Another Cruise Ship Too Big to Dock

December 17, 2009
St. George's Bermuda

(6:15 p.m. EST) -- Earlier this year, Carnival Cruise Lines' Carnival Dream was forced to cancel a call in San Juan on an inaugural sailing because the ship could not fit into the assigned pier. The ship's size also made embarkation in New York a nightmare for some guests on preview cruises.

Now, another ship's size has prevented it from getting where it needs to go -- and this one is considered mid-sized!

Holland America announced today that its Veendam -- not an overly large ship at 57,092 tons, compared with Carnival Dream's 130,000 tons -- will be forced to tender, rather than dock, at the port of St. George's in Bermuda when it begins its new itineraries there this summer. The reason? "Challenges with the Town Cut and the narrow entrance to St. George's Harbour," according to an official statement from the line.

The irony is that in the August 2008 press release announcing Veendam's new 2010 Bermuda itineraries, Richard D. Meadows, Holland America's executive vice president of marketing, sales and guest programs, was quoted as saying, "Veendam is ideal for this itinerary. She is a premium mid-size ship, the perfect size to navigate the narrow entrances to the harbors in Hamilton and St. George's. Veendam's guests are able to step off the ship right in the center of each town."

However, according to the Bermuda Sun, Premier Dr. Ewart Brown has said that simulations have shown the ship is actually too big to navigate the Town Cut.

Instead of docking in town, the ship will anchor outside the harbor and tender in on local ferries that can carry 700 passengers apiece. The line expects "a very efficient tender process."

--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor