Holland America Cruise Line Returns to Bermuda After 27 Years
Written by: Kuki
Those transportation modes are fairly easy from the Dockyard, and also hold true of those wanting to visit the sights outside of Hamilton, but it really is so much more convenient being docked in central Hamilton.
The tendering process while the ship is at anchor off of St. George. Due to restrictions put in place by the Bermuda authorities, ships have to drop anchor a considerable distance from the tender pier, requiring approximately a 45 minute tender to the tie up in St. George.
Ships used to anchor in a an area that was much closer to St. George. In fact, the smaller ships used to be allowed to sail into St. George and dock at the pier.
However, with environmental concerns, and concerns about the every growing coral reefs, a further area for ships to anchor has been chosen for all ships stopping at St. George.
We were onboard the third sailing of this New York to Bermuda of Veendam, and the first where sea conditions were considered safe enough to drop and anchor and use the Bermuda tender service to transport guests into St. George. Unfortunately the process did not operate smoothly. Many passengers were late for tours because they missed tender; many tours were cancelled because the tenders ran late; and generally many passengers were left frustrated and angry about the entire process.
Over the next two days many meetings were held between Holland America and the Bermudian authorities in this regard. As I was traveling with a press group, we were given some access to ask questions of Bermuda’s Director of Tourism, and later Veendam’s Captain, Captain Peter J van Maurik. Between the two separate discussions we did seem to receive some conflicting information.
The Director of Tourism for Bermuda stated “they would do whatever is necessary” to make certain the tendering process for St. George visits went more efficiently, and more satisfying for ship’s passengers.
At least in my opinion, the Captain’s explanation of the most likely scenario for future visits, is that there would be a strictly adhered to schedule for the tender. However, guests would be told up front that there would be a minimum of 1 ½ hrs. between tenders, and guests would make an informed decision as to whether they wanted to go ashore or not.
The cause of the tendering problems is most significantly because the ship is not allowed to use it’s own tenders in the process. They are limited to using tenders supplied by Bermuda, and because many of these are used in the regular ferry service within the islands of Bermuda, the number of large ferries (holding 750 people) used for the tendering process from the Veendam is ONE.
During our entire cruise on the Veendam, from NYC to Bermuda and return, I was writing daily live reports from the ship. If you would like to know more about this cruise please feel free to read those daily instalments in the Holland America Message Board on CruiseMates.
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Posted: May 18th, 2010 under Paul Motter.