Minister On ‘Secret Shopper’ Cruise Findings

November 28, 2019 | 30 Comments

[Updated] Minister of Tourism and Transport Zane DeSilva is holding a press conference this morning [Nov 28] about the recent ‘secret shopper’ cruises, and we will have additional coverage later on and in the meantime the live video is below.

Update 12.10pm: The Minister shared some of the details surrounding the Ministry’s two ‘secret shopping cruises’ which were undertaken in July and August of this year on two of Bermuda’s contract cruise ships and to “expand on what was ultimately learnt from these experiences.”

Minister DeSilva said that during the cruise it was noted that the ship using non-Bermuda photos to depict our island; incorrect information given in the port lecture; disparaging remarks made in the Shopping Lecture regarding transportation options and the high cost of taxis; and the great emphasis given to sending passengers to just a few shops and restaurants featured on the port shopping map to the wholesale exclusion of numerous other fine establishments who did not advertise.

“Had I not been on-board the ‘Anthem of the Seas’ and witnessed for myself the impact that 8,000 cruise passengers have when two cruise ships are docked at the same time and then expand this to consider the further impact of 11,500 passengers arriving on even larger vessels I would not have had the first-hand knowledge to make a key decision: that was to say ‘no’ to the larger ‘Oasis Class’ ships that Royal Caribbean International proposed to bring to Bermuda starting in 2021,” he said.

“Bermuda is simply not ready [yet] for that magnitude of demands on our port, transport and product infrastructure.”

In the topic of transportation, the Minister said, “Whilst ‘undercover’ in Bermuda, we stood for 40-minutes to get public transportation tokens. In fact, I was so impatient that I and left after 20-minutes, leaving my Technical Officer in-line for another 20-minutes.

“We took public service vehicles to major attractions and to the beaches and from our ‘own pockets’ understand the cost of what a visitor pays to see and experience Bermuda.

“We rode on public buses with standing room only, we experienced first-hand resident frustrations of not being able to get on a bus in Somerset and Southampton because it was full or had standing room only.

“On the public bus, I was the first to offer my seat to a resident, and stood patiently while other residents openly complained that we have too many tourists and not enough buses to get them to work.

“I felt embarrassed for our visitors riding the bus, but at the same time I saw an urgent need to increase the bus service capacity to provide a more comfortable experience for our residents who rely on public transportation.

“We observed minibus drivers openly making it difficult for passengers to pay the exact cash fare price of $7 as the driver did not appear to have change for $10, $20 or $50 bills, leaving visitors little option but to pay more for the service.”

Speaking about the impact on retail establishments, the Minister said, “My Ministry learnt that many retail shops affected by the downturn in the world’s economy or who do not specifically advertise in the cruise lines’ port shopping guide genuinely feel the loss of the cruise ship business that they once enjoyed.

“We understand from the Chair of the Retail Division of the Chamber of Commerce, here today, Mr. Somers Cooper, that over 200 Bermudian jobs have been lost in the retail business sector in the last two-years as a result of enforced redundancies or early retirements.

“The Ministry immediately addressed our findings with both of our contract cruise line partners in early October,” the Minister said. “Our cruise partners were alarmed by our findings and apologised and have since taken positive steps to eradicate these practices.”

“The Ministry will be meeting with both RCCL and NCL in Bermuda this December for an update on the initiatives which they have implemented to eradicate these practices and what they are doing to promote more inclusive strategies.

“It is very obvious to me that we need taxi reform and better training for our front line public service vehicle drivers, in addition to more parking spaces at Horseshoe Bay Beach, and the list goes on and on!

“We are using the information gained to help shape our future transportation infrastructure and cruise strategies.”

Update: The live broadcast has concluded and the 27-minute replay is below

Update 12.10pm: Minister DeSilva’s remarks:

Good morning everyone,

I am here today to talk about the Ministry of Tourism and Transport’s research this past summer on the influence and impact of the cruise ship industry on local transportation and visitor spending in Bermuda.

