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Cruise Destination Overview: Enchanting Bermuda

things to do in bermuda

There is something magical about Bermuda, both as a port of call and the island itself.  It was colonized by England almost by accident.  A ship on its way to Virginia was purposely driven aground on the surrounding reefs to avoid being sunk during a storm.  Bermuda has been inhabited ever since, and at present is Britain’s oldest and most populous overseas territory.  With a per capita income of over $80,000 annually Bermuda is a wealthy part of the world as well.

The islands are also rich in sites to see and add to a list of things to do in Bermuda.  There are natural wonders like the reef sheltered lagoons, and pink sand beaches.  There are the remnants of the island’s long history like the fortifications on Castle Island, and the displays at the museum at King’s Wharf.  With all of Bermuda being only about 20 square miles getting to everything shouldn’t be a problem, even if finding the time to see all of it is.

Getting to Bermuda

View of the Port for Bermuda Cruises

The first challenge Port Canaveral cruisers will face is finding a cruise that goes to Bermuda in the first place.  For a destination that everyone has heard of, cruise ships actually sailing there are relatively rare.  Partly this is due to location.  Bermuda isn’t actually near the Caribbean Sea, the destination for most cruises.  The closest bit of land to the islands is actually Cape Hatteras in North Carolina; an island itself which is a good distance off of the mainland.  Bermuda is a long way off the normal cruise itineraries.  The most frequently visiting cruise ships are sailing from New York and New Jersey, and even for them it involves a long swing out to sea with any other destinations on the cruise besides Bermuda being rare.

A larger reason is an ambivalent attitude towards cruise ships on the part of the Bermudan government.  Compared to other Caribbean ports Bermuda’s requirements for a ship to dock are stringent.  In fact, in previous years the Bermudan cruise market was so exclusive that luxury cruise line Celebrity was created solely to try and land one of the coveted docking slots at King’s Wharf.  Celebrity’s then parent brand Chandris Family Cruises wasn’t considered luxurious enough.  Although these requirements have been relaxed since then you’ll still find that most ships dock for at least three days in Bermuda, because that was the previous requirement.

Aerial Shot of Bermuda

This exclusivity is fascinating and the reason why Carnival is increasing its number of sailings to Bermuda.  Starting in May, the Carnival Victory will begin sailing 8-night cruises from Port Canaveral to Bermuda.  Although only a single sailing has been announced so far from the port it is something that Port Canaveral cruisers have been asking for, repeatedly, and for a long time.  Another option for sailing to Bermuda is Norwegian Cruise Lines transatlantic sailings to Barcelona.  The Epic will be departing in July, and the ship stops for a day in Bermuda on its way to Spain.

As you can see, Bermuda cruisers are highly desired, rare, and exclusive.  That begets the question of what it is that makes Bermuda cruises so special.

Things to do in Bermuda

Bermuda Fort is a must for things to do in Bermuda

Geologically speaking, the closest equivalent to Bermuda is Hawaii.  Both islands are mid-ocean islands formed by volcanos rising out of the sea.  The key difference is that Bermuda’s volcano is long extinct.  The end result is an environment that is very similar to the coral atolls of the South Pacific: a shallow central lagoon sheltered from the open ocean by a ring of coral reefs.  While not a true atoll due to differences in how Bermuda distinctive rings were formed: they were once the Caldera of an ancient volcano.  The difference matters only to geologists.  For marine wildlife, the result is the same sunny lagoon sheltered by surrounding reefs.

Nor should it make much difference to cruisers.  When you consider Bermuda’s unique beauty, and the millions of years it took to form, then the restrictions placed on the cruise lines seem more reasonable.  It also makes the rarity of a Bermuda cruise seem less like an inconvenience, and highlights how much of a privilege they really are.  A Bermuda cruise after all costs far less than a plane ticket to a similar island like Fiji, is easier to get to, and includes far more for the price.

You’ve seen the things to do in Bermuda, but have you booked your cruise hotel package yet? Go Port offers packages with hotels near Port Canaveral, roundtrip airport transportation, and cruise transfers. If you’re driving in, check out the snooze park and cruise packages to make the most out of the vacation!

Port Canaveral Fly Snooze and Cruise

Diving and snorkeling both the perimeter reef and the coral outcrops in the lagoon is of course one of the main things to do in Bermuda.  On the south and eastern sides of the island the reef is close to shore, but it’s 14 miles from the shore on the north side of Bermuda.  These farther, northern reefs are the ones that are the most pristine, and give passengers on a Bermuda cruise the best chance of seeing the beauty of marine life.  There are many excursion and charter boats in Bermuda that run diving and snorkeling expeditions out to the reef.   Those that might not be able to go diving, say those caring for small children, can book a glass bottom boat to go over the reef and see one of the world’s natural wonders.  Those who like their seaside diversions closer to the shore can simply enjoy the miles of clear blue lagoon created by the sheltering reef.

Bermuda’s ashore diversions start before even leaving the pier.  King’s Wharf is home to the National Museum of Bermuda, the historic Royal Navy Dockyard, and Dolphin Quest.  All of which offer the blend of long history, beautiful surrounding, and something to be learned that are Bermuda’s true hallmarks.

Kings wharf, a great attraction of bermuda

And that’s just inside of the port.

Other places to see in Bermuda include Horseshoe and Elbow beach, both of which have the famous pink sand.  Near Elbow beach stands the Bermuda Botanical Gardens which like so much else in Bermuda blends the majesty of nature with the romance of the Age of Discovery.

Bermuda stands alone in the Atlantic, but it is far from a lonely place.  There is no place in the world that is quite like it, and we’re hard pressed to hold those lucky enough to live there at fault for trying to preserve it.  Those lucky enough to reserve one of the cruises that visit the island will likely remember the experience for the rest of their lives.

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