Cruise Bermuda Update

September 8, 2003

Bermuda continues to clean up after a visit by Hurricane Fabian last Friday, and the category three storm – the most powerful in 50 years – has resulted in a rash of itinerary changes as we reported this weekend.

At this point, the only cruise line that's announced a revision for the week ahead is Radisson Seven Seas. Its Navigator is slated to depart out of New York on Wednesday for its regularly scheduled seven-day Bermuda round-trip and the company says the ship will, as it did last week, divert to Canada/New England. Seven Seas Navigator will visit Halifax, Bar Harbor, Boston and Norfolk. Passengers are being notified; all will be offered a future cruise credit of $750 for the inconvenience of the replacement itinerary.

Other cruise lines with intensive Bermuda itineraries such as Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity Cruises, have not yet announced changes for voyages departing next weekend. One industry source says passengers booked on those lines should not expect an announcement before Thursday or Friday. At this point these lines have all remained firm in invoking the "act of God" clause – which, by contract, does not require them to offer compensation (or a refund if passengers want to cancel) if an itinerary change is enforced by circumstances beyond the cruise line’s control.

A staffer at Bermuda Tourism, however, did tell us that damage cleanup is proceeding swiftly. There was little to no damage to docking facilities at the Royal Naval Dockyard or in Hamilton and in St. George only the ferry landing needs repairs. The source tells us that it's expected that, by Saturday, the island will be ready for cruise ships, though ultimately the decision will rest with cruise lines.  A call to Tourism Bermuda's "official" spokespeople – for "official" comment – was not returned by press time.