By way of background, the Ministry of Tourism and Transport, in consultation with the Bermuda Tourism Authority, is finalising a ‘Cruise Ship Strategy’ that will provide a framework for Bermuda’s strategy for visiting cruise ships for the next ten years.

At the same time, the Ministry has developed a 10 year ‘Transportation Infrastructure Plan’ and once this is incorporated into an updated ‘Transportation Management Plan’ for Bermuda, it will support many of the initiatives outlined in the Transport Green Paper which was published in May of 2019.

Concerns Regarding Cruise Ship Visits To Bermuda

As these two strategies were under development, Hamilton retailers, some of whom are represented here today, brought forward additional concerns regarding cruise ship visits to Bermuda.

Their concerns centred on the allegation that cruise lines unfairly influence passenger spending when the vessel is in port through foreign third-party promotional companies.

These companies, who facilitate on-board Port and Shopping Lectures, are alleged to favour only shops that advertise in their ‘Port Shopping Guide’ to the detriment of other Bermudian retailers.

Ministry’s Two ‘Secret Shopping Cruises’ 

So today, I would like to share with you some of the details surrounding the Ministry’s two ‘secret shopping cruises’ which were undertaken in July and August of this year on two of Bermuda’s ‘contract cruise ships’ and to expand on what was ultimately learnt from these experiences.

This year, Bermuda was projected to receive the largest number of cruise ship calls and cruise ship passengers in our history of being associated with the cruise ship industry.

We were forecasting 194 ship calls and 545,000 passengers in 2019 compared to 130 calls and 356,000 passengers in 2014.

This represents an increase of 49% in the number of cruise ship calls and a 53% increase in the number of cruise ship passengers visiting Bermuda over the past five years.

With that positive level of forecast, we would expect tourism related business sectors to be experiencing reasonably good growth . And, indeed, some are!

In researching concerns related to cruise ship visitation, the Ministry focused on the issues identified in the ‘Transport Green Paper’ relating to the lack of frictionless transportation services.

In addition, we focused on other issues brought to our attention this year by the public and visitors regarding long queues for public transportation and attractions, and what is said aboard cruise ships about Bermuda in the Port and Shopping Lectures.

It became apparent to us very quickly that we would need to experience Bermuda as a ‘cruise ship visitor’ in order to properly separate fact from fiction.

Prior to embarking on what is now known as the ‘secret shopping trips’ the Ministry of Tourism and Transport consulted with the Department of Consumer Affairs and were advised that there were 7 potential offences relating to unfair business practices under the Consumer Protection Act 1999 that should be considered when conducting our due diligence.

The Ministry’s Technical Officer is Stacey Evans.

Stacy is responsible for transport planning and she spearheaded the ‘Transport Green Paper’ initiative together with this summer’s fact-finding missions.

Stacy conducted the first ‘secret shopping trip’ [for levity, I’ll use the same description which has been adopted in the popular press] on-board the ‘Norwegian Escape’ in July.

Non-Bermuda Photos, Incorrect Information

On her return, she conveyed her concerns to the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary about:

  • the ship using non-Bermuda photos to depict our island;
  • incorrect information given in the port lecture;
  • disparaging remarks made in the Shopping Lecture regarding transportation options and the high cost of taxis;
  • the great emphasis given to sending passengers to just a few shops and restaurants featured on the port shopping map to the wholesale exclusion of numerous other fine establishments who did not advertise;
  • witnessing first-hand some of the potential offences listed in the Consumer Protection Act.

So, as a result the Permanent Secretary and Technical Officer recommended that I witness these issues first-hand so that I had a much greater understanding and a solid foundation from which to comment and implement an action plan.

The Technical Officer and I conducted the second ‘secret shopping trip’ for 5-days on-board the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s ‘Anthem of the Seas’ in August.

I saw first-hand what it is like to be a cruise ship passenger travelling to and from Bermuda, and more importantly, a what it was like to be a visitor in my ‘own backyard’.

No To Larger ‘Oasis Class’ Ships

Had I not been on-board the ‘Anthem of the Seas’ and witnessed for myself the impact that 8,000 cruise passengers have when two cruise ships are docked at the same time and then expand this to consider the further impact of 11,500 passengers arriving on even larger vessels I would not have had the first-hand knowledge to make a key decision: that was to say ‘no’ to the larger ‘Oasis Class’ ships that Royal Caribbean International proposed to bring to Bermuda starting in 2021.

