Are you sailing to Bermuda and looking for the best excursions and things to do while docked in the cruise port? From picturesque pink sandy beaches, to underground caves, to history and culture right at the Royal Naval Dockyard cruise port, Bermuda has a lot to offer cruise goers.
Cruising to Bermuda
We typically cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line. The free booze gets me every time…
Not only does NCL offer complimentary open bar packages with many sailings, their promos often include free shore excursions, wifi, open dining, and additional third and fourth guests. This makes cruising with a family of four more affordable and, with the additional comps, fun for parents, too! We sailed on NCL’s Escape from New York to Bermuda for a weeklong, family-friendly vacation. Of course other cruise lines sail to and from Bermuda, as well, typically from New York, Boston, or elsewhere on the east coast.
Related: Norwegian Escape Ship Review
When cruising to Bermuda, it’s typical to dock in the cruise port for three to five days. Cruisers can use the ship as a home base and enjoy the island during the day and during the overnights, providing a unique in-port nightlife experience not typical of cruises. Most ships will dock at the Royal Naval Dockyard/King’s Wharf on the west side of the island. The Bermuda ferry system stops right at the dock and provides easy access to the rest of the island, but there is plenty to do right at the cruise port itself.
The Cruise Port: Royal Naval Dockyard, Bermuda
Royal Naval Dockyard was once a principal Western Atlantic base and home of Victualling Yard for the Royal Navy. Today, it’s known as King’s Wharf and welcomes thousands of cruise goers annually. Passengers step off of their ships to find shopping, history, dining, and plenty of gorgeous coastline. Without having to go far, visitors can find the following things to do while their cruise is docked in Bermuda:
National Museum of Bermuda
The National Museum of Bermuda is just footsteps away from King’s Wharf. Inside Bermuda’s largest fortress, you can find military history and cannons, shipwreck artifacts, art, and views for miles! The National Museum is also home to Dolphin Quest Bermuda, where visitors can swim with dolphins.
Dockyard Pastry Shop
Not far from the dock and National Museum, you can enjoy breakfast or afternoon tea at The Dockyard Pastry Shop and Bistro. The pastries are incredible and it has that authentic British charm you look for in Bermuda. I have a distinct memory of stopping here, in the pouring rain, taking refuge under their awning with a nice, hot cup of coffee while my toddler devoured his chocolate pastry. It was a simple, yet incredibly special and authentic memory from our recent trip.
Snorkel Park Beach
Walkable from the cruise ship, Snorkel Park Beach is a great family beach spot. Though there’s a small cover to gain access, the beach area has a bathroom, a bar, and water sports (for purchase). Snorkel Park Beach is a great spot for your last day on Bermuda since you don’t have to worry about getting back to the cruise port or relying on public transportation.
Bermuda Fun Golf
Bermuda Fun Golf is touted as the world’s best mini golf course. The 18 hole mini golf course is modeled after some of the most challenging holes in Bermuda, Scotland, and the US. It’s located just next to Snorkel Park Beach and offers panoramic views of Bermuda’s beautiful sunsets. Cocktails and snacks are available at their “Caddy Shack.”
Bermuda’s Clocktower Mall, once a warehouse for the British Navy, contains a few major outlet shops, as well as touristy gifts and handmade and local souvenirs. The walls are three feet thick in some places and the two hundred foot towers show the current time and the time of high tide. Clocktower Mall is a great place to pick up some last minute souvenirs and gifts.
Eat at the Anchor
Just a short walk from the Clocktower Mall is the Anchor Restaurant Bar and Lounge. Do yourself a favor and order a wahoo sandwich from the takeout counter. I swear it’ll be the best thing you eat in Bermuda!
Frog and Onion Pub
The Frog and Onion, founded in 1992 by a Bermudian (Onion) and a Frenchman (Frog), is Bermuda’s only brew pub. Located inside the dockyard, The Frog and Onion was once a cooperage, or a workshop that built and repaired barrels, casks, and kegs so that provisions could be loaded onto cargo ships. The cooperage and adjacent Victualling Yard were converted to a storehouse in the 1940s and eventually the restaurant and the Dockyard Brewing Company.
Head into Hamilton
Everything listed above is within walking distance of the cruise port. But with three or more days in Bermuda, you probably want to explore other parts of the island. Bermuda has a great public transportation system, including busses and ferries. Typically, there will be an information tent set up to purchase tickets right at the dock and get directions. It’s easy and affordable to get to Hamilton, Bermuda’s capital and enjoy what the area has to offer:
Bermuda’s capital has no shortage of shopping, dining, and gorgeous pastel colored, harbor front buildings. You can find everything from book stores to high end clothing shops to rooftop bars in the easily walkable city.
Queen Elizabeth Park
Enter through Bermuda’s oldest limestone moongate (read more about the moongates here) to find mosaic footpaths, gardens, sculptures, a koi pond, and towering royal poinciana. It’s the perfect place to seek some shade, enjoy a picnic, or go for a leisurely walk.
If you’re in Bermuda on a Wednesday in the summer, I’d recommend going to Hamilton for Harbour Night. Our guide at the Crystal Caves recommended Harbour Night for a fun, authentic Bermuda experience. From 7-10 pm, Front Street is closed down for a street fair with shopping, entertainment, dancing, and food vendors. We had some pretty amazing street-side jerk chicken.
Take the Ferry From the Cruise Port to St. George, Bermuda
If you’re cruising on NCL, take advantage of the complementary ferry from the cruise port to St. George, on the other side of Bermuda. It’s a great, free option, especially with kids and it provides amazing views of the coastline without booking and paying for a boat tour.
When you step off the ferry at St. George, enjoy the following things to do on Bermuda’s east end:
It’s fair to say that Tobacco Bay is the most beautiful beach I’ve ever been to. The beach boasts some gorgeous, jagged coastline rock formations that tower above crystal clear waters, perfect for snorkeling. Since the water is calm, it’s a great place for families, too. Bathrooms, a restaurant, and a bar are on site.
The Unfinished Church
On the walk to Tobacco Bay, you’ll pass Bermuda’s unfinished church. Construction of the Gothic church began in 1874, but was never completed.
Crystal and Fantasy Caves
Bermuda’s Crystal and Fantasy Caves are a short bus ride from the ferry terminal at Saint George. The caves, full of beautiful stalactites, stalagmites, and clear pools of water, were formed when sea levels were much lower and have since become submerged. They were discovered in 1905 by two boys searching for a lost cricket ball and were subsequently opened as a tourist attraction by the property owner at the time.
We only toured Crystal Caves since we had a cranky toddler in tow.
The Swizzle Inn is Bermuda’s oldest pub and the perfect spot to grab an authentic swizzle. Located at the same bus stop as the Crystal and Fantasy Caves, The Swizzle Inn is a great spot to grab lunch or a cocktail after some sightseeing.
Did this Cruise Port Guide to Bermuda Help?
Bermuda was one of my absolute favorite destinations, especially as a cruise goer. From the gorgeous beaches, to the rich British history, to the endless options for families Bermuda is a destination with something for everyone.
Cruising to Bermuda? Are you planning to see any of these attractions when your ship docks in Bermuda? What would you add to this list?
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