Cruise ship welcomed in St George’s
St George's welcomed the Seven Seas Navigator for the first of a series of scheduled visits to the East End yesterday.
Mayor Quinell Francis and area MP Kenneth Bascome celebrated the ship's arrival in the historic town in a brief press conference yesterday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Senator Michael Fahy, the tourism minister, said the vessel's arrival was the culmination of long-term efforts to bring small cruise ships back to St George's.
“It is not said often enough, but St George is not just an historic town and Bermuda's former capital, it is an important part of these Bermuda islands and its success is an integral part of Bermuda's future success,” he said. “This is the reason the Government has advanced significant initiatives to breathe new life into the East End.”
He later added: “It's great to celebrate what we can achieve together. And I'm happy to say that Bermuda's friends at NCL are delivering on a commitment to work with the Government of Bermuda, the Bermuda Tourism Authority and the Town of St George to boost the fortunes of the East End after far too many years of limited economic momentum.”
Mr Fahy also noted the St Regis hotel project in St George's and the new airport terminal building, both of which he said would bring economic activity to the area.
“In 2012, we promised to be a reliable partner and help bring recovery to St George's, and we haven't finished yet,” he said.
Government announced last year that St George's would receive an additional 12 cruise ship visits annually between 2017 and 2022 through a partnership with NCL.
The agreement included bringing ferries to the island to run from Dockyard to the East End, along with a yearly investment of $150,000 by NCL to sponsor tourism enhancement in co-operation with the BTA.
Ms Francis described the arrival as a “milestone” for St George's, saying the town welcomed the arrival of additional cruise visits.
“We are delighted that NCL has partnered with the Bermuda Government to ensure that small cruise ships are able to traverse Town Cut and berth here at Penno's Wharf. NCL has discovered what St Georgians have known for a century — our unique and rich history.”
She noted that, in recent months. the town has undergone several infrastructure projects, including maintenance work at the terminal building.
“The residents and businesses of St George stand poised and ready to extend the hand of friendship and welcome these visitors to our town,” she said. Mr Bascome meanwhile said it was a great pleasure to be part of the “renaissance” of the town, thanking representatives from NCL for their commitment to the island.
Kevin Dallas, CEO of the BTA, meanwhile said it was a proud day for the authority, adding: “Having ships back in St George and having a viable, vibrant tourism economy in St George has been a long-term priority for us really, since the inception of the BTA.”
Captain Ubaldo Armellino also spoke briefly, calling Bermuda one of the most beautiful islands in the world and saying he was sure the passengers would enjoy their time in Bermuda.