*Photo by Mikaela Pearman
*Photo by Mikaela Pearman

Just after 7am this morning, a magnificent mega cruise ship sailed into Dockyard, sneaking behind Commissioner’s House.

That ship, the Norwegian Breakaway, was greeted with gunfire from the cannons in Dockyard and bustling locals awaiting its arrival.

Dozens of Bermudians were buzzing around Dockyard from before 7am to welcome the ship on its maiden voyage to Bermuda.

In addition to steel pan music by the New Bermuda All Star Steel Band and another set of music by DJ Pepe, cruise ship passengers were greeted with Black Seal Rum as soon as they stepped on land.

Andrew Holmes of Gosling’s had a tent set up, offering guests Rum Swizzle, Dark ‘N Stormys and Ginger Beer.

“We thought for the inaugural visit for the Breakaway, we decided that we would welcome then with some Swizzle and Dark ‘N Stormys right off the boat.”

The Swizzle was being churned in Sheila Gosling’s original washing machine and poured out for guests into sample-sized cups.

Hamilton Town Crier Ed Christopher was on site in his full Town Crier clothing.

“I am here to welcome the Norwegian Breakaway on its inaugural trip to Bermuda.

“I will be here for pictures with the passengers and I am here as the official greeter.”

Taxi operator Leon Smith said his fellow drivers were optimistic about the large volume of passengers.

“First of all, it’s nice to knew that the ship is here and hopefully that all goes well when the people come off.

“We’re looking to have a good day. We have talked to TCD and everyone seems to be happy.

“The weather is cooperating with us. We’re all optimistic.”

Mr Smith also conducts tours of the island where he takes tourists from Dockyard all the way down to St George’s.

Michael Tucker of Affordable Rides was also feeling optimistic about catering to the thousands of tourists.

“It’s good for us. I was one of the ones saying we weren’t going to be ready so it's a good thing that we are.

“I swallow my words. We should be alright if we can move the people in an orderly fashion.”

Passengers disembarked from the ship just before 9am and were greeted to dancing from the Warwick Gombey Troupe.

Megan and Daniel McDonald travelled from the Cayman Islands to New York to sail into Bermuda.

Mr McDonald said: “It was a good trip, a long trip. We sailed for three nights.

“We’re not sure what we are going to do yet but probably go to the beaches.”

Adrian Hunte from New York plans to visit the courts while she’s here.

“I’m with my husbands and we are getting ready to go play golf at Port Royal.

“We have been here before on a couple of cruises. We’ll be going to play golf.

“I usually go to the courthouse and we’ll probably run the railway trails.”

Karen and Fred Lord flew to New York from Little Rock, Arkansas.

Mr Lord said: “It’s been fun, the first two minutes in Bermuda have been great.”

Mrs Lord said the couple had a list of things they wanted to do including visiting Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse, going to Horseshoe Bay and down to St George’s.

“Instead of getting the excursions, we got bus and ferry passes to see the island,” she added.

Comedian Nadanja Bailey walked onto the pier where he picked up couple Ray and Stephanie Mason for a tour.

He said: “I am about to take them on a nice tour and tell them all about my lovely island.

“I’m taking them everywhere, going end to end and then I will come back and do another one later.”

Speaking on the arrival of the Breakaway, Mr Bailey said: “The music they have, they need to have it every time there’s a boat in.

“They need to have some kind of entertainment when boats arrive. If one DJ can’t make it, they can alternate.

“At least have some music when they dock.”

Mr and Mrs Mason drove to New York from Tennessee after stopping to see family in Virginia.

Their whole voyage took 19 hours.

Mr Mason said: “The ship is wonderful. It’s fantastic. Everything was wonderful.”

Mr Mason added: “We’re going on the island tour today and going to the beach tomorrow.”

Earlier in the day Premier Craig Cannonier led the welcoming committee as the 1,083 foot long ship steamed into Dockyard.

He said: “I think you can feel the enthusiasm and the excitement about this maiden voyage to Bermuda.

“This is a fantastic thing to have the Breakaway here. To see this floating hotel, city, this is truly an epic time for us in Bermuda.

“We want to thank Norwegian for making its maiden voyage here and dedicating this season to Bermuda.”

The ship, which can carry nearly 4000 passengers, will be docked at Heritage Wharf until Friday.

Public Works Minister Trevor Moniz said that some parts of the work on the wharf still had to be done.

He added: “However, this eventuality was carefully planned for and the contingencies were established from the outset to ensure that there would be no obstacle to the arrival of the Norwegian Breakaway.

“These contingencies were discussed with Norwegian Cruise Lines’ officials and I’m happy to report they met with their satisfaction and approval.”

Tourism and Transport Minister Shawn Crockwell said: “I want to extend a warm welcome to the passengers and crew of the Breakaway. You are the most important people in this whole day.

“We say welcome and I encourage you to go on shore to experience all the wonderful attractions we have here for you in Bermuda.”

Breakaway Captain Evans Hoyt added: “Norwegian has been bringing ships to Bermuda since the inception of the cruise industry. The relationship has been strong.

“With us bringing our newest ship, having Bermuda as her destination just seemed fitting. Thank you for the welcome the ship has received here.”