Written by Cantin2 on 18 Sep, 2008
Exploring from St. George’s – Day 1Over the past few years, St. George’s has evolved into a lovely port – unfortunately most of the newer ships are too large to enter that harbor through the very narrow channel – you have to give up quality…Read More
Exploring from St. George’s – Day 1Over the past few years, St. George’s has evolved into a lovely port – unfortunately most of the newer ships are too large to enter that harbor through the very narrow channel – you have to give up quality of ship for the charm of docking here. But any visitor to Bermuda can m;ake their way here via ferry, bus, taxi or cycle.Historical sites have always been popular – the Anglican Church, the ………museum……St. Catherine’s Fort and……………… A few beaches are close by, Tobacco Bay and St. Catherine’s Beach below the fort and the abandoned hotel (former Club Med) are good snorkeling spots and Clearwater Beach is a quiet escape from the tourists. All are accessible via minibus for $3 each way. What I’m most impressed with are the new shops that are being built along cobblestone streets and the restaurants overlooking courtyards and the harbor…All have a clean new look while still maintaining the old world ambiance. Outdoor cafes are everywhere to enjoy day and night.I’ll focus more on cruise ship stays of three days in this review with excursions and lots of beach time. Usually two ships are docked here – always on weekdays and arriving about noon. My first day suggestion would be to leave for the beach after an early lunch . don’t spend too much time travelling – save that for an early start on the next full day.As you leave the ship, stop by the Post Office on Water St. to buy bus passes – least expensive is a card of 15 ( 3 Zone) tickets for $20. They can be shared – just tear it off and drop it in the coin box when boarding the bus – If you travel beyond 3 zones, you must use one more coupon – or you can purchase 15 (14 zone) tickets for $30. Don’t forget to pick up a bus schedule. Once you have the tickets in hand, you may want to check internet – the PO has one computer that is free for 10 minutes or the internet café is up a few steps on the way to the bus stop - $4 for 15 minutes or $7 for 30 minutes.You can choose to go to Tobacco Bay – St. Catherine’s Beach on the minibus or to Clearwater Beach on the #6 bus. The Ocean Beaches are along the South Shore and take quite a while to get to…..We chose to go to Grotto Bay Resort on the # 1,3,10 or 11 bus. It takes about 15 – 20 minutes – the first stop after the airport. You can see the complex of 3- story orange and yellow buildings on your right as you cross over the long bridge. It’s a small and rather quiet hotel.The beach here is small, but sandy and the water calm and clean – no eel grass or rocks and there is some snorkeling in the cove, rock outcroppings and a few fish hang out by a sunken barge just offshore. Lots of plastic-strapped lounge chairs about a dozen umbrellas are set up along the beach and more on three other levels. A dive shop offers scuba and snorkeling tours, sunfish,kayaks and a motorized paddle type boat for rental.Since this is a hotel, you have all that you need – A pool with a swim-up bar, again with about a dozen umbrellas and lots of lounges. It is popular with families, so it can be noisy and splashy. The bar always has a few vacationers hanging out and the restaurant is a good spot for lunch on a covered terrace overlooking the water – always busy. Portions are large, food attractively plated and fried foods are very crisp.Food runs the gamut of sandwiches, burgers, salads, wraps, Mozzerella sticks, tender, hot dogs – something for everyone at touristy prices. Staff is efficient and pleasant but bring along a credit card – cash is not accepted….Another attraction here are the caves….open from 9AM – 5PM…really worth a look – very large stalagmites and stalagtites. A re resident black cat lounges in the shade by the entrance and checks everyone out….The family wil like exploring – and the admission is free – you’ll save time and money rather than adding on the cave excursion that’s in the same neighborhood.Once we’ve had our fill of sun and water, we shower off, change into dry clothing and walk ¼ mile to the right as you exit Grotto Bay – on our way to the famous Swizzle Inn…..on our list for every trip to Bermuda. We order a pitcher…….yes…..only a pitcher will do….of "Swizzles" and share an order of beer battered onion rings…Oh My!!!!!! I can just taste them now……..By now it’s close to 6PM – We’re happy and ready to head back to the ship. Any bus that goes past Swizzle Inn will drop you in St. George’s….just make sure that you are on the correct side of the road and not heading to Hamilton…..remember….they drive on the "wrong" side…..Maybe a few shops are still open before you board the ship for dinner and an evening of fun.Hope you enjoy your day as much as we do……Go to Swizzle Inn Review to read about the pub. Close
Written by mikro on 25 Jul, 2007
The ship arrived in Nassau, Bahamas at 8pm, seven hours late. All shore excursions were canceled which resulted in many disappointed and angry guests. The usual shops were closed, the Straw Market had a few vendors waiting for the ship before the rats came out at…Read More
The ship arrived in Nassau, Bahamas at 8pm, seven hours late. All shore excursions were canceled which resulted in many disappointed and angry guests. The usual shops were closed, the Straw Market had a few vendors waiting for the ship before the rats came out at night. One bar, Senor Frogs, was open. The only other option was taking a taxi over to Atlantis Resort and Casino. That place is incredible, although you could not see much of the grounds at night. The aquarium and Dig were open and, of course, the casino.
