The Veendam brings in 1,300 passengers from New York on each trip. It will visit Bermuda 19 times in 2012. *Photo by Jack Garstang
The Veendam brings in 1,300 passengers from New York on each trip. It will visit Bermuda 19 times in 2012. *Photo by Jack Garstang
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17, UPDATE: The Veendam cruise ship will bypass St George’s altogether when she comes to Bermuda next year.

The vessel, which brings 1,300 passengers from New York on each trip, will head straight to Hamilton on each of its 19 visits in 2012.

At present the Veendam anchors off St George’s for nine hours to give passengers the option of being tendered into the town, before she heads into the capital on Tuesday evenings.

Convenience

But a spokesman for Holland America Line (HAL) told the Bermuda Sun the decision had been made for the convenience of the passengers.

He added: “These cruises will now feature a three-day port call in Hamilton, Bermuda, (previously two days) and will no longer call directly at the port of St George’s, Bermuda.

“Shore excursions to St George’s will continue to be offered.”

The spokesman would not say if the lengthy tendering process was the reason behind the move.

He said: “This enhancement to the Bermuda itinerary allows guests to enjoy the convenience of ms Veendam docking at the well-situated Front Street dock in Hamilton, while offering the most flexibility for exploring the entire island of Bermuda, including the popular towns of Hamilton and St George’s.”

The move comes after numerous passengers criticized the lengthy tender process from the ship into St George’s on cruise blogs.

One comment on Cruise-addicts.com said: “I agree with the rest that they should forget the anchoring and go right to Hamilton.”

A comment on cruisecritic.com went further, saying the tendering process took too long and was more of a nuisance.

That poster said: “I was told that the ship doesn’t always make it to St George’s because of seas and winds and sometimes it goes directly to Hamilton and they give you a bus voucher if you want to go to St George’s.

“If you’re lucky that will happen, as the bus ride to St George’s from Hamilton is much more convenient and I think actually quicker than dealing with the big ferry which takes too long to load/unload and travel.”

St George’s MP, Kim Swan, welcomed the move by Holland America but stressed the need for a cruise that called in to the town.

He said: “I have always said that the more time a cruise ship spends in port the better.

“The uncertainty of the tendering process and whether the ship would stop off in St George’s has long caused problems for traders in the town.

“If the Veendam is in Hamilton for three nights that is better than having her anchored off St George’s and I believe more people will assign one day and make the short trip to St George’s.

“It is only 10 miles after all.

“St George’s needs its own cruise that comes into St George’s Harbour. I am still keen to know the results of the survey that has taken place on Town Cut.”

The Bermuda Sun contacted the Department of Tourism to give it the opportunity to comment on the change in the Veendam’s route.

But we did not receive a response by the time of going to press.