Hate me tender: Princess Cruise Lines said a nine-hour stop-over in Bermuda was not enough time to ferry its over 3,000 passengers off and on the Emerald Princess so it will be going to the Azores instead. *Photo by www.moongateproductions.com
Hate me tender: Princess Cruise Lines said a nine-hour stop-over in Bermuda was not enough time to ferry its over 3,000 passengers off and on the Emerald Princess so it will be going to the Azores instead. *Photo by www.moongateproductions.com

Princess Cruises was ‘disappointed’ there was no berth for one of its ships due to arrive in Bermuda next month.

The cruise line said it ‘had to’ cancel the Emerald Princess’s stop on the island because of ongoing repairs to Heritage Wharf.

The ship and her 3,200 passengers will now skip Bermuda altogether — a move that could cost the island’s economy around $400, 000 in fees, taxes as well as passenger expenses.

Ronnie Veira, president of the Chamber of Commerce, said the line’s decision to cancel the voyage was a big blow to restaurants and small businesses.

He told the Bermuda Sun: “It is very disappointing to hear that the Emerald Princess has cancelled its April trip.

“While there are those that might say cruise passengers do not spend a lot while they are in port they provide valuable custom to our small businesses and restaurants.

“And not to get 3,200 visitors coming into Bermuda is not good news.

“Other areas to consider are the boat operators and the tour operators — they get a lot of business from the cruise ships.

“On top of all this are the fees and taxes that Government gets from the ship.

“It’s a big loss, there is no doubt about it.”

The Emerald Princess, which was due into Heritage Wharf on April 29, would have anchored at sea because of renovation work on the wharf.

And the ship’s passengers would have had to be tendered into Dockyard.

But Princess Cruises pulled the plug on the cruise call and the ship will now head to Punta Delgado in the Azores instead.

Inconvenienced

The Bermuda Sun understands that it would not have been feasible for more than 3,000 passengers to be tendered on and off the ship within the nine hours the ship was in Bermuda for.

And Princess Cruises did not want their passengers inconvenienced by tendering during such a short call.

A spokesperson for Princess Cruises told the Bermuda Sun: “We’re disappointed we had to cancel Emerald Princess’ upcoming scheduled call to Bermuda because there was no berth availability due to pier construction.”

At least five other cruise ships are likely be affected by the renovation project at Heritage Wharf.

The Riviera and the Poesia will now drop anchor at Grassy Bay instead of coming alongside at Heritage Wharf in mid April.

Passengers on the Norwegian Dawn’s first two trips may have to be tendered into Dockyard as well.

And the Carnival Splendor has chosen to spend two nights at sea during her Bermuda stop rather than tendering passengers ashore.

Mr Viera said that everyone needed to work together to ensure that the visitor’s needs were put first.

He added: “Obviously some cruise passengers will have to be tendered next month and it is important that we work together.

Squabbling

“Our concern needs to be for the visitor’s experience and not about squabbling over who conducts the tenders or whether the ships use their own tenders.

“We must hope that Heritage Wharf is ready for the other ships coming in after the ones that have been affected so far.

“This is a project that should have been started a long time ago.”

Joanna Cranfield, assistant development manager for WEDCO, told the Bermuda Sun: “We are aware that tendering was an option offered to them, but due to the short duration of the visit it was not deemed viable.

“Certainly Dockyard and Bermuda will miss the business that this ship would have brought but with the circumstances, we understand the decision that has been made.

“We hope that the weather cooperates and that work on the pier continues with success.”