Earlier this year a good friend of mine asked if I wanted to come with her on a cruise to Bermuda. She usually takes a cruise by herself for her birthday and this time around wanted some company. Of course, I was all for it! She is a frequent cruiser on Norwegian Cruise Lines (which I had never been on), so this was a whole new line for me to try. This trip was on board a brand new ship as well, the Norwegian Breakaway which had its inaugural sailing on April 30, 2013. There were definitely pluses and minuses to the ship and the line in general but I’ll try to save those for another post.
Our cruise left from NYC and on its way out to the Atlantic passed by the Statue of Liberty which was amazing! I have never seen it in person and it was great to be able to see such an extraordinary monument with my own eyes. I’ll share more about the NY portion of the trip in another post but I had to share this one image now:
It took us two and a half days of sailing to reach Bermuda, a rather small island of only 21 sq miles. The history of Bermuda is amazing and while there I learned so many things. The island itself is basically built on limestone and you can see the influence of the substance in the buildings. Most (if not all) of the homes on the island have limestone roofs that are used as a water filtration system to collect rainwater into each houses’ water tank. Aside from rainwater there is no freshwater in Bermuda which I thought was fascinating.
Bermuda is surrounded by shallow reefs and is surrounded by hundreds of shipwrecks. If you are a diver, Bermuda is your paradise! I really want to learn how to scuba dive and once I do, you can bet I’ll be heading back to Bermuda to take full advantage.
Depending on the size of the cruise ship you take, you can end up docked in different parts of the island. For our trip we docked at the Royal Naval Dockyard (King’s Wharf) which was on the opposite end of all the main attractions. There were shuttles to take you to the other side of the island and the bus system, though it takes a while to get from one end to the other, is also a very simple way to travel. Personally I would avoid renting a scooter unless you are already a skilled rider.
The weather in Bermuda is amazing. The averages for the year seem to go from about 68F and up which is a nice relief from cold weather areas. We took full advantage of the sun and clear blue sky and ventured out to various beaches and strolled around some of the key towns. Hamilton is capital of Bermuda and the only incorporated city on the island. There are 9 parishes overall and aside from Hamilton they encompass various villages and towns.
For being such a small island, there is a lot to see in Bermuda. I ventured out on my own one day and saw several of the key sites. Here are some great spots to check out during your visit.
Things to see in Bermuda:
Crystal & Fantasy Caves. The caves are located in Hamilton Parish and are a fascinating attraction. I have never been in an underground cave system before so for me, this was a must see. The caves were discovered in 1905 by two teenagers playing cricket. Basically, their cricket ball rolled into a sinkhole and the young whippersnappers decided to go in after it. The caves showcase gorgeous stalagmite and stalactite formations which have been forming for millions of years.
Bermuda Aquarium, Natural History Museum and Zoo. This was a great attraction to check out especially as a quick downpour stopped all of my outdoor activities. The facility boasts exhibits of various parts of the world with animals and plants native to each. You can walk from area to area and don’t be surprised if the occasional primate strolls across your path as you make your way through the exhibits.
Royal Naval Dockyard. If you are on one of the larger cruises ships more than likely you’ll be docked at the Royal Naval Dockyard. Built in 1758, the Naval Dockyard was in use up until 1958. There is amazing history surrounding the dockyard so if you visit take advantage of the museum and other historical sites in this area.
The City of Hamilton. The City of Hamilton was founded in 1790 and has a permanent population of about 1800 people. It is the only incorporated city in Bermuda. There are some fabulous parks to explore in the city and I enjoyed walking through the streets and exploring the variety of shops. One of the funny things that I noticed as a tourist was that business men (and women) actually do wear Bermuda shorts and socks pulled up to the knee 🙂 This seemed to be standard business attire for the island. Check out Wikipedia for the origin of Bermuda Shorts.
Beaches, Beaches and more Beaches. I’m a sun loving, beach going person and needless to say I was in heaven in Bermuda. I didn’t get a chance to explore all of the famed beaches but the ones we visited were gorgeous. Pink sand, clear blue water….what’s not to like??