Cruising to Bermuda
Learn more about Bermuda's Cruise ports and the island's best activities & attractions.This tiny but terrific island, situated in the North Atlantic, remains one of cruising's most sought-after destinations. Easily accessible from a wide variety of departure ports located along America's Eastern Seaboard, Bermuda offers cruisers a number of benefits that generally aren't available on sailings to most other places (including, in many instances, multiple overnight stays in port, allowing for further exploration).
The island's long and colorful maritime history – from its infamous Bermuda Triangle to the huge number of shipwrecks that surround it, several of which rest close to the shoreline in shallow waters – continues to draw scuba divers and snorkelers in droves. And it's a paradise for golfers, too: Bermuda is home to the planet's greatest concentration of courses per capita including Port Royal Golf Course and The Turtle Hill Golf Club at The Fairmont Southampton, two of the world's absolute best. Many of the globe's prettiest beaches are in Bermuda (curve-shaped Horseshoe Bay, with its radiant pink sand, is a standout), and visitors to the island will also find a large number of amazing man-made and natural attractions to explore including Fort St. Catherine, the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, and the mind-blowing Crystal/Fantasy Caves.
Bermuda Cruise Port Information
Bermuda is home to three major cruise ports: the Royal Naval Dockyard (a.k.a. King's Wharf, the island's biggest and busiest port of call), St. George's, and Hamilton. All three are well worth a visit, even if your ship doesn't dock in one or more of them, and they're all just a short car, bus, or ferry ride from one another.
The Royal Naval Dockyard (King's Wharf). Capable of accommodating the world's absolute biggest cruise ships. This is where the vast majority of vessels will dock (a second berth, Heritage Wharf, lies immediately adjacent to King's Wharf, allowing two huge ships to drop anchor next to each other at the same time). The port, located on the westernmost tip of the island, is your jumping-off point for everything that Bermuda has to offer; many top shore excursions depart directly from the pier, but you'll also be within walking distance of at least a dozen great attractions including the National Museum of Bermuda and the Clocktower Mall (formerly a warehouse for the British Navy, now Bermuda's premier shopping complex). Stop by Calico Jack's – Bermuda's only floating bar, an ex-ferry that's been transformed into a pirate ship – for a drink and a plunge off the plank, or sample a microbrew and a menu of casual, family-friendly favorites at the cozy Frog and Onion, Bermuda's largest pub.
St. George's. Be sure to reserve a balcony or suite as this is Bermuda's most picturesque port of call, famous for its pastel-painted houses and its handsome King's Square. Located on the eastern end of the island (and accessible via ferry from the Royal Naval Dockyard between April and October), St. George's is home to many of the island's most important historical attractions. It was Bermuda's capital between 1620 and 1815, and it's now a UNESCO World Heritage Site; significant landmarks include Fort St. Catherine and St. Peter's Church, believed to be the oldest surviving Anglican church beyond the British Isles (and the oldest continually used church in the Western Hemisphere). Additional highlights include several of Bermuda's best restaurants (e.g. Tempest Bistro, The Point), a full-sized replica of the British ship Deliverance that you can explore, and scenic Tobacco Bay Beach.
Hamilton. Bermuda's capital city, too tiny for the mega-ships but not to be missed if you've got the time to get there (like St. George's, it's just a short and pleasant ferry ride from the Royal Naval Dockyard). Smaller ships, including luxury vessels, still dock here; depending on the ship you select, you may come ashore in the heart of downtown, stepping directly onto Front Street, Bermuda's most celebrated commercial thoroughfare. Once there, you'll be surrounded by a slew of high-end retail shops and boutiques, restaurants and bars to suit every budget and taste (many featuring balconies that overlook the harbor), street vendors and performers, and more. Hamilton is also home to several of the island's most popular family attractions including the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute and the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo.
Beaches in Bermuda
Horseshoe Bay. Considered by many to be Bermuda's most beautiful beach, Horseshoe Bay is located on the island's south coast, just a short distance from the Royal Naval Dockyard. Its breathtaking physical features – a swooping crescent of pink sand, brilliant-blue waters, and dramatic rock formations – draw big crowds, especially when cruise ships are in port. Visitors tend to congregate at the cove/tidal pool and the Rum Bum Beach Bar, both of which are located by the entrance, but head eastward on Horseshoe's main stretch and you'll find plenty of space for yourself. Chairs, umbrellas, and snorkeling equipment are available for rent, and there are lifeguards on duty during high season.
Tobacco Bay Beach. This small but scenic beach, no more than a twenty-minute stroll from the center of St. George's, is notable for its unusual limestone columns and its enclosed lagoon. Popular with snorkelers – the lagoon is filled with all kinds of marine life including tropical fish and turtles – Tobacco Bay also features a family-friendly restaurant and bar, canopy-covered seating, and changing facilities. You can also rent watersports equipment (e.g. kayaks, paddleboards, snorkel gear, and more) while you're there.