Second stop on our cruise was Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian Cruise Line's private island. There were long lines waiting for the tenders to go ashore. The island had a beautiful beach with lounge chairs and umbrellas, hammocks and picnic tables in the shaded areas, beach volleyball and its own straw market. You can explore a bit of the island on the footpath to the lighthouse. Snorkeling, floats, and parasailing are available, plus the usual drinks and photos all for a fee. The ship's staff come ashore to prepare the BBQ lunch. Be prepared for a long wait in the sun to return to the cruise ship.
Our third port was Kings Wharf on the West end of Bermuda. At the dock you can purchase an all-day pass for the buses and ferries. We took a bus to Horseshoe Beach, a beautiful setting on the south shore of the island. This beach has a bath house, snack bar, and umbrella rental. The pristine waters and coral formations are amazing. It's a perfect spot to spend the day.
We wanted to see more of the island so we rode the bus to Hamilton, the bustling capital. We enjoyed shopping, lunch at a local pub, visiting the cathedral and watching the sailing classes in the harbor. A ferry ride brought us back to Kings Wharf and the Royal Naval Dockyard for more shopping. Don't miss the Bermuda Rumcake factory and Bermuda Glassworks.
Written by MaggieG on 30 Jun, 2005
We arrived in Bermuda on Tuesday morning. Our ship was berthed right in downtown St. George – and we bought a 3-day bus/water taxi pass ($23 each) to get around. The bus system is excellent and runs frequently. Pink poles indicate bus stops…Read More
We arrived in Bermuda on Tuesday morning. Our ship was berthed right in downtown St. George – and we bought a 3-day bus/water taxi pass ($23 each) to get around. The bus system is excellent and runs frequently. Pink poles indicate bus stops for buses going toward Hamilton, and blue poles are "outbound," or away from Hamilton. All of the drivers we encountered were very helpful in directing us to whichever number bus we needed and where to get it or transfer. (We had decided that mopeds were not the way for us to go, even before the ship announced that they advised against them due to so many accidents!) I didn’t realize how hilly Bermuda is! Even though the island is only 26 miles long, it takes a couple of hours to get from one end to the other! But it is so pretty, we never minded poking along in the buses.
The ship moored right at the Town Square in St. George. There was a street fair the first night we were there, with craft booths and street dancers, as well as a costumed reenactment of typical early trials and punishments – the woman was ducked in the water for gossiping and the man put in the stocks for cursing. It was lots of fun (at least for the spectators).
The one shore excursion (of the many offered) we scheduled was a horse-and-carriage tour of St. George and the surrounding area for the first morning we were in Bermuda. Charles, our driver, was really informative about the flowers and trees, as well as local customs and how each home’s limestone roof helps purify and collect the rainwater for that family’s use. I thought the "Moon Gates" (circular gates where you make a wish each time you step through) were fascinating, and we all loved the beautiful colors of the homes, the many flowers, and the many bays – we couldn’t believe how clear the water was!
Charles timed our visit to the strait, going into St. George’s harbor just right, because we got there just as the NCL sister ship, Norwegian Crown, was going through the narrow strait. It was so close, I felt we could just about touch it! It was no wonder I had doubts that we would fit through when our ship approached St. George.
We spent one day at Tobacco Bay, where I did my snorkeling. The water was so clear, but quite a chilly 72°F. (I forgot that we were in the Atlantic Ocean – I was expecting water to be more like Florida or Hawaii.) After being in the water for about 45 minutes, my teeth would start chattering, making it a bit difficult to keep a good seal around the snorkel tube, so I’d get a mouthful of saltwater. Then I’d come in to enjoy the sun and sand until I warmed up. (My husband doesn’t go in cold water, so he enjoyed the beach, but he never got his pink gin on a pink beach, because Bermuda doesn’t allow the public consumption of alcohol.) The reef fish were brightly colored and GORGEOUS. The prettiest fish seemed to like to be near the gap in the rocks, which is where the cold water came in! BRRRRR, but so pretty.
