Larger Ships, Mainstream Lines Headed to Bermuda

May 24, 2005
Carnival Cruise Lines has announced that its 88,500-ton Carnival Legend will sail two special Bermuda cruises in 2006 and 2007 -- just days after Italian counterpart Costa Cruises revealed that their largest ship to date, CostaMagica, will also head to the region for its first-ever series of seven-night Bermuda voyages in 2006.

What's particularly interesting about these itineraries is that in the past, the conservative British isle been quite restrictive, preventing "overcrowding" by allowing a limited number of small to mid-size (and mostly older) ships to dock there. Most mainstream lines have had a limited presence if any; for example, Carnival returned to Bermuda in 2002 after a hiatus of three full years -- and then sailed Bermuda-free again in 2005.

Costa and Carnival aren't the only major players staking a new claim in Bermuda -- starting this month, Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas (the largest ship ever to call in Bermuda) are also visiting the island on an alternating 26 week schedule.

Why the departure from previous island "policy"? We're curious, too. The Bermuda Department of Tourism is remaining quite mum, but a spokeswoman assures us that the region is "delighted to welcome visitors aboard these larger ships to the island" and that 2006 will continue to bring major cruise lines to Bermuda, though details have not yet been finalized.

CostaMagica will sail two seven-night Bermuda sailings departing from Ft. Lauderdale on April 21 and April 28, 2006 -- and, incidentally, will be the only ship sailing roundtrip to the region from Florida. Carnival Legend will also sail two Bermuda voyages, six-night cruises departing from New York on April 20, 2006 and April 19, 2007; both feature an overnight visit to King's Wharf and a full day in Newport, Rhode Island. Other ships sailing to Bermuda this year include Celebrity's Horizon and Zenith, NCL's Norwegian Majesty and Norwegian Crown, and Radisson Seven Seas Cruises' Seven Seas Navigator (which calls on the weekends).