FRIDAY, NOV. 25: Bermuda’s viability as a cruise ship destination is under serious threat, Shadow Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell warned yesterday.

He called on Government to come up with plans to halt the decline in cruise visits — and to come clean on whether the lack of in-port gambling or cruise companies’ unhappiness with onshore arrangements and services were responsible.

Mr Crockwell was speaking after the Bermuda Sun revealed that Princess Cruise Lines was to cut its Caribbean Princess down from seven visits this year to just one next year.

The Princess announcement followed our revelations that Carnival Cruise Lines will axe all 11 visits planned for 2012 and Holland America will withdraw its Veendam in 2013.

Mr Crockwell said: “These blows to the one working arm of the tourism industry are very disturbing. They will cost Bermuda tens of millions of dollars in earnings. They will cause job losses and reduced paycheques.

“The cancellations also send a signal that Bermuda’s viability as a cruise destination is seriously open to question.

“Against these debilitating decisions, the Government has given no indication it knows what to do. Every announcement of withdrawal seems to have caught it off guard. It has provided no conclusive reasons for the pullouts.

“What we do know is it has been landed with yet another crisis, where before there was none... Bermuda can’t afford to drift through another breakdown without making the strongest effort to reverse and rectify the situation — jobs and pay cheques depend on it.”