Waiting for the water taxi one day, I wondered at the view of our ship moored behind and totally dwarfing the Deliverance, a replica of the ship that was wrecked on Bermuda, and the crew had to use local materials to repair it before they could leave. I think we sail larger ships than the Deliverance in our San Francisco Bay!
We took a water taxi to Dockyard, where we had a neat lunch at the Frog & Onion and visited the arts-and-crafts shops. Then we caught buses and worked our way back to the ship at St. George. We got out at various places to explore – our friends wanted to climb a lighthouse, while we wanted to enjoy another beach, so we split up and rejoined at another pub – the Swizzle Inn (where you "Swizzle In and Swagger Out," although if one has too many of their rum swizzles, I imagine STAGGERING out would be more likely). It was a good meeting spot, because we had to change buses there. When we found that the Swizzle Inn was such a really neat place, we returned another day for a tasty lunch.
We sailed out of Bermuda on Friday evening, and we saw a lovely sunset as we were leaving. And then on Sunday, we were back in Boston and back into miserable weather. We had very enjoyable cruise and visit to Bermuda and have many fond memories of the trip. I would go again.
Written by mconrad1600 on 28 Mar, 2004
I stayed at the Royal Sonesta Hotel -- a great place to stay. It is right on the ocean with many activities daily for all members of the family. There are three beach areas (one beach is accessible by shuttle, which the…Read More
I stayed at the Royal Sonesta Hotel -- a great place to stay. It is right on the ocean with many activities daily for all members of the family. There are three beach areas (one beach is accessible by shuttle, which the hotel provides). There are two swimming pools. The hotel has several very good restaurants, bars, and shops. If you felt like just relaxing, you could stay right at the hotel for your entire vacation and you would have everything you need. But the island is worth seeing, and the public transportation is easy to do and very inexpensive. Right in front of the hotel is a bus stop (both sides of the street), so it is very convenient. Be sure to go to the orientation that the hotel offers. They provide you with great information and maps, etc. They also have interesting trips that you may want to take. The hotel's staff is very friendly and helpful.
I was there in May, which is a little cool still for swimming in the ocean. The temperature was in the 70's every day, which made it great for touring and other outdoor activities. THE FLOWERS WERE ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!
The only negative thing I can say about Bermuda is that it is very expensive for accommodations and food. Many people have told me that it is the reason that they take a cruise to Bermuda. The best of both worlds. So if you like cruising, it may be the answer.
Written by beentravelin on 24 May, 2008
Just returned from Bermuda. Sailed on NCL. We left from Charleston SC. The ship is a little dated, but that didn't detract from all the fun being had. This was mostly an older persons cruise (50 to 60), but us younger…Read More
Just returned from Bermuda. Sailed on NCL. We left from Charleston SC. The ship is a little dated, but that didn't detract from all the fun being had. This was mostly an older persons cruise (50 to 60), but us younger folks all seemed to find each other. We had a good time in the casino and a better time on deck in the hottubs. Drinks were pricey but we expected that. The food was better than average. Once in St. George Bermuda the fun continued. We ate twice and partied once at a restaurant/night club called the White Horse. The food was excellent, and the club was fairly hopping for weekday. There was a good mix of locals and cruisers alike. We visited a couple of gorgeous beaches. Elbow beach is mostly a private beach (Elbow Beach Resort and Club). But the public section was very nice too. Horshoe Bay was one of the prettiest beaches I've ever seen (the prettiest being Bavaro beach Punta Cana DR). The people of Bermuda are some of the kindest I've met in all of my travels.My mother passed away while I was at the Bonefish Grill at the Royal Naval Dockyard. The bartender (Adam Kirk), was so understanding and offered to help in any way he could. He offered a cab ride, a drink on the house, and a pat on the back. What a nice man with a kind heart. We also made the trek up to Gibb's Hill Lighthouse and were rewarded with astounding views. You can go there as part of a $52 pp tour through the cruise ship or you can buy a two day bus ticket. The entrance fee to the lighthouse was only $2.50 pp. On our last day we took a carriage ride in the hills around St. George. The tour was wonderful. Our driver/owner/operator Broncky was full of wonderful information. However our tour did run a littlte long and just as promised the boat waited. One more tour to mention that we went on was a glass bottom boat cruise that was run by an all female staff. They did a wonderful job and the (open) bartender/fish and coral expert kept us buzzed and well informed. It was an excellent trip and we would most certainly do it again. Close
Written by lwoodie on 30 Nov, 2003
Bermuda, heralded as a gem of the Atlantic. Mike and I went to check it out in April of 2003 and came away a little jilted. Our cruise aboard Carnival’s Legend (a SPECTACULAR SHIP) left out of Baltimore, which was . . .…Read More
Bermuda, heralded as a gem of the Atlantic. Mike and I went to check it out in April of 2003 and came away a little jilted. Our cruise aboard Carnival’s Legend (a SPECTACULAR SHIP) left out of Baltimore, which was . . . an experience in and of itself. The staff was unprepared for the volume; therefore, what had to be more than half of the ship’s guests were waiting on the dock an hour after the ship was supposed to disembark. We were among that number – had been waiting for over two hours to board the ship. But once we got on – wow. How magnificent the ship was!
