Thousands of cruise ship passengers will have to be tendered ashore while construction work continues on Heritage Wharf next month, the Bermuda Sun can confirm.
Plans have already been put in place for the Riviera to drop anchor in Grassy Bay, just off Dockyard, for her inaugural call when she arrives in Bermuda on April 10.
While the MSC Poesia has been forced to change her schedule as a result of work being conducted at Heritage.
She will arrive at 10am on April 16, instead of April 15, and drop anchor at Grassy Bay for the day before moving to King’s Wharf in Dockyard later the same day.
The ship will then stay at King’s Wharf before leaving a day later than planned on April 18.
The two liners’ 3,500 passengers and 1,500 crew will be ferried to Dockyard by tender — a journey which is expected to take 10 minutes.
The Department of Marine and Ports is still working with Norwegian Cruise Lines’ agents to ‘finalise berthing and tendering arrangements’ if Heritage Wharf is not available for the Norwegian Dawn’s first two trips on May 5 and 12.
And the Bermuda Sun understands that the construction project will also affect the Carnival Splendor, which was due to dock at Heritage Wharf on on April 18. The ship will now stay at King’s Wharf on April 18 before heading out to sea on the April 19.
She will remain out at sea for two nights and then return to King’s Wharf on April 21. The ship will then leave the island at 5pm.
The decision was taken because Carnival Cruises did not want to tender their guests. A Government spokesman told the Sun that only four cruise visits would be impacted if Heritage Wharf is not completed before May 15.
He added: “We have tendered many times in the past, including NCL ships, and while it is not our first option, we have handled it successfully.
“It should also be pointed out that tendering is fairly common in the cruise industry in other jurisdictions.
“We have worked closely with and coordinated the tendering procedures with the cruise lines and they are satisfied that we will provide a quality experience for their guests.”
The Bermuda Sun revealed last week that Government was looking at tendering passengers arriving if work on Heritage Wharf had not been completed.
Government says Heritage Wharf will be completed in time for the inaugural trip of the Norwegian Breakaway on May 15.
The spokesman added: “The Department of Marine and Ports is still working with Norwegian Cruise Lines’ agents to finalise berthing and tendering arrangements in the event that Heritage Wharf if not available for the Norwegian Dawn’s visits on May 5th and 12th.
“In the event that the Wharf is not finished, there will still be options for the Dawn to come along side King’s Wharf for parts of her visit once other ships leave.“