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Furbert: Bermuda on course for a bumper cruise ship season

Ministry of Transport officials with representatives of Carnival Cruise Lines. (Photograph supplied)

Forecasts for the island’s 2023 cruise ship season have grown, with the potential of a $200 million economic boost for the island.

Wayne Furbert, the Minister of Transport, said the island is preparing for 224 calls in 2023 — slightly more than the 222 announced by his predecessor, Lawrence Scott, in October.

“The 2023 cruise ship season projections are very promising, and we are on course to return or potentially exceed pre-pandemic levels,” he said. “Our team is preparing for 224 calls with seven scheduled next month commencing with the arrival of the Norwegian Gem on January 4.

"Next year, the total estimated economic impact is $200 million, an increase of 28 per cent over 2022's estimated economic impact. The capacity projections for 2023 are estimated at 80 per cent or 559,000 cruise ship passengers.

“Revenue is estimated at $146.3 million in passenger and crew spending, $23.6 million in passenger tax, $10.2 million in transport infrastructure tax, $6.6 million in visitor fees and $12.4 million in cruise ship port expenses.”

Mr Furbert added that meetings with the Royal Caribbean Group, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd and Carnival Cruise Line were “very productive”.

Meanwhile Holland America Line - a part of Carnival Corporation - announced that Bermuda would be added to two transatlantic itineraries in the 2024 season.

The cruise ship Nieuw Statendam will visit Bermuda enroute from Fort Lauderdale to France in April 2024, while the Zuiderdam will visit in May as it crosses from Fort Lauderdale to Ireland.

In 2018, 180 cruise ship visits were scheduled, and 193 were scheduled in 2019, although owing to cancellations the number of actual visits recorded were 171 and 184, respectively.

It was expected that 2020 would be a banner year for cruise ship visits with 196 calls on the schedule, but the global pandemic devastated the industry, resulting in only four of the calls coming to fruition.

Meanwhile, 179 visits were scheduled last year, with only 36 recorded.

This year, 181 cruise visits were originally anticipated to take place. However, at least 15 visits were cancelled because of weather and issues related to the island’s Covid testing policy.

Last month Mr Furbert said about 395,000 cruise ship passengers visited the island this year, injecting about $156.1 million into the economy.

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Published December 21, 2022 at 7:53 am (Updated December 21, 2022 at 7:53 am)

Furbert: Bermuda on course for a bumper cruise ship season

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