We already knew we loved Carnival cruise lines but it intensified with this new ship. It was GORGEOUS!!! Better than Celebrity’s Galaxy and that had been our favorite looking ship to date. It was awesome – done in an ancient civilizations theme.
Bermuda was . . . okay. We went to the most popular beach – Horseshoe Bay Beach. It was very scenic – that much I will say for Bermuda in general. But the water was COLD. And there were no water activities on this, their most popular beach. For us, that stinks. We like to do the beach – everything it offers, we will get into. But there wasn’t anything to do except snag some sand for my growing sand collection – the sand is gorgeous with its pink flecks.
We too a bus in to town to check that out – maybe do some shopping. The prices were outrageous! Rivaling Grand Cayman! And that is a bad thing. The pastel buildings were nice but not enough to make us hang out around town. We left after an hour of getting there.
The drive to Hamilton from where we docked took about 30 minutes. It was beautiful.
We decided that at least we saw it once. No desire to go back – hurried or not.
Written by katshadow on 08 Feb, 2003
Royal Caribbean has a cruise that sails from New York. With all the added security, we didn’t have a problem with New York and, better yet, discovered Royal Caribbean provided bus transportation from our county in PA to the pier in New York.
Royal Caribbean has a cruise that sails from New York. With all the added security, we didn’t have a problem with New York and, better yet, discovered Royal Caribbean provided bus transportation from our county in PA to the pier in New York.
We left in June on the Nordic Empress. Their check-in process had long lines but they moved fairly fast--we were on board within 45 minutes after getting off the bus. The room is smaller then most of Carnival’s rooms, but similar in size to Princess. While we didn’t have a balcony, per se, our cabin was at the front of the ship and we had a small deck outside that became our balcony. Most of the time, we were the only two people on that deck.
The first evening we went to the show. There was a comedian named Julie Barr, who was very funny. She even knew about the Lancaster County Amish! Most of the evening entertainment was good, but she stood out.
We watched the sunset the first night and discovered that the legend of the green flash just before the sunset is true. It's actually quite pretty, shame it doesn’t last long.
We arrived in Bermuda after a full day at sea, at Kings Wharf or the Dock Yard. Disembarkation was a little disorganized, and it took longer then expected to get off. Part of the reason for this was a shortage of personnel in Bermuda, but the inspectors were pleasant.
The blue and pink buses were convenient for getting around. Since we had never been to Bermuda and they drive on the opposite side of the road, we didn’t want to try the motorbikes. (Although one of the couples at our dining table rented one and said they didn’t have any real problems getting around.) There are taxis available, but the buses ran on time and were very inexpensive. They don’t have rental cars on the island at all, and once you see the traffic, you'll understand why.
Our first trip was on the #7 bus to Gibbs Hill Lighthouse; you get off at the bottom of the hill and have a short walk uphill to the lighthouse. We paid $2.50 per person to climb the lighthouse, but it was worth it--the view was stunning. The water was so clear--a pretty emerald and turquoise green, and we could see our ship at Kings Wharf. The roofs of the houses are interesting and done in steps with a gutter that runs from top to bottom, winding around the roof; this is to collect the rain water for later use.
We walked part of the way back on the Railway Trail. There used to be a train that ran along the route, but Bermuda sold it and removed a lot of the rails about sixty years ago. (Guess they wish they hadn’t done that now with the heavy traffic.) The walk was nice--lots of shade and low uphill and downhill grades. You can rent bikes to ride, but we enjoy hiking and found the pace worked really well for us.