Elbow Beach. Named for its “bent” shape, this popular pink-sand beach is split between public and private areas (it's situated between two resorts, and roughly half of it is exclusively reserved for guests of the Elbow Beach Hotel, though you can purchase a day pass that permits access). The western end, which is the public end, has everything you'll need, though: highlights include some of the island's calmest waters (perfect for safe swimming) and great snorkeling via an offshore reef. It's also just minutes from downtown Hamilton.
Snorkel Park Beach. Little more than a five-minute walk from the berths at the Royal Naval Dockyard, this man-made beach is a good choice for both families and after-hours revelers (the beach's popular open-air nightclub, Club Aqua, heats up the shoreline three nights a week between 10:00 PM and 3:00 AM). As its name suggests, it's another fine spot for snorkeling, and there's good food and drink available right on the beach courtesy of Hammerhead's Bar & Grill. There's an admission fee ($5), but children ages 12 and under can enter for free.
Warwick Long Bay. Lovely and secluded. Set against a backdrop of cedars, grape trees, and scrub grass, Warwick Long Bay sits along Bermuda's south shore, not too far from Horseshoe Bay. If you're looking to steer clear of the crowds, this is an excellent choice: Warwick's pink-coral sands, cozy coves, and crystal-clear waters are arguably the equal of Horseshoe's, but you'll find just a fraction of that bay's beachgoers here, making it feel as if you have the whole half-mile to yourself (minus the occasional jogger or horseback rider).
Jobson's Cove. Located adjacent to Warwick Long Bay – and separated from it by several striking rock formations that will have you reaching for your camera – this small but extremely photogenic beach is another great option for both families and snorkelers because of its shallow and protected bay (it's easy to spot parrotfish and other colorful species as they navigate the gaps between the rocks). As with Warwick Long Bay, however, facilities can be limited; in high season, you'll find food trucks and snorkel-rental stands nearby, but not much else, so plan accordingly.
Things to See and Do in Bermuda
Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo. A hugely popular choice among passengers on family cruises. Highlights include the aquarium's 140-gallon North Rock (Rim Reef) Exhibit, exotic animals from Madagascar, and whale-watching tours that depart from a dock across the street.
Bermuda Fun Golf. Eighteen exciting holes of mini-golf, situated seaside along the Royal Naval Dockyard. Each hole mimics a legendary green from one of the world's great courses, but it's the panoramic views that you'll encounter as you play through that are the real stars.
Blue Hole Park & Tom Moore's Jungle. This twelve-acre attraction, not far from downtown Hamilton, is one of Bermuda's best-kept secrets (and admission is free). The park's trails, lined with hidden caves and grottoes, lead visitors deep into the jungle. Guests can go for a swim in the actual Blue Hole, which is surrounded by a mangrove forest, or cliff jump into its waters via one of two platforms.
The Crystal/Fantasy Caves. Bermuda's most popular (and awe-inspiring) attractions. Visitors to the Crystal Cave will descend 120 feet below ground, where an amazing and colorful display – deep clear pools of water, and shimmering stalactites/stalagmites – awaits; the Fantasy Cave, located within steps of the Crystal Cave, offers an equally impressive subterranean exhibition (tour both, at a significant discount, with the purchase of a combo ticket).
The Swizzle Inn Restaurant & Bar. Located in Hamilton Parish (just minutes from the Crystal Cave), the Swizzle Inn is the birthplace of the Rum Swizzle, "Bermuda's national drink" It's also the island's oldest pub, first established in 1932. Open daily for lunch and dinner (burgers, pizza, and other casual fare); there's also a gift shop on the premises ("Swagger Out").
The Turtle Hill Golf Club at The Fairmont Southampton. This gorgeous golf course, dramatically elevated along the edge of Bermuda's south shore, features sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean and eighteen exacting holes (all par 3s) that are sure to test your short game. Greens fees are an absolute bargain for a course of this caliber (just $69 per adult after 12:00 PM); lessons and club/cart rentals are also available. A three-time winner of Golf Digest's "Best Places to Play Golf!"
Where are the Departure Ports for Bermuda Cruises?
Cruisers traveling to Bermuda can choose from a convenient selection of departure ports located along the U.S. East Coast including:
When is the Best Time to Cruise to Bermuda?
Bermuda's cruising season begins in April and runs through late October, with demand peaking between June and August, when Bermuda's weather is at its absolute best. These summertime sailings are priced accordingly, however, so travelers looking for the cheapest fares will want to search for cruises departing during Bermuda's "shoulder seasons" (April/May and September/October); you'll find the weather is still quite pleasant (particularly in April and May, when Bermuda is at its driest and temperatures will often reach the mid-70s), and the ocean, generally speaking, remains warm enough for swimming.