Bermuda is simply not ready [yet] for that magnitude of demands on our port, transport and product infrastructure.

I witnessed for myself what was actually being said about Bermuda on the voyage to the island and took note of the unrelated photographs being used to promote Bermuda.

I observed the contrast between a seeming lack of enthusiasm for Bermuda during the ‘Port Lecture’ but at the same time the exaggerated enthusiasm for various promoted establishments during the ‘Shopping Lecture’.

I assessed the on-board shopping opportunities before arriving in Bermuda – for example, you can buy 2 Bermuda tee-shirts for only $20 before you get to Bermuda – and with a critical eye, I reviewed the on-board information including maps, flyers, shore excursion offerings, port and shopping lectures, magazines, videos, TV advertising, directions and options for transportation, as well as, where and how to buy tokens and passes for public transportation.

‘Shocked At What I Heard’

Quite frankly, I was shocked at what I heard in the Port and Shopping Lectures.

One thing that stood out was the push for passengers to bring their receipts for purchases made on-island at the ship’s recommended stores back to the ship in order to get an additional 30-day ship’s guarantee. This guarantee was not available for merchandise bought at any other establishment on the basis that they could not guarantee the quality of the products if they were not purchased at their recommended stores.

These port and shopping lectures are recorded and shown on the ships TV network 24-hours a day.

Influenced The Shopping Habits

We found that stores recommended in this manner certainly influenced the shopping habits of passengers whilst also witnessing the detrimental effect this had on other local businesses who did not advertise in their programme.

The reasons for not advertising can vary but, as we understand it, it is largely because it is very expensive to advertise and track and pay commissions.

Whilst ‘undercover’ in Bermuda, we stood for 40-minutes to get public transportation tokens.

In fact, I was so impatient that I and left after 20-minutes, leaving my Technical Officer in-line for another 20-minutes.

Transportation

We took public service vehicles to major attractions and to the beaches and from our ‘own pockets’ understand the cost of what a visitor pays to see and experience Bermuda.

We rode on public buses with standing room only, we experienced first-hand resident frustrations of not being able to get on a bus in Somerset and Southampton because it was full or had standing room only.

We rode ferries, took taxis, and, yes, we even relied on a ‘gypsy cab’ to get us back to the St. George’s ferry dock on time from Tobacco Bay.

Seeing Bermuda without the ease and comfort of my own car was a challenge, for sure.

As the Minister responsible for transport, I know what our product, challenges and capabilities are, however, it is a very different experience when you take a public bus or a taxi and the drivers believe you are a visitor and not the Minister of Tourism and Transport.

We were asked at Horseshoe Bay Beach if we had sand on our shoes or if we were wet, meaning, if we did, the driver would not have taken us to our next attraction.

On the public bus, I was the first to offer my seat to a resident, and stood patiently while other residents openly complained that we have too many tourists and not enough buses to get them to work.

‘Embarrassed For Our Visitors Riding The Bus’

I felt embarrassed for our visitors riding the bus, but at the same time I saw an urgent need to increase the bus service capacity to provide a more comfortable experience for our residents who rely on public transportation.

At Crystal Caves, we were told there would be a two-hour wait to see the caves, so we had to pass.

We observed minibus drivers openly making it difficult for passengers to pay the exact cash fare price of $7 as the driver did not appear to have change for $10, $20 or $50 bills, leaving visitors little option but to pay more for the service.

Some taxi drivers and minibus drivers were aggressive with one another when plying for hire.

Now, I am sure that many of you have read articles in the press about the secret shopper cruise – all of which focussed solely on the cost and deliberately avoided any comment on the purpose of this initiative.

If I had not been on that ship and witnessed first-hand what Port Lecturers and Shopping Guides said about Bermuda and how they promote Bermuda to push passengers to the recommended stores, we would not have been able to identify key areas of concern, and address the misinformation given in these lectures by the cruise lines.

