TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 1: Carnival Cruise Lines has apologised for not letting the Bermuda government know sooner of its plans to slash its service to the island.

The company said it had conducted ‘internal research’ to determine why officials in Bermuda were not made aware of its plans to make just one visit to Bermuda in 2012 earlier.

Carnival, which will have made 15 voyages to the island by the end of this year, had been expected to confirm a further 12 trips in 2012.

But the Bermuda government only learned of decision to drastically scale back the service to one trip last Wednesday.

A statement from a Carnival spokesman stated: “We have conducted some internal research to determine why the notification was not made earlier and have implemented new processes to ensure that this does not happen again in the future.

“We apologize to our partners in Bermuda for not advising them of this situation sooner.”

Over the weekend Transport Minister Terry Lister said he was very disappointed by the late notification of Carnival’s plans.

He said: “We were surprised to only learn of the cancellations on Wednesday.

“This has put us in a unfortunate position for next year, because it will be difficult to find suitable replacement ships at such a late date.

“We are extremely disappointed by this late notification by Carnival Cruise Lines, but we will make every attempt to fill some of the empty berths with ships from other cruise lines.

“It is highly unusual for cancellations to occur so close to the beginning of the season."

The reasons for Carnival’s decision to send only one ship to Bermuda next year still remain unclear.

The Bermuda Sun asked Carnival to explain why the service had been so drastically reduced but no response was forthcoming.

Previously the company had told us that the changes to the schedule were not ‘cancellations”.

A spokesman said: “Although quite some time ago we had requested berths for several Bermuda calls in 2012, we ultimately only scheduled one voyage.

“Therefore we did not cancel any cruises that were actually scheduled and open for sale.

“However we did just recently notify the relevant people in Bermuda that we would not be needing those slots as our ships will be operating alternate itineraries.”

Only one Carnival ship, the Carnival Pride, will be visiting the island on April 22, 2012.