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Big Bermuda Cruise Boost Scheduled for 2020



Bermuda is preparing for a significant increase in cruise ship visits in 2020, continuing a recent period of growth in the segment for the territory. Bermuda’s 2020 cruise ship schedule includes 197 calls, comprising “more total calls, more passengers and more visits” compared with 2019, said a Bermuda government spokesman.

The 2020 cruise ship visits will include expanded calls at the territory’s smaller ports in Hamilton and St. George’s, bringing 543,000 vacationers to Bermuda next year. The territory hosted 484,339 cruise passengers in 2018 according to Caribbean Tourism Organization data, a 15.9 percent increase over 2017.

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Bermuda’s projected cruise ship calls for 2019 fell from 185 to 176 due to eight cancellations during recent hurricane activity in the Atlantic, said government officials. The largest cruise ships visiting the territory call at the Royal Naval Dockyard in Bermuda’s West End district.

St. George’s will host 19 cruise calls in 2020, up from 16 this year, while Hamilton will also host 19 visits, up from 13 in 2019. Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s 2020 deployment of 1,853-passenger Empress of the Seas on six additional Bermuda calls, with itineraries visiting both St George’s and Hamilton in May, July and August, is primarily responsible for the increased calls at the smaller ports.

Meanwhile, Carnival Cruise Line has committed to 28 additional “occasional” visits in 2020 on ships departing from New Jersey, Baltimore and Charleston, said Zane DeSilva, Bermuda’s minister of tourism and transport.

“We are delighted with the news of additional calls to St George’s and Hamilton next year,” De Silva said. “The ministry in partnership with the Bermuda Tourism Authority [BTA] is working diligently to attract even more calls to these smaller ports in the future.”

BTA officials noted that expanding calls at Bermuda’s smaller ports has helped the territory extend is cruise season beyond the traditional May-to-October time frame.

In 2019, 33 percent of Bermuda-bound cruise ships arrived in April, May and June, while 24 percent called in October, November and December. Overall, 59.7 percent of Bermuda’s annual cruise visitors arrived in non-summer months (September through May) last year.

“Greater use of ports in Hamilton and St. George’s, along with less seasonality throughout the year, creates a more sustainable industry,” said BTA CEO Kevin Dallas in a interview.

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