and yesterday’s guests were much welcomed by Dockyard businesses.
“It’s been great,” said Bone Fish Bar and Grill manager Craig Smyth. “We’re looking after them. I’ve heard no complaints about the buses.”
With a smattering of French, Italian and German, Mr Smyth said he had enough to get by.
A Makin’ Waves employee looked on happily at the new arrivals but said a translator might be helpful.
According to Mr Gruschka, many of the older visitors didn’t get English as a top priority in school, and many disembarking tourists struggled for words when approached by
The Royal Gazette.
“I hope with your help to get a bus to go by bus to another part,” said William, an Austrian visitor. “Maybe a ferry to Hamilton. But most is closed today, no?”
“It’s great to see a ship,” enthused local vendor Joanne Waldron, with stands for fish chowder and Ariel’s Cookies as well as Horton’s Black Rum Cakes. “They’re only just getting off the boat still.
“We’re sponsored by the Department of Tourism and we’re here all year round, but this is where the summer starts.”
Alex Steiner, of Nordrhein-Westfalen, said he and his parents joined the ship in Jamaica for a few weeks’ cruise.
“I think the Island is great, very interesting, and this is much warmer than New York,” he said, adding: “I am feeling a little bit sick, so I’m going back to the ship, but maybe I will come to the city in the evening.”
Düsseldorf natives Jurgen and Brigitta Schulz enjoyed a beer with friends outside the Clock Tower Mall.
With a smile, Mr Schulz admitted he found Bermuda “a little expensive”.
“Two beers for $16?” he said. “I think that’s too much. Perhaps we will go to Hamilton. Shops are closed.”
Shopkeeper Muna Vallis of Fair Trade said: “We’re looking forward to the season. We need it to be busy.”
Seven Seas Mariner is scheduled to call next, in Hamilton, on the 21st. The Marina is booked to arrive in Dockyard on the 22nd.
Mr Gruschka’s wife Silvia and young son Maximillian were shopping nearby.
“We’ve been already twice here and we really like Bermuda,” she said. “The beaches and corals are lovely and it’s very quiet.”
Artania, formerly the
Artemis, is scheduled for just one Bermuda stop this season, but locals may want to brush up on their German for later this year, when the
AIDAluna is booked to return for three visits following last year’s inaugural trip. The vessel holds 2,100 people.
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