"Something old, something new" may just be the theme of Holland America's new Bermuda program, scheduled to begin in 2010. The line just announced that its 1,350-passenger, 55,451-ton Veendam will sail Bermuda itineraries from New York between late August and October 2010. But though these cruises may be new to you, Holland America is actually revisiting a destination it first sailed to in the 1930's (and last sailed in the 1980's) -- and will eschew mega-ship hub King's Wharf for the more traditional and intimate ports of Hamilton and St. George's.
Most of the mega-ships calling in Bermuda these days are forced to dock at King's Wharf, a more isolated area farther from Bermuda's main attractions, because of their size. However, Holland America is going back to its roots with these itineraries, featuring calls in Hamilton and St. George's; indeed, the choice of Veendam for this itinerary is not arbitrary as the ship is one of only a few Holland America vessels small enough to navigate the narrow harbor entrances of both ports.
That means passengers can disembark right in the center of town, without needing to take a tour or taxi to reach many of Bermuda's in-town attractions. The commercial hub of Hamilton is popular with tourists for its Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute, nearby golf courses and beaches, and its Wednesday-night street parties. Historic St. George's is the second oldest British settlement in North America. Visitors can explore museums and old homes or take off to nearby beaches.
Logistics aside, Veendam is also a nostalgic choice for this itinerary. Veendam II was the name of the Holland America ship that sailed the original five-night Bermuda itineraries out of New York back in the 1930's.
In 2010, cruise travelers can choose from 10 Bermuda departures from New York's Manhattan port between late August and October. Starting in May 2011, Veendam will offer a full season of Bermuda cruises with 20 or more sailings. Itineraries will include overnights in both ports, but Holland America has not yet finalized the length of the sailings or the day-by-day schedule of port calls.
--by Erica Silverstein, Associate Editor
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Holland America Returns to Bermuda in 2010
September 2, 2008