Sunday, May 4, 2014

Holland America Line to resume sailings to Bermuda in 2015

Holland America Lines' on-again, off-again relationship with the tiny island of Bermuda will be on again in starting in May 2015.

In an e-mail to its Mariner Society members on May 3, the cruise line announced that it has begun accepting bookings for sailings from Boston and Québec City to Hamilton, Bermuda, which begin in May 2015.

Gosling Brothers Queen Street Store
Photo courtesy Gosling Bros. Ltd.

As the port capital of Bermuda, Hamilton is the heart of the island and is home to colorful Front Street, which itself is home to a wide variety of shops, restaurants, and hotels. At the corner of Front and Queen Streets is the Gosling Brothers Ltd., store, purveyors of the famous Gosling's Black Seal Bermudan Rum which, as any decent bartender will confirm, is the only rum to be used in a "Dark 'n Stormy®."

While the cruise line first called on Bermuda in 1930, its relationship with the tiny island of less than 21 square miles located about 885 miles due east of Charleston, S.C. off the U.S. coast has been anything but consistent.

After more than 25 years without service, Holland America resumed sailings to Bermuda from New York City in 2010, according to a July 2010 news release. Those sailings continued through the 2011 season. However, toward the end of 2011, the company decided to cease sailings of the 1,350 passenger Veendam after the end of the 2012 season.

Now, the line has decided a two-year hiatus was enough, based in part on demand from former and would-be passengers. A 2011 USA Today® article announcing the cessation of sailings drew a number of comments bemoaning the loss of the destination and urging a return to service.

The cruise line is offering 39 itineraries in the Canada/New England region ranging from seven to 14-day cruises aboard the ms Veendam for the 2015 summer season, including six sailings that make port in the capital city of Hamilton during May, June, and July, Erik Elvejord, HAL's director of public relations, told TheTravelPro in an e-mail.


During the 2015 season, 7-day cruises will leave Boston May 2, 9, and 30 and sail directly to Hamilton, where the ship is in port for three nights before the return voyage to Boston. Hamilton is known for its gorgeous beaches and an abundance of golf courses.

"In 2012, we did two nights in Hamilton and one in St. George's," Elvejord said. However, there were occasional challenges with the currents getting into St. George's, so the cruise line changed to three nights in Hamilton with side tours to St. George's based on passenger demand.


14-night cruises offer more options and more ports of call. Depending on the dates, the “Collectors’ Cruise” originates in Boston, heads to Hamilton for three nights, returns to Boston, then continues to Bar Harbor, Maine; Halifax, then Sydney, Nova Scotia; and Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island before cruising the Gulf of St. Lawrence and ending at Québec City.

The reverse itinerary starts in Québec City and heads in the opposite direction while visiting the same ports of call along the way. The journey from Boston to Bermuda wraps up the southbound 14-day cruise.

Neptune Suite
Photo provided by Holland America Lines
Holland America is also offering a special package for those who book a 575-square foot Neptune Suite by July 31, 2014. The package includes a three-bottle Wine Navigator package, dinner for two in the Pinnacle Grill, and a host of complimentary services including laundry and priority dining requests.

Formerly called “Deluxe Verandah Suites,” the Neptune Suites are located on Deck 10 on the Veendam, the highest floor with guest cabins on the ship. During my sailing on sister ship the ms Volendam, I was able to preview each cabin type and the Neptune Suite is clearly the nicest, most spacious accommodation available unless you’re willing to spend crazy money for, and are lucky enough to reserve, the sole 1,273 square foot Pinnacle Suite (formerly the Penthouse Verandah Suite or Owners’ Suite) on the Veendam.

The sailings that visit Bermuda begin on May 2, 2015 and conclude on July 4. Visit HollandAmerica.com for more details.

Bon voyage!

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.



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