The good news is that the Holland-America Line is returning to the pink sands and pastel-colored skyline of Bermuda on seven-day cruises aboard the ms Veendam in 2015. The even better news is that the ship will be sailing roundtrip from Boston, with six departures in May, June and July, and will be the dockside for three days and nights at Hamilton, the country’s capital known for its gorgeous beaches and quality shopping.
The Veendam offers an ideal mid-size (1350 passengers) ship experience in Bermuda that enables it to dock at Hamilton in the center of town. While there are many cruise lines departing from the Northeast to Bermuda, most all of them dock at King’s Wharf at the Royal Naval Dockyard, a 25-minute ferry or a bus ride from Hamilton. These writers had the pleasure of seeing the Veendam docked in downtown Hamilton back in 2012.
At that time we’d taken a cruise on another line from Port Liberty, New Jersey to King’s Wharf. After a ferry ride to Hamilton one afternoon, we remember saying: “Wow, look at this….a Holland America ship parked right in the heart of downtown.”
The 2015 seven-day Bermuda voyages will spend a day at sea after departing Boston and arrive at Hamilton mid-day with enough time left in the afternoon for guests to go ashore and enjoy getting the feel of the town - and time to browse in trendy and traditional shops, especially the renowned, ‘veddy-British’ department store “Marks and Sparks,” and then have dinner back on board before experiencing local nightlife. Be sure to pack your Bermuda shorts, or head to the English Sports Shop on Front Street for a lime-green or lemon-yellow pair. Pip-pip, old chap.
With so many onshore restaurants in Hamilton, it’s the perfect opportunity to experience authentic Bermudian cuisine. The Veendam departs Bermuda in the afternoon of the final day in Hamilton, with one day at sea before arriving back at Boston.
Richard Meadows, Holland America Line’s executive vice president of sales, marketing and guest relations said “We know our guests will be excited to see us cruise again to Bermuda in 2015. By extending the call to three nights, guests can have extensive time to experience the island while still enjoying the award-wining service and amenities that Holland America Line is known for.”
The bonus time can be spent immersed in Hamilton’s British charm, cultural heritage sites and world-famous pink sand beaches (on a variety of shore excursions). From the ship, guests can take a short walk to Front Street, pick up some Gosling’s Rum, and explore colorful shops. Hamilton also is home to a massive 19th-century neo-Gothic cathedral, and the Georgian-style Sessions House built in 1815. But the best part of Hamilton is the Bermudian people – charming, polite and sophisticated; they radiate a long tradition of hospitality and reserved friendliness.
Added to the 2015 cruise mix, the seven-day Bermuda itinerary can be combined with a seven-day Canada/New England cruise to create a “14-day Bermuda & Canada/New England Collectors’ Voyage.” The full Collectors’ cruise calls at Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; Sydney and Halifax, Nova Scotia; Bar Harbor, Maine; Boston; and Hamilton, with scenic cruising in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The Bermuda cruise also can be combined with a 17-day Panama Canal transit to create a “24-day Panama Canal and Bermuda Collectors’ Voyage.” The ship departs San Diego, Calif., April 15, and calls at ports in Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Colombia, as well as Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Boston and Hamilton, including a full transit of the Panama Canal.
Veendam offers an onboard experience defined by spacious comfort and the latest features and amenities. Guests aboard the ship will not only enjoy elegant dining rooms, a $2 million art and antique collection, wide teak decks and spacious staterooms — many with private balconies — but also venues with the latest culinary and entertainment enhancements, the Rotterdam Dining Room, Lido and Pinnacle Grill, among them.
Visit Holland America Line’s website at www.hollandamerica.com and browse the menu of Bermuda options, or contact a travel professional or call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425). Visit the Holland America Facebook page for a variety of passenger comments and photos.
For a revealing photo album and video tour, click on the above links.
Written by Don Church and Tony Schillaci, Out and Travelin’