"We will continue to call in Hamilton occasionally on other itineraries," said the line in a statement. "The 2012 season will mark three years of Bermuda cruising roundtrip from New York and in 2013 other destinations are being considered as part of our overall global deployment." (Specifics of the line's 2013 itineraries will be announced throughout 2012.)
According to the Royal Gazette Online, Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert said at a news conference that the "New York to Bermuda schedule was [apparently] not meeting their revenue projections." Holland America denied the claim. "It really goes back to the part of the statement concerning overall global deployment, nothing further," said spokeswoman Mary Schimmelman.
Word of Holland America's departure comes just weeks after Bermudan authorities discovered that Carnival Pride would be sailing its summer 2012 season in the Eastern Caribbean instead of Bermuda. Apparently, the tenant forgot to tell the landlord. "Although quite some time ago we had requested berths for several Bermuda calls in 2012," said spokesman Vance Gulliksen in an e-mail on October 31, "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." The line apologized to its partners in Bermuda for "not advising them of this situation sooner." Princess Cruises has also yanked a ship from Bermuda. After spending three years sailing to the destination, the 3,080-passenger Caribbean Princess is being redeployed to Europe in 2012.
While numbers in 2012 may be down significantly, the loss of ships may not be the long-term blow to the industry that it appears. "We may lose some numbers on the Veendam but gain some on another ship, so we may still have the same numbers," said Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert during the news conference. According to Bermuda's Department of Tourism, some 350,000 cruisers visited the destination in 2010.
Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises will offer regular Bermuda sailings in 2012, and Norwegian has already announced that its new Norwegian Breakaway will debut in spring 2013 with a series of Bermuda cruises.
--by Dan Askin, News Editor