While there, we took a trip that included kayaking. Since we had tried this in Mexico, we decided to do it here. We boarded a boat at the dock that took us to Paradise Island and the kayaks. We paddled around various island and saw a couple of turtles poking their heads above the water. If you watched closely, you could see sponges and fish in the water around the kayak. The tour group was Fantasea tours--they were great both as guides and entertainment.
Another day we discovered Horseshoe Beach. We had purchased a NEAT sheet before leaving home and used this for the beach blanket. This was really nice because the water is absorbed quickly and you don’t have a wet blanket. It’s lightweight and easy to carry. This is a great beach for swimming and snorkeling; there were some beautiful blue fish and striped fish swimming around the rocks. All the superlatives are true about the pink sand beach and the turquoise water!
Don’t rely on the ferry system to get around. We tried to use it twice, and even the local people didn’t seem to know whether it was running. Supposedly they are upgrading the system but . . . Also, the people with Royal Caribbean had no idea about the condition of the ferries.
We set out to see St. George (one of the times we tried to use the ferry). When it didn’t show up, we boarded the #8 bus to Hamilton. It took about 45 minutes to get to the bus terminal in downtown Hamilton. There you change buses for St. George by getting on the #10. We left Kings Wharf around 9am and arrived in St. George at 11am. The bus wasn’t bad, I got to see a lot of the island and didn’t have to worry about traffic.
St. George is worth the trip. We took a walk around the alleys and streets; there are lots of interesting houses, gorgeous flowers, and churches. I found the tombstones quite interesting reading. If you’re into shopping, there are lots of small shops to browse through. Also, there are lots of interesting restaurants. We ate at Taverna by the Sea on the pier. Good food, great atmosphere.
The ship moved from the wharf to Hamilton during the afternoon, so we returned to Hamilton on the #11 bus.
If you get a chance, try to find a moongate. Supposedly, if you walk through one, it will bring you luck. There are several located around the island at private residences, but we found one near the dock area.
Since we aren’t really shoppers, we didn’t spend a lot of time in the stores in Hamilton, but they have a nice variety. We did find some beautiful Spode dishes at Blucks and some spicy sauces--Jack’s Hot Sauce lives up to its name.
The Royal Caribbean had a special buffet with ice sculptures late one night. Unfortunately, we were so stuffed from the good food at dinner every night that we didn’t try any of the food but we did go down to take pictures and enjoy the display. Find out early if your cruise does this and try to leave room in your stomach--the food really looked great!
When we returned to New York, the Statue of Liberty was bathed in sunlight. I wonder if the immigrants coming in by ship were as awed as we were.
Written by anchoredarch on 22 Dec, 2005
I would not go back on this cruise line again. I have been on one other cruise and it was way better than this one. Plus, other people who cruise on a regular basis agreed with us. The food was just OK, and the service is not…Read More
I would not go back on this cruise line again. I have been on one other cruise and it was way better than this one. Plus, other people who cruise on a regular basis agreed with us. The food was just OK, and the service is not as good as the other cruise lines. And, I thought that the staff handled themselves in a very unprofessional way when small problems did occur. I spent a bulk of my time on this cruise, standing in line, trying to rectify the problems. The entertainment was good, but I've seen better. The entertainment host was FANTASTIC, because of him the shows were much better. Close
Written by BETTYBOO on 15 Apr, 2003
Be sure and check out the lighthouse near Hamilton, where you can actually go up to the top and catch the most amazing view of Bermuda!…Read More
Be sure and check out the lighthouse near Hamilton, where you can actually go up to the top and catch the most amazing view of Bermuda! Close
Written by Elizabeth Ard on 17 Apr, 2011
My great-grandfather, Harry North, was a native Bermudian, member of colonial Parliament, + gentleman farmer. He once owned the land that this resort sits on. He gave it to the government in the 30s/40s, to be a nature reserve, and later they sold it to…Read More
My great-grandfather, Harry North, was a native Bermudian, member of colonial Parliament, + gentleman farmer. He once owned the land that this resort sits on. He gave it to the government in the 30s/40s, to be a nature reserve, and later they sold it to developers who made a fortune establishing a resort, one of Conde-Nast's best, in yearly reviews.Mixed feelings by Yours Truly. .Lovely rooms and service, good food, gorgeous beach with tropical fish swirling around one's thighs, but too many loud, "ugly-American + other- countries" patrons who ruined the experience, whatever it was, in situations where one was around other guests. I was so saddened that this beautiful land -my Great-grandfather's Gift- had been hijacked to cater to the wealthy demographic. Close