Cruising to Bermuda is a rare treat since not that many cruise ships go there. Because of various rules and regulations and the country’s desire to limit the amount of cruise ship traffic invading its borders, only a select number of cruise lines currently sail there.
Bermuda is very convenient to the north-east United States home ports and it is an easy one or two-day sail from Philadelphia, Baltimore and New York City.
It is not a part of the Caribbean. Rather it is a chain of some 120 islands which lie out in the Atlantic Ocean, some of which are not even large enough to build a freestanding shelter.
Bermuda is a visitor’s paradise specifically because the Bermudian government has taken steps to keep it that way. No billboards are permitted, nor are rental cars. Residents are the only ones permitted to drive. Tourists must take taxis or use bikes or mopeds to get around.
Bermuda is a somewhat provincial place. The national dress is Bermuda shorts and the island has some quaint rules regarding just how much skin one can show. For example, if you’re wearing your bikini, don’t even think about venturing more than 25 feet from the beach in it, unless you don a cover-up garment first.
About 550,000 visitors venture to Bermuda each year, and many of them come by cruise ship. Most itineraries that include Bermuda are what the industry calls “Bermuda only” sailings, and they spend several days docked at different areas of the island on cruises that usually span about a week in length. The three major points of interest are King’s Wharf, St. George’s and Hamilton, and many ships will spend some time docked in one of these ports.
Bermuda has something for almost everybody to do. Of course, the beach is a big attraction and offers much in the way of family fun. The season runs from April to September and during the summer months the sun can be fierce, making Bermuda a great place to work on your tan.
Golfing is big in Bermuda and it has more golf courses per square foot than any other region of the world. The weather is perfect for it, and many of the cruise ships visiting here will offer golf programmes as part of their shore excursion attractions. For example, a ship with a golf simulator might offer so many hours of instruction while onboard ship, with several escorted port excursions to play the various courses Bermuda has to offer.
There are lots of cultural attractions in Bermuda as well that can keep the whole family entertained. These include the brand new Bermuda Aquarium, a Natural History Museum and a zoo facility located in Hamilton. The aquarium includes a large collection of tropical fish — including a 140,000-gallon tank which is filled with “Nemo” look-alikes.
There are plenty of eateries on Bermuda, with something to appeal to everyone. Some cruise ships, most notably Norwegian Cruise Line, offers a special ‘Dining Ashore’ programme where they provide a $25 voucher to be redeemed at participating restaurants on the island. This programme allows the cruise line to direct tourist dollars to the island businesses, while at the same time providing more choice for their own cruise passengers.