Much Better Understanding

We now have a much better understanding of how local businesses are impacted by the lack of passenger foot traffic, especially in Hamilton; this despite the significant increase in cruise visitors.

One thing I can tell you, contrary to what may be thought, cruising to Bermuda is not cheap, especially if you book a solo cabin like I did.

After further due diligence this fall, my Ministry learnt that many retail shops affected by the downturn in the world’s economy or who do not specifically advertise in the cruise lines’ port shopping guide genuinely feel the loss of the cruise ship business that they once enjoyed.

Many shops have closed, or closed a satellite store location or are downsizing their businesses, particularly in Hamilton.

Over 200 Jobs Lost In Retail Sector In Last Two Years

We understand from the Chair of the Retail Division of the Chamber of Commerce, here today, Mr. Somers Cooper, that over 200 Bermudian jobs have been lost in the retail business sector in the last two-years as a result of enforced redundancies or early retirements.

This is significant.

Ministry Addressed Findings With Cruise Partners

I can confirm that the Ministry immediately addressed our findings with both of our contract cruise line partners in early October.

We shared with them 3 specific areas of concern in relation to the Consumer Protection Act that we observed whilst on-board the ‘Anthem of the Seas’ and which were also observed by my Technical Officer on-board the ‘Norwegian Escape’.

The lectures about Bermuda took place at sea and we recognise that our viewpoint is subjective but the areas of concern about Bermuda’s retail industry are:

  • a representation that the goods are of a standard, quality, grade, style or model if they are not;
  • a representation that a specific price advantage exists if it does not; and,
  • subjecting the consumer to undue pressure to enter into a transaction.

Our cruise partners were alarmed by our findings and apologised and have since taken positive steps to eradicate these practices.

The cruise lines have now met face to face with their third party promotional partners who provide the selling-at-sea personnel and on-board destination Port Lecturers and Shopping Guides on each ship.

The Ministry will be meeting with both RCCL and NCL in Bermuda this December for an update on the initiatives which they have implemented to eradicate these practices and what they are doing to promote more inclusive strategies.

In addition, the destination photos and videos are being switched out with new vibrant photos and videos of Bermuda.

As the Minister responsible for Tourism and Transport, it is my job to assess the state of the industry.

I am pleased to have been ‘out and about’ to see Bermuda through the eyes of a visitor.

The stakeholders who did recognise me when I was ‘out and about’ in Bermuda were positive in their comments and were happy see me in the ‘thick of things’ observing and experiencing first-hand what things are actually like on the ground!

Since the news article, I have had many people come up to me to say, ‘good job’, ‘that’s what we expect you to do’ and even people I don’t even know have written positive comments, so thank you all very much.

As an overview, I feel we are at a ‘tipping point’ for success.

I found Hamilton and St. George’s to be quiet with little dynamic activity compared with that available to passengers whilst onboard the ship.

I understand why we need more public buses and bus stop benches, as well as a digital fare media system to stop long queues for tokens and passes at Visitor Service Centers.

It is very obvious to me that we need taxi reform and better training for our front line public service vehicle drivers, in addition to more parking spaces at Horseshoe Bay Beach, and the list goes on and on!

In closing, the Ministry of Tourism and Transport continues to receive [and welcome!] feedback on the Transport Green Paper.

It has helped guide additional research, as outlined here today, on transportation and the visitor experience through the eyes of the visitor.

We are using the information gained to help shape our future transportation infrastructure and cruise strategies.

I very much look forward to discussing these topics and more with you in the coming weeks and months.

Thank you.

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  1. Preview says:

    I think the “secret shopper” initiative makes perfect sense. A much better approach than blind speculation.

    I suspect where people become suspicious, relates to whether any rubber will actually end-up hitting the road and any issues, now witnessed firsthand, will ultimately be addressed and resolved. Transport concerns are nothing new. It does appear however that a number of other issues were identified.

