According to a recent report from the Bermudian government, repairs on one of Bermuda’s cruise ship docks, the Heritage Wharf docks, may not be completed before an expected spike in cruise ship visits to the island.
Recently, the government of Bermuda has been upgrading and repairing the Heritage Wharf facility to make it more suitable for the larger ships that will soon be docking there. One of the new ships that will be docking in Bermuda is Norwegian’s new Norwegian Breakaway. In order to accommodate the Breakaway, the docks needed to be upgraded. This upgrade began earlier this year, but the Bermudian government doesn’t expect it to be completed until May 15th when the Breakaway makes her inaugural call.
Here’s where the problem begins. All the docks at both Heritage Wharf and Royal Naval Dockyard are booked to capacity multiple times between April and May. If half the dock space is unusable due to construction, cruise ships will be forced to tender guests ashore. According to the Bermuda Sun, “Tendering is time-consuming and seen by some passengers as a disincentive to go ashore — which could hurt retailers.” Tendering can be frustrating, and can cause guests with disabilities to experience difficulties while disembarking from the ship into the tender, as well as when exiting the tender.
Bermudian officials have been quoted as saying that ships will be able to dock at Heritage Wharf during construction, while other officials suggest the opposite. As of right now, it seems the only option for cruisers those days when the port will be filled is to tender. While it’s not a huge deal, it does show the unpreparedness of Bermuda to handle a situation that could have easily been seen months out. If the Bermudian government and port officials has done their job correctly, they wouldn’t have to inconvenience their visiting cruise guests.
Photo: Mike Faust