This past August I made my first trip to Bermuda on the NCL Breakaway. The island instantly became one of my favorite ports! You may think of Bermuda as a sunny, warm, and tropical island with pretty beaches and bright turquoise water.
This is certainly true for the British territory in the summer, but surprisingly enough, Bermuda is actually somewhat chilly in the winter! If you look at a map, you’ll realize that Bermuda is quite close to the United States and that it is around the same latitude as South Carolina. Although they do not get snow, the winter temperatures can drop down to the 40°s (in Fahrenheit) but usually can be found in the 60°s. Not too cold, but definitely not the tropical paradise that you expect it to be!
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This being true, Bermuda is a great port to sail to in the summer. With temperatures in the 80°s, ships can get to the island very quickly from the East Coast of the United States. My cruise took about two and a half days to get to the island, but I believe that it can be done more quickly. On that same cruise, the return portion of the voyage was only about a day and a half. Although slower, there are also many sailboat competitions (with much smaller boats) that depart from states on the coast, like Maryland, to Bermuda.
The island is extremely easy to get to and the weather is great! On top of this, the people are amazing and the beaches have luscious pink sand that contrasts perfectly with the island’s crystal clear water.
Ships dock at the Royal Naval Dockyard, which is at the left tip of the island. Docking at one end, 64 miles of coastline seems like it would make it difficult to see all of Bermuda while in port. Luckily, the entire territory is easily accessible by taxi, ferry, bus, or private vehicle, considering that the island is only about a mile in width. NCL docks in Bermuda overnight, allowing for more freedom of travel around the island.
The people are amazing. If you are an experienced cruiser, you know that some ports can be kind of nerve-wracking to walk through. I know that I get uncomfortable when people are begging me for money or to get in their taxi, but Bermuda is not like this. As I exited the ship, I wasn’t pestered by anyone. There were tour guides and other helpful staff to answer questions, but they did not come up to me or bother me with any sales pitches.
The taxi drivers were all civil with each other; you could even call them friends. My first driver even mentioned how he gets annoyed by the beggars in other ports! He also gave us a short tour of the island before arriving at our destination and said, “I’m not doing this for the tip. You just seem like nice people”. Many of these drivers hold other jobs on top of their taxi position, some being a teacher or a lawyer.
At the beaches, the workers could not even be bribed for a deal on beach chairs. They said they had to stick to their rules or they would be fired. It’s not just about the money to them; it’s about the experience. The people seemed so authentic, real, and happy that we were there to learn about their culture and land.
Being so close to the U.S., many of the locals have been to the states. My cab driver told me that he loved Vegas! As a British Territory, most of the inhabitants also have family in England, leading to very tight ties to the country. As a result, the people speak very clear English with only a slight accent, unlike other ports. If you ask them to say something with an “o” like “home,” you will be pleasantly surprised.
Bermuda has so many activities. Between beaches, shopping, and landmarks, everyone can find something that they enjoy. Bermuda offers many boat excursions including kayaks, catamarans, and glass-bottom boats that incorporate snorkel, snuba, scuba, and shipwrecks tours. Tours include the general island, the Bermuda Triangle, and even famous homes and hideaways. On land, there are tours of the island via bus, segway, bikes, or horse. Like many other ports, there are also dolphin excursions. Being there at night allows for sunset cruises and even night fishing. Last but not least, Bermuda has multiple well-known golf courses.
While there, I went to Horseshoe Bay Beach and Snorkel Park Beach. As I mentioned above, I went on a small tour of the island thanks to my taxi driver. I also explored the town right by the port on my way to and from these activities. The town right by the port in the West End offers a free trolley tour. While this doesn’t really take you out of the Royal Naval Dockyard, it does allow you to visit stores in the vicinity. After walking all day, the trolley can even take you right up to your ship. When I was in Bermuda it was over 90°, making the trolley a great cool down break. While it is open-air, at least there’s shade!
My taxi driver told me that Snorkel Park Beach is actually where they used to throw their trash when they were younger, but that locals have tried to redo it as a tourist attraction. Since my ship was only in port for a half day on my last day in Bermuda and Snorkel Beach is a 5-minute walk from the ship, my family decided to check it out. While there are obstacle courses and other blow ups on land, the beach isn’t that great. There are lounge chairs and a restaurant, but as you can imagine, turning a dump into a nice relaxing beach can take a while. Don’t worry, there was no trash laying around, but there was a lot of unoccupied grass. I heard about a nightly party at Snorkel Beach, but I was unable to check it out. They offered smores and a bonfire around dinner, but I believe it turns more into a club later in the night.
Horseshoe Bay beach was amazing. It didn’t have any trampolines or boat rentals, but it was beautiful. The water was crystal clear and the sand had pink specks in it. There was a public bathroom, small restaurant, and lounge chair rentals. The water was amazing. Everyone was swimming and small fish swam around us, just feet from the shore. The water alone was great, but the best part of this beach were the views. As you walked down the beach towards the left, there were large rocks making for great scenery. On the right, there is a large rock mound that people climb. The view from the top is incredible! Make sure to check out the pictures below!
Since the Breakaway docks in Bermuda for two and a half days, passengers really get to see the island. There is no rush to get everything in. Having overnights in Bermuda was really cool since in most ports you don’t get to see the island at the night. Many ports seem to close down when the ships leave, but in Bermuda they have tourists 24-7.
Norwegian Cruise Line has 3 ships sailing to Bermuda during the warmer months. The Breakaway, Dawn, and Escape offer 7-day sailings from April to October. The Breakaway leaves on Sundays from New York while the Escape leaves on Saturdays, both with 3 full sea days and 3 days in port (Wednesday to Friday). The Dawn departs from Boston on Fridays and is in Bermuda from Sunday to Tuesday. The Breakaway and Escape stay in Bermuda for just a few more hours than the Dawn. Another difference is that the Dawn only has one sea day before reaching Bermuda. *The days may change, but this is what seems to be the itinerary now.
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