The cruise ship MV Veendam made a visit to Bonne Bay Tuesday morning, with passengers coming ashore at Woody Point. Four more ships are expected to the area in September. — Photos by Paul Hutchings/The Western Star
By Paul Hutchings
TC Media—Woody Point
Cruise ship season has begun in Bonne Bay with the arrival of the MS Veendam, the sister ship to the MS Maasdam, which made an appearance last year.
Several hundred ship passengers made their way off the shuttle boats to come ashore to a party-like atmosphere. The town provided entertainment with singers and dancers, and gave away free souvenirs.
“It’s not touristy, and I love that,” said ship passenger Johnny Patichi of London, England.
“Other places we’ve been to aren’t like this at all. It’s not overcrowded and it’s so beautiful.”
The town has come to expect several cruise ship visits each summer, with four more expected later this year.
Volunteers from the town said this year ship passengers seemed more interested in staying in town than other years, but some still wanted to see the sites.
Volunteer greeter Sharon Chaulk said visitors are asking about certain local attractions.
“They ask about the visitor centre, the lighthouse and the Tablelands,” she said. “There’s a tour around Bonne Bay; they’re asking about that, but a lot more this year seem to just want to stay put and walk around, to see what we have here in town.”
The ship has a passenger capacity of about 1,350 and can reach a speed of 22 knots. It is about 719 feet long and weighs about 57,000 GRT (gross registered tonnage). It was put into service in 1996 and is named for an area in the Netherlands.
The ship arrived in Bonne Bay at about 6:30 a.m., according to passenger accounts. Those who weren’t asleep said sailing into Bonne Bay was a beautiful experience that they would most definitely suggest to friends and family.
A San Diego couple called the area “quaint,” and said they don’t miss the California smog.
A Las Vegas woman added she loved talking to the locals with their “interesting accents,” and particularly enjoyed a conversation she had with a local about his garden.
Four more cruise ship visits are expected in September. Woody Point’s website includes a list of scheduled visits.
The Western Star