Cruising to Bermuda

Bermuda has three very different cruise ports

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Cruising to Bermuda
 

Bermuda is home to several popular cruise ports, each different from the others. Every cruise line offers something different as well. A little information can help you make the best choices for your cruise vacation.

There are plenty of booking options available for all cruises. Whether you choose to book directly from the cruise line or via an internet or in-person travel agent, you'll have plenty of available options for all kinds of cruise experiences. Remember, the cruise you choose should have plenty to do with the type of experience you'd like to enjoy. Whether you're bringing the kids for a fun-filled family getaway, or snuggling up to someone you love for a romantic retreat, there is a cruise ship designed with your needs in mind. Of course, this also means it's important to choose your ship wisely.

Cruise Ports

Maps

Where you're traveling from effects what options you have for your Bermudian vacation. Travelers cruising to Bermuda will depart from one of several select cruise ports, listed here alphabetically:

  • Baltimore, Maryland

  • Boston, Massachusetts

  • Charleston, South Carolina

  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida

  • Funchal, Azores

  • Havana, Cuba

  • Halifax, Nova Scotia

  • Horta, Azores

  • Nassau, Bahamas

  • Norfolk, Virginia

  • New York, New York

  • Panama Canal

  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • Punta Delgada, Azores

  • Puerto Quezal, Guatemala

  • San Juan, Puerto Rico

  • St. Maarten, USVI

  • St. Thomas, USVI

Cruise Lines

Travelers will also need to select a cruise line for their vacation. The following are cruise lines with regularly scheduled services to Bermuda:

Cruise Line Telephone Number(s)
Carnival 888-CARNIVAL
Celebrity 800-221-4789
Norwegian 800-323-1308
Radisson Seven Seas 877-505-5370
800-477-7500
Royal Caribbean 800-659-7225

Cruise Classes

The varying cruise classes offer travelers several choices for their style and luxyry level. Understanding these cruise classes can help travelers to choose the line that is right for them. From Contemporary/value cruises to luxury liners, travelers have plenty of options.

  • Contemporary/value cruises are the leading cruise class thanks to powerhouses Carnival and Royal Caribbean, two of the most popular contemporary/value lines, which together make up almost 90 percent of the entire industry. Package deals and reasonable prices are the top benefits of such lines.

  • Premium lines are more expensive than the contemporary lines, and offer smaller ships with larger waitstaffs, offering high quality service.

  • Travelers choose luxury lines when looking for top notch service and amenities. These have the highest price of any line, but are usually considered to be worth the cost.

  • When looking for something a bit more unique travelers choose cruises in the specialty class. From regional cruises to group-oriented travels, vacationers will have plenty of options. Try a singles or seniors cruise, or take an exotic trip to someplace off the beaten path.

Ship Classifications

While cruise classes define the ship's style, its size determines many other aspects of your cruise. In fact, it's important to be aware of the size of your ship because it may limit where you can travel.

The largest ships are the Panama class ships, so named because they can barely pass through the Panama Canal. Travelers riding on one of these massive ships will find themselves among 3,000 other passengers. However, these ships are only able to visit the largest of ports.

Meanwhile smaller ships can visit more secluded destinations, and can usually offer better service to their passengers. Smaller ships usually carry no more than 300 passengers.

One of the biggest draws to megaships is their resistance to ocean turbulence. While a smaller ship might feel a bit of a shudder when passing over a swell, larger ships are almost completely resistant to the movement of the sea.

Ships are classified based on the following criteria:

Criteria Criteria Explained Meaning
Gross registered tonnage measurement of the ship's volume/vessel's size 1 gross registered ton = 100 cubic feet
Passenger-to-crew ratio number of passengers served by each crew member Smaller ratio = better service
Passenger capacity based on double occupancy (2 passengers in each cabin) More rooms = more passengers
Space ratio comparison of ship space/tonnage to passenger capacity Higher ratio = extra spacious

Cabins

One last customization you'll want to make to your journey is the cabin. Whether selecting a "run of the ship" or a "perfect" cabin, you'll want to know about what to ask for - or what to avoid.