Cruisers who happen to find themselves in Bermuda on Good Friday will want to pay a visit to Horseshoe Bay for the island's annual Kite Festival (events take place throughout the island, but the festival's largest gathering occurs here). Huge, colorful, homemade kites (meant to represent Christ's ascension into heaven) fill the skies above the beach, and islanders and tourists alike can participate. Traditional Bermudian Easter fare (e.g. cod fish cakes and hot cross buns), live music, and other fun activities are also on offer.
Do I have to Exchange Money in Bermuda?
Not if you're traveling to Bermuda from the U.S. The legal tender on Bermuda is the Bermudian dollar, but it's pegged to the U.S. dollar (1:1) and both currencies are used interchangeably throughout the island (the U.S. dollar, in fact, may be the more widely used of the two).
Keep an eye on your change, however: Bermudian currency is non-exportable and cannot be exchanged by foreign banks, so you'll want to swap any unused Bermudian dollars and coins – that you're not keeping as souvenirs, of course – prior to leaving the island (Bermuda's retailers/vendors, it should be noted, will make every effort to provide change in U.S. dollars to cruise-ship passengers and other tourists, so you should always feel free to request it). You'll also want to note that a majority of the ATMs on the island dispense exclusively in Bermudian dollars.
Major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, and American Express) are accepted virtually everywhere, but you'll want to keep in mind that every purchase you make may be subject to a foreign-transaction fee; to avoid unhappy surprises, always check with your card issuer(s) in advance of departure.
Amazon.com Gift Card:
Up To $750 To Prepare For Your Vacation *Amazon.com Gift Card: Up To $750 To Prepare For Your Vacation *Get the fun started before you’ve even boarded your cruise! Book a new and qualifying cruise and receive a Amazon Gift Card valued up to $750. Spend it on luggage, flip-flops, sunscreen, bathing suits, or any other Amazon.com merchandise that would make your upcoming vacation that much more special. Your gift card code will be emailed to you approximately 30 days before departure date. Amount of bonus varies & is based on your booking price (found in your invoice as "Total") MINUS taxes, fees, port expenses, and port charges*
If you book a cruise that departs soon (within 36 days), your gift card code will be sent to you after you return home. Use your gift card to prepare for your adventure or to enhance your next vacation experience!
Total Price (minus port charges & taxes)Gift Card Value$0 - $1,250$25$1,251 - $2,250$50$2,251 - $3,000$75$3,001 - $3,500$100$3,501 - $4,000$125$4,001 - $4,500$150$4,501 - $5,000$200$5,001 - $7,500$300$7,501 - $10,000$400$10,000+$750
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Total Price (minus taxes, fees, port expenses, & port charges)Cash Back$0 - $750$25$751 - $1,500$50$1,501 - $2,250$75$2,251 - $3,000$100$3,001 - $3,500$125$3,501 - $4,000$150$4,001 - $4,500$200$4,501 - $5,000$300$5,001 - $7,500$400$7,501 - $10,000$600$10,000+$1,000
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Total Price (minus taxes, fees, port expenses, & port charges)Onboard Spending$0 - $1,250$25$1,251 - $2,250$50$2,251 - $3,000$75$3,001 - $3,500$100$3,501 - $4,000$125$4,001 - $4,500$150$4,501 - $5,000$200$5,001 - $7,500$300$7,501 - $10,000$400$10,000+$750
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Book Now, Pay Later:
We'll Waive Your Deposit- Book Online or Call!Book Now, Pay Later: We'll Waive Your Deposit - Book Online or Call!Put your dream vacation on the calendar now, and pay for it later! When you book select 3+ night sailings, we'll waive the booking deposit for the first 5 staterooms on your reservation.
BOOK NOW - OFFER ENDS FRIDAY!Additional Terms & Conditions
Advanced Deposit offer is valid for new individual cruise reservations for sailings departing by 12/31/20. Offer is limited to sailings of 3 nights or longer booked at least 110 days prior to departure (or 140 days for Disney, 7-night or longer Norwegian sailings, and 15 night or longer MSC sailings); maximum $500 value and not valid on bookings requiring non-refundable deposits. Deposit must be paid 10 days prior to final payment due date; if changes are made benefit will become void and the cruise lines full deposit is required; changes resulting in a new cruise line booking are considered a cancellation, subject to cruise line’s cancellation policy, our $24.99 processing fee, and $100 cancel fee. Credit card used at time of booking will automatically be charged when the deposit remainder is due. Offer limited to 5 deposited cabins max. for 1 sailing. Offer is not applicable for redemption bookings. Additional restrictions apply.
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Book an eligible stateroom on any qualifying sailing and receive a free upgrade! In some cases, you'll be upgraded to a more desirable location aboard your ship. In other instances, you'll be upgraded to a stateroom with extra space and/or a better view. It's also possible that you might receive all of these benefits. Select your sailing date to see which upgrades are available.