Wrong direction: Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas, above, is actually embarking from Fort Lauderdale to Bermuda and not from Charleston, South Carolina. The Carnival Spirit won’t be coming to Bermuda at all. *Creative Common photos
Wrong direction: Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas, above, is actually embarking from Fort Lauderdale to Bermuda and not from Charleston, South Carolina. The Carnival Spirit won’t be coming to Bermuda at all. *Creative Common photos

Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell’s speech on the number of cruise ship visits for Bermuda in 2014 has come under criticism for having several inaccuracies.

The Minister gave the speech in the House of Assembly last Friday.

In it he said both the Carnival Spirit and Carnival Splendor would be coming to Bermuda next year.

Jennifer de la Cruz, vice president of public relations for Carnival Cruise Lines, contacted the Bermuda Sun to say that was incorrect. 

She said:  “The Carnival Splendor is indeed scheduled to call in Bermuda in June 2014, however, the Carnival Spirit is based year-round in Australia and is not scheduled to visit Bermuda.”

A Department of Tourism spokesperson admitted: “Initial discussions with Carnival Cruise Lines included having the Spirit call in Bermuda. However, Carnival decided to deploy the ship on a different itinerary and it should not have been included in the 2014 cruise schedule.”

The Minister’s speech also said Bermuda would get three visits from Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas from Charlotte, South Carolina and how this was an important new port for the island.

Stewart Chiron, known as the Cruise Guy, and who has appeared as an expert on all the major networks, contacted the Bermuda Sun to say this was wrong. 

Mr Chiron said: “Cruise passengers will not be boarding in Charleston, South Carolina. This is a round-trip Fort Lauderdale sailing and requires passengers to embark/ disembark in Fort Lauderdale. Charleston is only a port-of-call, scheduled to break-up the longer sailing and add a unique stop to the Bermuda itinerary.”

A Tourism ministry spokesperson admitted: “This is correct — the Vision of the Seas embarks from Fort Lauderdale, Florida and calls at Charleston, South Carolina before coming to Bermuda.”

Minister Crockwell also said: “Our experience has shown that cruise visitors originating from the Southeast United States ... often have more disposable income to spend while here.”

Mr Chiron disputed that, a claim backed by up the US Department of Labor statistics for 2012. The Southeast region of the US has a disposable income of $34,769, which is below the US disposable income average of 38,000. The two regions that have the highest disposable income are the New England ($45,357) and Mideast ($43,592) regions.

The spokesperson said the figures were based on passenger surveys conducted by the Port of Charleston rather than Fort Lauderdale. “According to their surveys 56 per cent of people visiting Charleston have a disposable income of over $100,000 and 18 per cent have a disposable income of over $200,000. In addition, areas within close proximity to the cruise port such as Hilton Head, Kiawah Island, and Downtown Charleston are affluent areas with high disposable incomes. As a result, we continue to pursue cruises from the Southeast, including Charleston.”