A "run of the ship" cabin is not assigned until the week of departure, while a "perfect" cabin is a specific cabin you've selected. While the run of the ship option is less expensive, the only choices you'll have are whether you'd like an inside or an outside cabin.

Some additional guidelines for selecting a room:

  • Travelers with young children should not select an outside cabin, especially one with balcony access.

  • Confirm the view you'll have in an outside cabin - make sure you're getting what you expect. You may want to request a view of the ocean.

  • Light sleepers especially will want to avoid booking cabins in close proximity to anchors, bars, casinos, elevators, engine rooms, gyms, nightclubs, public rooms, stairways, pools and hot tubs, theaters, or thrusters. These areas can be particularly noisy.

  • If you are subject to motion sickness, consider a cabin on the lower decks. The further into the middle of the ship you are, the less ship movement you'll feel.

When and Where

Travelers looking to embark on a wintertime escape should expect to spend a bit more than travelers searching for summer fun in the sun. Travel between December and April matches up with the Caribbean's high season, meaning you'll find higher prices throughout the region. Summertime brings rains and hurricane season, which seems ominous but rarely effects cruise passengers. The most expensive cruise prices are found on major holidays: New Year's Eve, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter.

Bermuda has several popular ports, each offering something different. Learning a little bit about them can help make your choice easier:

  • In addition to being the island's most frequented port, Hamilton is also the capital of Bermuda. You'll find the most shopping at this port, as Hamilton is the commercial center of the island.

  • Those looking to step off of the ship and into history should consider the 17th century town of St. George. Here you'll find a traditionally built city and a few charming boutiques.

  • Home to the Royal Naval Dockyard and formerly the British Royal Navy, The West End is becoming increasingly popular as a cruise destination. It features a restored village with a museum, art gallery, and crafts market, as well as a marina with all kinds of aquatic gear for any excursion.

Travelers can customize their cruises by choosing the length, but remember, the shorter your cruise, the fewer tropical locales you'll be able to visit. Cruises can last anywhere from two days to two weeks.  If gambling during your cruise is important to you, you'll also want to make sure to plan a trip to Bermuda that has one full night docked at the island.  Although casino gambling is illegal on Bermuda, in September of 2013 the House of Assembly voted to allow cruise ships to keep their casinos open between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. when they stay overnight. 

Once on the cruise, travelers can take in the sights and sounds of the islands, but you can also stop in and spend some time on pre-arranged shore excursions, which usually run between $25(USD) and $100(USD) for items like snorkeling and scuba diving, horseback riding, golfing, and even tours. They are available when you book, or when you board.

Cost

In effect, the final determining factors on the cost of your cruise are the choices you make. However, this doesn't mean that you can't know what to budget. Remember that the luxury level and length of your cruise are two important factors, but so is the number of people traveling - a single occupancy rate is higher than double occupancy. However, almost everything will be included in your cost onboard. The only additional fees you'll have will be beverages, shore excursions, and - if it's not included - a final tip. Of course, it's best not to forget airfare to reach your cruise's departure destination.

What To Bring

When packing it's best to remember that you'll be having plenty of time in the sun, but you'll want to make your clothes are appropriate for on-island wear as well. Bring bathing suits and lightweight cover ups, breathable shirts and shorts, flip flops, sunglasses, a hat, and, of course, sunblock.

Evenings on the ship will usually require something a bit more formal. Depending on which dinner class is scheduled, you'll need to dress appropriately. Black tie attire is what you'll need for a formal meal, while informal means cocktail dresses and suits. Travelers who want to fit in with evening casual can stick to slacks and blouses or sundresses.

Of course, it is always wise to bring some clothing to wear on Bermuda as well. While sporting beachwear onboard is perfectly acceptable, it is a faux pas to do so around town. Bring some lightweight clothing to wear while on the island itself.

 

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