|Royal Caribbean has just announced that two members of its fleet -- the 138,000-ton, 3,114-passenger Voyager of the Seas and the 74,000-ton, 1,950-passenger Grandeur of the Seas -- will begin calling in Bermuda in May of 2005. But it's Voyager that is making the biggest splash, as the largest ship ever to call in Bermuda -- a big departure from previous island "policy."|
As anyone who knows the quaint, ultra-British isle can tell you, Bermuda has always been a bit standoffish about welcoming mega-ships, preventing "overcrowding" by allowing only a limited number of mostly smaller, older ships to make calls. Why the change now? The Bermuda Department of Tourism is remaining mum, but this could be a last-ditch damage-control effort after some lines -- such as Carnival -- actually scaled back their Bermuda sailings in 2004, no doubt frustrated with Bermuda's haughty "no big boys" stance.
Thus far, we haven't been able to determine if the Voyager announcement will inspire other cruise lines to bring their mega-ships around, but this certainly isn't the beginning of Voyager's history-making career. Debuted in 1999, it was the first cruise ship to include a rock climbing wall, an ice skating rink and in-line skating track, among other features.
Voyager's five-night Bermuda sailings will depart from Royal Caribbean's new Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey. Grandeur of the Seas' five-night Bermuda sailings will depart from Baltimore. Both the Grandeur and the Voyager will dock overnight at the Royal Naval Dockyard's King's Wharf, which is deeper than Bermuda's main port of Hamilton Harbor.