First it was Carnival, then it was Holland America — now Princess Cruises has announced it is cutting trips to Bermuda.
For the last three years the Caribbean Princess has been a regular caller to the island, bringing in more than 3,000 passengers a time. But next year the Caribbean Princess will make one solitary trip to Dockyard; the ship will spend most of the summer in the UK.
Karen Candy, media relations manager for Princess Cruises, told the Bermuda Sun: “We are moving the Caribbean Princess to Europe.
“We will not be operating the ship out of New York next year which means it will only visit Bermuda once in October.
“We obviously move our ships around the world based on demand.
“We recently transferred one of our smaller ships which has taken our fleet down from 17 to 16.
“Since 2008 there has been no growth in the fleet and we are also moving one ship back up to the Atlantic.
“But there are plans for two new ships in 2013 and 2014, which is great news.
“We know Bermuda is a popular destination and we hope we will be able to return some time in the future.
“But the decision is really based on moving our capacity.
“Our ships only berth in Bermuda for a day so the fact there is no gaming allowed while on island was not a factor.”
In 2009 the Caribbean Princess visited the island on 12 occasions, while in 2010 she came here on 10 trips.
Her schedule was reduced significantly this year to just seven voyages.
But in 2012 she will only visit the island once for one day in October.
Her sister ship, the Grand Princess, will visit the island twice in 2012, while the Pacific Princess will make a single trip to Bermuda.
In total Princess Cruises ships will make just four trips to Bermuda compared to the 11 trips this year by its fleet.
The Bermuda Sun understands that the reason for the reduction in trips is also due to the lack of suitable berths for larger ships in Dockyard.
Earlier this month Carnival Cruise Lines announced it was slashing its presence in Bermuda to just one voyage in 2012.
Carnival had been expected to complete 12 trips next year but pulled the plug on 11 voyages at the last minute.
The firm has never set out the reasons for the move but last week Transport Minister Derrick Burgess told the House of Assembly that the cruise line’s decision was based on not being able to secure premium berths.
According to a report in The Royal Gazette, he described it as “a business decision” which also took into account the lack of on-board revenue while in port, public transport problems and Bermuda’s stores being closed on Sundays.
While Holland America recently announced that the Veendam would not be coming to Bermuda at all in 2013.
The ship has completed more than 20 trips from New York over the last two years and is scheduled to come in to Hamilton 19 times next year.
Local observers say Bermuda’s ban on gaming are partly responsible for the exodus of Carnival and Holland America.
Critics say the ban leaves passengers frustrated and the lines themselves down on revenue from on-board gaming, which is banned while in port.