Bermuda Cruise Arrivals Rebounding Despite Early Cancellations

Bermuda Cruise Arrivals Rebounding Despite Early Cancellations

by Brian Major
on April 18, 2023
Last updated: 4:35 PM ET, Tue April 18, 2023

Carnival Sunrise cruise ship in Bermuda

Carnival Sunrise docked at Bermuda’s Royal Naval Dockyard. (photo by Brian Major)

Despite several early season cruise call cancellations, Bermuda
tourism officials expect the territory to host 500,000 shipboard visitors in 2023,
as the destination works to rebuild post-outbreak cruise arrival numbers.

Bermuda’s Royal Naval Dockyard, the territory’s main cruise
port, has lost half of its 20 scheduled cruise ship calls at its King’s Wharf and
Heritage Wharf piers based on cruise schedule data reported by the Bermuda Royal Gazette.

The cancellations came as operators had their ships bypass Bermuda
for calmer seas amid storms. In March, five of the first nine cruise ship calls
scheduled at the Dockyard were canceled. The facility hosted 354,000 cruise ship passengers in 2022,
said officials at a March information session for 180 hospitality sector,
government and industry association professionals. 

Officials from the port’s operator, the West End
Development Corporation (WEDCO), expect a “banner year” in 2023, with more than
500,000 visitors expected at the facility. 

Bermuda will “see
an increase in calls in April, October, November and December,” said Wayne
Furbert, Bermuda’s minister of transport, in a Gazette interview.

Bermuda’s rebounding shipboard arrivals are bringing the
territory’s cruise business back to pre-pandemic levels after its cruise
business virtually collapsed under the weight of the pandemic.

Bermuda hosted only 6,457 cruise passengers in 2020,
according to Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) data, a 99 percent decline
from pre-pandemic 2019, when the territory received 535,541 cruise passengers.

Six Dockyard businesses have closed since 2019, the Gazette
reports, while a handbag and accessories vendor has opened a store in the port’s
Clocktower Mall and two small booth vendors have been added at the Dockyard. 

A complimentary historical walking tour of Dockyard will be
offered on Tuesdays and Fridays, the Gazette reports and a new information
kiosk funded by the Dockyard’s Diamonds International outlet will be staffed by
a WEDCO intern.

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