    • Dunn Juice says:

      Rubber hitting the road, meaning BUSES:)
      But did he actually have to take a cruise to figure out about our public buses/transport etc

    • Things a Gwan says:

      The secret shopper SHOULD not be someone local end not a public figure! Especially not a politician that lives in the Western Parishes. How many people do you think actually did not recognize him or know who he was? His experience would not be the norm.
      This press press conference just adds insult to injury.

      • Preview says:

        To some extent I agree with that, however I doubt that many, if not any, of the other passengers on the boat would have the slightest clue of who he is.

        He seems to be a sociable person. I suspect that he had the opportunity to have conversations with other passengers and probably received direct and unbiased feedback. I would certainly support this type of research over yet another lengthy and costly third-party study.

        The kicker to me will be what comes of it. Revitalizing a national “pride in product” I think is important. Regrettably it often only takes one bad experience (transport, personal interaction, etc.) to undermine the hard work of many.

      • Toodle-oo says:

        While I do agree with the gist of what you’re saying I can think of a couple of locals long connected to the travel industry who would be perfect for the undercover job . They cut their teeth in the airline industry and after many years moved on to the more relaxed travel agency market. Through the travel agency market they’ve been subject to many , many ‘fam trips’. When you couple that with knowledge of the local market they can easily spot BS from a mile away . People connected to the cruise ship industry (locally) have known for over 25 years that many staff off of the ships approach local businesses that will be virtually at the end of the ship’s gangway and demand freebies and discounts for sending passengers their way . This is something that the cruise lines CANNOT do but the local businesses succumbed to their demands and gave them what the wanted in the hope that they might see a return . It was when managers from these local companies got suspicious and fianally went on their own ‘undercover cruises’ 25 years ago that they found out they were being BS’d . The cruise lines can not endorse any on shore businesses under any circumstances .
        Anyway , at the end of the day I think that the idea was good but Zaney was a poor choice simply because of the optics involved .

  2. Dunn Juice says:

    Mean while at the bus stop!

  3. Carbon says:

    Well Done Minister, allowing 200 Bermudian jobs to be lost so a foreign retailer can bring in a dozen super sale men on temporary work permits for a seasonal business is simply not on. The problem will be enforcement because the moment your backs is turned, they will be right back it – which allowed them to destroy the retail tourist trade in Hamilton these past few years.

    I would suggest Bernews viewers Google State of Alaska vs Panoff Publishing, consent judgement to understand what is really going on. The good Minister was very understated in this regard but at least he understands, is listening, and is watching out for Bermudians.

  4. watching says:

    when I first heard of this experience a few months ago I wasn’t sure about it but hearing Min Desilva’s account I believe it was a very worthwhile experience and I anticipate changes being made in the near future to fix some of what needs fixing.

  5. Lloyd Van putten says:

    Hats off for a magnifince Job Mr Zane Desilva and his technical staff did to straighten out these Cruise Directors it’s been going on for years once again Thank You.

  6. DF says:

    This:
    I would not have had the first-hand knowledge to make a key decision: that was to say ‘no’ to the larger ‘Oasis Class’ ships that Royal Caribbean International proposed to bring to Bermuda starting in 2021.
    Bermuda is simply not ready [yet] for that magnitude of demands on our port, transport and product infrastructure.
    Hang on – why isn’t Bermuda ready and what are you doing to get it ready?

    This:
    “I felt embarrassed for our visitors riding the bus, but at the same time I saw an urgent need to increase the bus service capacity to provide a more comfortable experience for our residents who rely on public transportation.
    Ok … so when will the cancellations stop and a new schedule begin?

    And this:
    “We understand from the Chair of the Retail Division of the Chamber of Commerce, here today, Mr. Somers Cooper, that over 200 Bermudian jobs have been lost in the retail business sector in the last two-years as a result of enforced redundancies or early retirements.

    This is not all due to the cruise ships – what are government’s plans to revice the economy?

