LOS ANGELES -- Princess Cruises will enter Bermuda for the first
time while Celebrity pulls a ship from the market as part of a
revision by the island of its cruise-ship lineup for 2000.
Princess will serve Bermuda with the 640-passenger Pacific
Princess; Celebrity's 1,354-passenger Horizon will leave the
market, which it has served for nearly a decade.
Princess will offer a seven-day itinerary from New York to
Bermuda beginning in May 2000 aboard the 640-passenger Pacific
Princess. The itinerary will feature all three of the major ports
on the island - St. George's, Hamilton and the West End - something
other cruise lines do not currently offer.
Celebrity, meanwhile, said it had not decided where it would
position the 1,354-passenger Horizon after it departs from the New
York-Bermuda market in 2000, but added that Europe was a
Bermuda carefully regulates cruise ship traffic and issues just
five multi-year ship permits for its high season, May to October.
Those permits are currently with Celebrity, for the Horizon and
Zenith; Royal Caribbean, for the Song of America, which is to be
replaced in 1999 by the Nordic Empress, and Norwegian Cruise Line,
for the Norwegian Crown and Norwegian Majesty. Bermuda tourism
officials told Royal Caribbean and Celebrity that the combined
company could only have two vessels in the market, hence the
decision to pull the Horizon.
Bermuda minister of tourism David Dodwell said that Princess'
passenger demographic played a major factor in the decision to
invite that line into the market.
The contracts with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and
Princess for 2000 will bring about 6,800 passengers per day to
Bermuda, a number close to the ideal of 6,000 the Bermuda Cruise
Ship Policy envisions.
The Pacific Princess, known as the original Love Boat, has been
used in recent years as a pathfinder by Princess to penetrate new
markets. The ship will spend the summer of 1999 in Europe and
Africa, as it did this year.
Princess president Peter Ratcliffe said the line hopes to draw
passengers for the Bermuda cruises not only from the Northeast, but
also from Princess' core customer base in the West and Midwest.