Note: In 2017 we posted this article about our first visit to Bermuda. We have since returned three times and have just completed our fourth visit on board the Azamara Journey. We are currently in route to the Azores and eventually Portugal, where we will disembark and spend a few days exploring Lisbon and Porto. Since internet access is unpredictable and it will be a while before we can share our current experience, I thought you might enjoy this look at Bermuda to understand why we keep coming back.
We live in South Florida, home to some of the worlds most beautiful beaches and several mega cruise ports so we have done a fair share of Caribbean cruises. This time however, we wanted a change of pace and decided to drive to Bayonne, NJ for a cruise to Bermuda that sailed out of Cape Liberty. The seven night cruise aboard the Celebrity Summit was a great starting point for our month long “Island Adventure” road trip along the East Coast last June.
We boarded the Summit on a rainy day, spent two rainy days at sea, followed by a rainy day in Bermuda. This was our first visit to Bermuda and we were not about to be put off by a little rain. We disembarked the ship, which docked at Kings Wharf, by 8:30 a.m., walked to the ticket booth at our pier and purchased a Ferry/Bus ticket for the day. We toured Hamilton, (shopping) St. George (history) several beaches, the “Unfinished Church” and even a cave before returning to the ship in the late afternoon, soaking wet, but happy. The rainy day had a silver lining since taking the Ferry and local buses gave us a great overview of the Island. Where to return to for a longer visit was an easy decision.
The reason to visit Bermuda and why you will want to return time and again is of course the beaches. The sand really is pink and the water is definitely 50 shades of blue. We spent the next two days of our time in Bermuda beach-combing, snorkeling and simply relaxing in the tropical air. It is very easy and reasonably priced to get a taxi that holds 8 to 10 passengers at the pier in front of the ship. Returning is just as convenient from many of the island’s spectacular beaches. Local buses are also an option. However, there are lots of stops along the way which is great if you have a full day, but inadvisable on your departure day.
Horseshoe Beach (pictured here) is a public beach and very popular with tourist, so get there early if you want to take a few photos without the crowds. With over 4 miles of beachfront and numerous private coves with amazing rock formations you can easily spend a day roaming around here. There are several spots where you will have to wade through ankle deep water to get around the rocks to the next cove, but it is well worth it to experience the quieter side of this popular beach. Or, if exploring and photography are not your thing, rent a chair and umbrella from the pavilion at the entrance to the beach and simply enjoy the view without moving a muscle.
One of hundreds of beautiful limestone formations along Horseshoe Beach.
We were not sure if it would be easy to book a tour once we got to the island, so we made a reservation on the Rising Son through Island Tour Centre before we left home. It was a little cheaper than the same tour that the cruise ship offered and very convenient. We literally boarded our vessel at the same pier where our ship was docked. There were a lot of people in line at the Island Tour Centre purchasing day trips on the spot. The tour took us out to a coral reef for a half day of snorkeling, paddle boarding and even cliff jumping. Of course, the rum runners on the return trip were a big hit!
For us, cruising is about the destination and has little to do with the ship. If it is comfortable, serves decent food and provides reasonable service, we will be happy. All of those applied to the Summit for this cruise. Having four out of seven days at sea might be challenging for some, but we have learned to busy ourselves with board games, reading, gym workouts and attending classes. Most cruise ships today have developed a schedule of on board activities that extend well beyond napkin folding classes – although I enjoy those too!
We have back to back cruises scheduled for the spring and will be returning to Bermuda, for a short visit on the first leg of that trip. Hopefully, it will be a perfect 70 degrees and sunny!