    • Real Deal says:

      turning away the big boats is a sound business decision for now. in Business your name and trust worthiness is everything. if you commit to something you can not deliver you will destroy your business. in this case is when take on more than we can chew we will mess up the experience for the vistors we are currently already eating than you wont have anything to eat because nothing will make it down your throat

  7. red rose says:

    Zane has raised some decent points but he has also put a large foot in mouth – why isn’t Bermuda ready for the new larger cruise ships? Why are there problems with the buses and the 200 job losses … well this is not all down to cruise ships, is it …

  8. sandgrownan says:

    I’m usually the first to criticize DeSilva, he is, in my not so humble opinion, a massive tool, still has huge shadow over him about Port Royal – but he has hit the nail on the head with this one.

    The fault i find here, is that it doesn’t go far enough and should have been anonymous. I cannot believe he wasn’t recognised on buses, in taxis…secondly, did he look at how boat tours and excursions are priced and sold on board, and then compare to what trickles out to the actual tour operators?

    And we all know our buses, taxis and mini-bus services suck. He needs to talk to Minister “who rarely gets things done” Burch.

  9. Bobby Barnes says:

    I was very skeptical when I first heard the Zane went on a cruise and we paid for it. BUT I am very impressed that he was able to get a first hand experience of the Bermuda and Cruise ship products.

    I do hope that he will be able to change what seems to be a poor product on the Bermuda side.

    Have you (Minster Zane and Bermuda ever given thought that all bus service (mini bus as well) could be made free by raising a tad more on our cruise tax and also a tad more on the car/bike tax so that everyone can ride public transport. It would cut back on waiting for tokens, not getting change, maybe cutting back on overall car traffic. With the extra $ raised could possibly get more busses. Give it some thought, this might work or not.

  10. Acegurl says:

    Is this ‘All fools day’? The operative word in Mystery Shopper Is Mystery!!! What was mysterious about a high profile politician from a country of twenty one square miles pretending to be a mystery shopper. This is an insult to Bermudians intelligence. If the purpose of this trip was to gain feedback, why not select a vibrant senior couple equip them with a relevant questionnaire and get them to enjoy taxpayer funds and enjoy the experience they probably can’t afford. As opposed to Mr De Silva having one more junket.. I have never seen such a blatant waste of funds in my life. Plus a press conference to attempt to redeem yourself. What a joke!

  11. Question says:

    He had to go on a cruise to learn that retail in Bermuda is in a tailspin?

    And, of course, he blames it on a mythical ‘downturn in the world’s economy’.

  12. Boston Whaler Owner says:

    Nothing many people didn’t already know.

  13. Eve says:

    Where are those now who didn’t like me supporting Zane’s fact finding trip?? If many people already knew the problems Zane exposed, why didn’t they speak up long along?? Many have ignored the problems associated with cruise ships and their passengers for years with the “good enough” attitude that is the major cause of the decline in air visitors too. BTA knew about the cruiser problem(s) for years and completely ignored it in favor of overall higher visitor numbers. As part of their research for the National Tourism Plan BTA should have interviewed cruisers, air arrival visitors and long time repeat visitors instead of relying on ‘exit surveys’. The Plan was based on input from stakeholders and BTA’s staff opinions with little or no input from actual visitors on what they expect for a positive memorable experience. Zane’s ‘Mystery Shopper’ has confirmed the need for more oversight of the BTA, which has been ignored too.

  14. Ringmaster says:

    So a Minister goes on a secret shopper cruise and learns that Bermuda is not ready for the newer cruise ships, and that local taxis and buses provide a poor service for locals as well? Well hello, after 19 years as the Government you are just learning what the people have to put up with while you drive around in your taxpayer funded car. And retail jobs are being lost? Totally out of touch and no doubt doesn’t care. After all tourists don’t vote and those locals most impacted will still vote PLP. Nothing will change.

  15. Triangle Drifter says:

    Nothing new. Nothing that has not been widely known by anyone in the tourism business for many many years.

    The taxi industry has been a mess since well back in the 1980s. No Minister has come along with the backbone to deal with them. DrEB looked like he might but he caved to them just like so many UBP Ministers before him. The Minister of Hanky Panky talks the talk but so far no walking. None expected of him.

    At one point Bermuda had a bus system with a good reputation. No longer. Again, no improvements in the foreseeable future. When a worthwhile management team runs the bus service again maybe there will be a service that operates for the people not the bus drivers. Bring on the mini buses.

