Mary Steele is an avid cruiser and writer hailing from the Port of Boston. She primarily covers cruise port destinations and helps her readers decide what to see, what to do, and best of all – what to avoid.
Spending time in Bermuda is like being in the UK – only warmer. The island is a honeymoon destination for couples because of the stunning scenery and the romantic setting. It’s also famous for its impeccably pink beaches (yes, the sand really is pink), pink houses, and warm, sunny weather. And if that were not enough, Bermudians are extremely gracious and welcoming. Not to mention, it’s pretty amusing to see grown men in Bermuda shorts and knee socks.
If you want to visit and are on a budget, try a cruise to Bermuda. Lodging and meals on the island are prohibitively expensive. Cruising won’t be cheap either, but it is the more cost effective way of getting there. Many ships depart from May to October (when the weather and seas are cooperative) from Boston, New York, and Florida ports.
If you are cruising to Bermuda, your choices of docking are Hamilton (downtown Bermuda), St. Georges or the Royal Naval Dockyard. Each has its own merits. Docking in Hamilton will put you in the heart of the city for shopping and dining. St. George has a charming little village feel to it, and the Royal Dockyard will prove fascinating for those whose interests lie in history.
Flights to Bermuda land in Hamilton. All the major carriers – Delta, American, United and JetBlue fly to the island.
Where to Stay
If you do decide to splurge and stay on Bermuda, you can find accommodations to suit every need and most budgets. Accommodations range from little guest cottages to luxury hotels and resorts.
Some of the premier resorts in Bermuda are the Fairmont Hotels. The Fairmont Hamilton Princess is located in the heart of the city and close to the nicest shops and restaurants. It is a destination for many conventions and tour groups, so be forewarned. While it offers all the amenities of a luxury resort, it doesn’t have a beach. You will have to travel to the other Fairmont Hotel on the island to use their beach facilities, but complimentary ferry service is offered. The hotel offers a level of elegance and sophistication in décor and accommodations that would appeal typically to an older demographic.
Its sister hotel, The Southampton Princess, is located on Bermuda’s highest point, and is both the largest and most luxurious resort on the island. The hotel provides sweeping vistas of the ocean and the bay, and has a beach. If money is no object, spring for the Fairmont Gold Floor, which provides you with every concierge-level service you could ever hope to have.
Visit the pool area with its Polynesian waterfall, complete with streaming, heated water cascading off a limestone cliff. You can swim here even when it’s cold because of the heated water. The hotel also offers a complete athletic facility when you get tired of the pool.
Both resorts offer many choices for fine dining as you would expect to find at these level of resorts. However, the nightlife in Bermuda is lacking, so don’t expect to club the night away. Many restaurants have bars that you can linger over a cocktail after dinner, but only if you ate there. It’s just another one of those quirky Bermuda rules.
The resort also provides a trolley to transport guests around the ground, and a ferry for hotel guests that transports them to the piers of the Fairmont Hamilton.
Elbow Beach Hotel, another lodging choice, is more appealing to families who don’t want to be traveling around the island with kids. It’s located on one of the most popular beaches in Bermuda. Hamilton is only 10 minutes away by taxi if the urge should strike, however. The lodging at Elbow Beach ranges from typical hotel rooms to duplex cottages perfect for families.
There is an array of fine dining options on-site, including six restaurants. Guests can opt for dinner at either the oceanview restaurant or the nightly outdoor theme party. There’s also a “dine around” program allowing you to eat at several restaurants in Hamilton, and charge your tab to your hotel bill.
The resort offers a spa, and full watersports options including equipment and rentals for deep sea fishing, scuba, kayaking and windsurfing. Kids programs are also available in the summer months.
Getting around in Bermuda is not easy. Visitors are not allowed to rent cars, primarily because of the dangerous winding roads on the island. One option available to visitors is to rent scooters, which seems inherently more dangerous than a vehicle. I speak from experience after climbing out of the rose bushes when I missed a rather sharp turn. The other option for visitors is the public bus system. It’s clean and efficient, but slow. Getting from St. George to Hamilton will take you well over an hour, but if you think of it as a free island tour, it’s all good.
If you are heading off to the beach, where you end up will depend on what you want to do. Horseshoe Bay is Bermuda’s most famous beach and best for families. Head to Church Bay if you want to snorkel in calm waters sheltered by coral reefs chock full of sea life. Tobacco Bay offers bathing facilities, equipment rentals and a snack bar. While there are other beaches on Bermuda, many can be dangerous to swim in due to high winds and rough seas, so don’t risk it.
If beaching it isn’t your thing, the island has at least four premier golf resorts. Other activities to be found locally include sailing, tennis, horseback riding, and biking.
If you are feeling a little adventurous and want to do something off the beaten path, visit the Crystal Caves located near St. George. The caves are stunningly beautiful, and are filled with crystal stalactites and stalagmites above a clear lake. Pontoon pathways suspended over the lake allow you to walk about. It is estimated that these stalactites and stalagmites are over 30 million years old. One word of caution: This is not an excursion for those with limited mobility. You will be climbing a very steep set of stairs up and down to enter the caves. But, it will definitely be worth it.
Bermuda is beautiful, the people are friendly, and it offers an array of dining and lodging options to suit both your palate and your wallet for an ideal island getaway.
Featured Image: Royal Naval Dockyard (Shutterstock.com)