The larger, newer cruise ships visiting Bermuda must dock at the Royal Dockyard onthe West End. Many guests sign up for excursions offered by the cruise lines, but we like to "do it on our own" for many reasons.
This was our first docking experience here although we have visited this area on motorbike in the past. As of summer 2008, one ship can dock at the pier - Another pier is under construction. The area is nicer than I had expected, but remember, these large ships carry 2500 to 3700 passengers....so......it's going to be busy...
There is a free shuttle to take you from the ship to the dockyard. It runs every 1/2 hour and can probably carry at most 150 passengers....the walk is easy - 5 minutes on even ground.....but it may be a bit hot and sunny.
If you are on a ship's excursion, you will be picked up at the dock - otherwise - walk or take the free shuttle to the transportation center....about 5 minutes. Buses to the beaches and Hamilton or ferries to Hamilton and St. George's run continuously. You must purchase tickets for both at the ticket office.....they do not sell 15 ticket/3 zone passes that can be shared here - only individual tickets are available. If you are spending a few days, buy one ticket and purchase the packet in Hamilton as you disembark.
There is enough to keep you occupied in the Dockyard if you are on a one day stop......but why miss the rest of Bermuda ?? There is a mall-like area developed in one of the original buildings of the fortification. The shops have interesting wares for sale - gifts, clothing, food, ice cream and jewelry. There is a bathing area, but we did not see it......We took the ferry to Hamilton, walked through the town and spent a few hours at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess - a short walk from the ferry.
A nice spot to spend a few hours.....As ou exit the ferry area, turn left and walk about 10 minutes to the hotel entrance. There are two pools overlooking the harbor - always interesting because of the boat traffic - Lunch is available either outside on the deck or inside with A/C in a pub like atmosphere.
If you prefer going to the beach - and they are beautiful in Bermuda - It may be best to take a bus from the dockyard.....but the lines were long.....alternatively....you can take a ferry to Hamilton and then a bus along the South Shore and stop at one of the beaches - I've written another journal describing these beaches.....Horseshoe Bay is the most popular.
You will enjoy your day in Bermuda wether you stay at the Dockyard, visit St. George's, Hamilton or the world famous beaches.