Port Destination – Bermuda

Bermuda was one of the ports on our January transatlantic crossing on Cunard’s Queen Victoria. Jane and I first started going to Bermuda about forty years ago. This gives us perspective. Here’s what you should know.

  • Location: Bermuda is a 21 square mile “island” about 665 miles off North Carolina. To put this perspective, Manhattan Island is about 23 square miles. However, Bermuda is lots of little islands connected by bridges.
  • Towns. The population of Bermuda is about 62,000. Hamilton is the capitol. St. George, at the eastern end is another bigger town. Your ship will likely come in at the Royal Navy Dockyard, a short ferry ride from Hamilton.
  • Climate. You will be pleasantly surprised. Because of the Gulf Stream, it was about 60-70 degrees when we visited in January. They get rain.
  • Atmosphere. It’s a British territory off the US coast. You get a bit of both cultures. They use the Bermuda dollar as the official currency, but it’s pegged to the US dollar. English is the primary language.
  • Getting around. Your ship is likely not in port all that long. If you aren’t on a tour, you will probably want to visit Hamilton. FYI: I would guess the town is about five city blocks by five city blocks. It’s not big. The ferry takes about 20 minutes once it gets going, but it needs to load, unload and keep to a schedule. Figure the boats run every hour. Get a schedule. A round trip is $ 9.00. Bear in mind everyone on your ship (and others) will want to get back. The ferries can be crowded. Taking a local bus the long way around can be a pleasant experience. I’m guessing it takes at least an hour. They have taxis, but it will be a long ride into Hamilton.
  • Mopeds. Powered scooters are the traditional way visitors and locals get around. It’s unlikely you will have enough time to rent one and do some serious exploring, unless you are docked for a couple of days.
  • Things to do. Bermuda is famous for its pink sand beaches and aquamarine water. You want to see these. Famous ones are Horseshoe Bay Beach and Elbow Beach. A famous local product is Goslings Dark Rum. Generally speaking, it’s a low-rise environment. Years ago, no building in Hamilton was taller than the Bank of Bermuda building, which was about five stories. Houses you see are usually detached and painted in white or soft pastel colors. Because of your time constraints, booking a tour is probably the best way to experience Bermuda.
  • Food. It’s an island. Expect fish. It’s British. Expect pub food. It’s been a high-end travel destination for US professionals for at least fifty years. There are fashionable resorts with their own restaurants.
  • Prices. Bermuda is expensive. Virtually everything must be flown in. Prepare yourself for sticker shock. Here’s an example: They have an outpost of Marks & Spencer, the British department store chain. The two pack of men’s briefs I bought in Southampton for about $ 15.00 is $ 30.00 in Bermuda. As a wine fan, I go looking for wine stores. A short walk from the Ferry Terminal in Hamilton I found Discovery Wines at the intersection of Queen and Reid Streets. They had an excellent selection of French wine (other countries too) at prices comparable to stores in the US. They had quite a few of Bordeaux’s famous names. As a person who likes to bring wine back to the ship, this was a find.

Bottom Line

Bermuda is a great place to visit. The climate is great. The people are friendly. They speak English. The currency is on a par with the USD. Your credit cards should work there, no problem. (Tell your credit card company when you will be out of the country.)  There are great sights to see because it’s lush and the homes are beautiful. It doesn’t have a crowded or polluted feeling.

Are there negatives? Ships used to dock in Hamilton, but that changed when ships got larger. Most will dock at the Royal Navy Dockyards, the remote location cutting into your touring time in the port. Just make sure you get back to the ship on time!

Cover photo: Queen Victoria at Bermuda, credit Bryce Sanders

Editor’s Notes:

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