    The ships. Don’t expect any lasting or meaningful changes from the ships. Commissions from preferred shore retailers & shore excursions are what puffs up their bottom line. It is the way they operate worldwide. Don’t expect tiny Bermuda to be able to break their MO. We tried. Specifically the tour boat operators of Bermuda tried as far back as the late 1980s working through the Chamber of Commerce. Like slamming your head against a wall. All you get is a headache.

    It makes no sense sending a well known public figure out on a clandestine mission. Once word is out the cover is blown. Most likely in the first hour in Bermuda. Send a relative nobody who has had experience in the hospitality field.

    • Real Deal says:

      ever Thought that because it was a MP that did not mission they agreed to make changes. i have a feeling that they would have denied it while in conversation with the MP unless we had video prof or it was him himself. are they going to look the MP in his face and telling him he is telling a lie. however it would be easy to look him in the face and tell him his people must have miss understood what was going on and what would the MP be able to say in the meeting. he would have to confront on the behave of someone else. him going undercover himself gives them no wiggle room in the meeting

  16. Rocky5 says:

    There’s nothing new here- all cruise ships do the same thing all around the world, we all already knew that Transportation in Dockyard was shambolic, the locals don’t like Tourists and retail sales started declining as soon as PLP won!

  17. Jp says:

    Sad thing is …..nothing too surprising here…..but will we change and fix the issues is the bigger question….

  18. Lone_Wolf says:

    Unfortunately, I think Bermuda is too far gone to be fixed. When PLP is in, they destroy Bermuda. When OBA is in, the citizens destroy Bermuda. Neither Party has the time, money or collective knowledge to fix what they have all created. The island is doomed. I give it another 50 years at BEST before it’s simply a ‘third world’ country. The only ‘fix’ I can see is if England steps in and fires both parties.

  19. saud says:

    “locals don’t like Tourists”

    no, only the ‘real, true, born lacals’

  20. Cruise Dude says:

    I wanted to give a point of view from a cruise passenger. I’ve been to Bermuda several times, first in the 1990′s on a smaller ship that docked in Hamilton and St. G, and recently on larger ships in Dockyard. Just a couple of quick points of perspective-

    1. The destination isn’t the point of cruises. The vast majority of the cruise is spent on the ship – basically a huge floating resort. In most cases, the destination visit is less than 8 hrs and most people take all their meals and entertainment on the ship. On NCL the Bermuda stays are longer, (up to 2.5 days), which allows far more time to explore, but most cruises pull in and out on the same day, or afternoon-overnight-morning. The short visit means most people stay within easy walking or taxi/ferry/minibus distance of the ship.

    2. The ships don’t even start talking about the port until the day before docking. Until then, it is all about what is happening on the ship (which is the main reason people cruise anyway). Even then, the port and shopping presentations are not very popular, other than for people looking for discounts (which is the whole point of the marketing linkages with local businesses). Most people know where they want to go to make the most of their brief stay (see #1).

    3. I’ve always thought that Bermuda’s reliance on the public bus system for tourist transport was nuts. I totally understand Bermudians’ frustrations with tourists locking up all the bus seats. The addition of the minibuses has helped. Scooters were fun back in the 90s, but the traffic situation is far more dangerous now than it was then.

    4. With all the development in Dockyard, and the restrictions of big ships to that area, few people will get to see Hamilton or St. G. unless there are easy ways to get there. The best thing Bermuda could do would be to add more ferry service (NCLs addition of their own ferry has helped) to move people from Dockyard to the other port attractions on the island. If people can’t get there and back quickly and without spending a fortune, they won’t leave Dockyard much further than Horseshoe Bay. Particularly if the purpose is shopping and sightseeing (instead of a beach day). There just isn’t time during the port call.

    5. When we came in the 90′s we stopped in Hamilton for a full day, then moved to St. G for another. We spent most of our time there and it was great. Dockyard was just a sleepy attraction at the end of a long scooter ride. Now Dockyard and a beach or two is all people have time to see.

    Just wanted to throw that perspective out there.

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