A former judge from New York and his wife were devastated when a plan to revisit their honeymoon spot of Bermuda for their golden anniversary was disrupted by Hurricane Florence.
Peter and Mary Boggia’s cruise from New York to Dockyard on the Norwegian Escape was rerouted to the Bahamas instead, but the Bermuda Tourism Authority and island hotels stepped in to make sure the couple had a 50th anniversary to remember.
Mr Boggia, 75, said the gesture had reinforced their love of the island, which they had visited 12 times. “It rekindled our love for Bermuda. It is such a paradise. The people are fantastic. Everyone is so good.
“We were so glad to get to this tranquil, gorgeous area. That is why we have been here now 13 times and tell all of our friends to forget all those Caribbean islands. Come to Bermuda. It’s fantastic.”
Mr and Mrs Boggia were unaware that their family had been in touch with the BTA before their ship was rerouted and that the BTA had decided they would celebrate their marriage milestone despite the hurricane cruise change.
Glenn Jones, BTA director of strategy and corporate communications, said: “We were trying to put plans in place to celebrate them and then their cruise got diverted.
“After we were in the clear for Florence, because there was a minute where we weren’t sure, Kevin Dallas, our CEO, said the right thing to do would be to make sure they got the anniversary they wanted.
“When we talked to them, they really didn’t want to go to the Bahamas, so we made arrangements with Rosewood and the Fairmont Southampton so they could still come here.”
The couple were able to cancel the rerouted cruise, which should have arrived in Bermuda on Wednesday and left tomorrow, and flew to Bermuda instead.
Paul Telford, managing director of Rosewood Bermuda, met the couple at the hotel yesterday afternoon and presented them with a variety of Bermuda-themed gifts including perfume and rum swizzle.
A spokesman for the Fairmont Southampton said: “We are delighted to have assisted with the Boggias’s visit after hearing of their diverted cruise and will be hosting them for their anniversary dinner at the Waterlot Inn.”
Mr Boggia and his wife chose Bermuda as their honeymoon destination on the advice of a friend and fell in love with the island.
He said: “I had never been on a plane. The furthest I had gone was Asbury Park in New Jersey.
“We were told the place to go was the Hamilton Princess, and it was so idyllic.
“I remember going to the beach, taking the bus. It was so fantastic, peaceful. No conventions, just people wanting to enjoy themselves.”
Mrs Boggia, 75, added: “Just landing in Bermuda and seeing the colour of the water ... it was breathtaking.”
The couple returned to the island on a regular basis and when their anniversary, September 21, was on the horizon, Bermuda was their destination of choice.
Mr Boggia said they decided to take a cruise to avoid the hustle and bustle of JFK International Airport. But before they could board the cruise ship, they were warned that it would be sailing to Florida and the Bahamas instead of Bermuda.
Ms Boggia said: “It was a bummer. We started thinking what would we do? Our daughter, Nina, and her husband were going to be in Bermuda.
“I resigned myself, but I was thinking it was not what we signed on for.
“The cruise was a means to get to Bermuda.”