Bermuda -- When Celebrity Cruises Horizon eased up to the pier in
St. Georges, Bermuda, it was the only ship in port. My wife and I
were pleased about the limited number of ships calling here and in
Hamilton, the capital.
York-to-Bermuda cruises have been operating for years, theres a
simple reason for the limited number of ships on that run: The
Bermudians know how to balance tourism with quality-of-life
colonys tourism officials not only limit the number of ships
calling regularly, they also mandate vessel size limits, thus
protecting the island from tourist overload.
(Editors note: Bermuda is altering its
policy in 2005, as large ships like Royal Caribbeans Voyager of the
Seas will dock at the Royal Naval Dockyard in Hamilton. See
story, Cruise port welcoming more and larger
Horizon and Zenith were built to Bermudian regulations, and it
seems that the premium cruise designation also helps to deliver the
targeted, upscale demographic.
year on Horizons seven-day New York-to-Bermuda itinerary (the
Horizon now sails its Bermuda season from Norfolk, Va., and
Philadelphia instead of New York), we witnessed the Celebrity
Cruises/Bermuda synergy firsthand.
delicious food, upscale comforts and great service onboard while
being charmed by the islands British culture, beautiful beaches and
Those who bemoan
modern cruisings short port calls are impressed by the Horizons
four-day island stay, including three days in prime docking
position on Hamiltons Front Street and a day in St.
Stepping off the
ships no-incline gangway right onto Hamiltons bustling Front Street
is so easy that passengers come and go all day.
accommodated for an early-seating dinner (we had signed on for the
late seating) so that we could rush off to the Harbour Nights
Festival, a weekly street fair held Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 9
have crafted a formula for success as a model tourist destination:
a relatively affluent, fully employed populace; a tourism policy
that limits hotel development and cruise ship calls; and an
islandwide obsession for preserving and maintaining Bermudas
aesthetics. Adding large doses of hospitality to this mix further
enhances the product.
beaches, the aquarium and the Royal Naval Dockyard via clean and
safe public buses and ferries. Courteous drivers obligingly called
out stops. Polite locals dispensed welcome advice about the islands
attractions along the way.
When not lounging
on Bermudas famous pink-sand beaches, activity options are myriad
and varied. The low-lying reefs encircling the island that were the
bane of ancient mariners are now a boon to modern-day snorkelers
shipwrecks, most in shallow water, provide a glimpse into the past
as well as views of the colorful sea life. The geological wonders
of the Crystal Caves impressed our shipmates, many of whom canceled
their golf and tennis plans due to rainy weather.
the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to [email protected].