Today, the Veendam was the first ship in three years to dock at the pier, directly on Front Street in the central core of Hamilton. All other ships that currently feature Bermuda on their itineraries either dock at the Dockyards, or will anchor off of St. George.
We’ll be docked here in Hamilton for 2 ½ days, and throughout the season the Veendam will be the only ship docked IN Hamilton. I consider this a huge advantage, if you’re wanting to cruise to Bermuda, and reason enough to choose the Veendam over other ships calling here.
It was a very busy day in Hamilton. Representatives of the Bermuda Department of Tourism had offered our entire group of journalists an escorted tour of some of the highlights of Hamilton.
I’ll go over the sights we visited later, but want to begin today’s report filling in what I was able to learn regarding the difficulties I talked about in yesterday’s report.
We were joined at lunch today by Stacey Evans, Bermuda’s Assistant Director of Tourism, Promotional Services, as well as our host Erik Elvejord, Holland America’s Director of Public Relations. Though perhaps a bit uncomfortably I had to ask about the issues that arose with the tendering in St. George yesterday that created the problems. Both were quite forthright, but explained there were meetings this afternoon on that exact topic, and I would learn more later.
This evening William Griffith, Bermuda’s Director of Tourism came onboard to join, Eric and the press group for cocktails. Once again, I had to ask if a satisfactory resolution had been agreed to, to assure the same problems wouldn’t arise on the ship’s next visit.
Tonight both Erik and Mr. Griffith were more than willing to discuss it. Mr. Griffith, a most friendly and gracious person (who I’m betting is wonderful at his job) assure us that they will do “whatever it takes” to ensure a smooth tendering operation on the ship’s next visit, next week, and on all future sailings.
He explained that it was thought that the 500 person capacity would be adequate, and because this was the first ship to go through the process he admitted to yesterday unfortunately being the “teething pains” of first visit. Mr. Griffith also told me he will personally be e-mailing me next week, with a full report on the stop next week.
So… while it is sad that the guests on this week’s cruise were negatively impacted, you really can’t ask for more than a promise to address the issues and resolve them, to make sure it never repeats.
Because it’s been such a busy day, and evening, and because I have an early morning golf game tomorrow, and an early evening sail to see the “Famous Homes and Hideaways”, combined with the fact the ship’s Internet service being on and off today, I’ll fill in the rest of today’s story the next chance I have to write.