Monday, July 24, 2017

Client Review: Bermuda Cruise

We are lucky to have another review from Tracy and Chris of their 7 night Bermuda cruise on Norwegian. If you'd like to explore which cruise line may be right for your family, email me or set up a time to chat. 

Norwegian 7-Day Bermuda Cruise
Round-Trip from Boston

We had never traveled on Norwegian, so we weren’t sure what to expect. Here are our initial impressions (especially when compared to Carnival, our typical cruise company). The food is tasty with larger portions. The freestyle dining is easy and we only had to wait one night to be seated. We did not visit any of the specialty dining restaurants and therefore saved money. We were satisfied with our choice to stay in the main dining rooms. Often there are promotions on Norwegian, including prepaid gratuities, free drink package, and specialty dining. We chose prepaid gratuities and were happy that we did. Our cabin was
an inside cabin that included bunks to allow for up to 4 to stay in the room. While the bathroom was bigger than Carnival, the room seemed MUCH smaller with the way the bunks are hanging on the wall, instead of coming out of the ceiling. When traveling on Norwegian, you cannot bring any beverages on board and should pack a white outfit because one of the highlights is the “White Hot Party”. We also felt that the shows were of a higher caliber than we typically see.


On this cruise, we spent 2 ½ days in port and were so glad we did. When we began our journey, we had the mentality that we needed to “soak everything in since it was a once in a lifetime experience”. Once we got there, we knew we’d be back! It is a gorgeous island that is easy to navigate with good public transportation. It’s expensive, hot, and there can be a lot of walking, but we didn’t mind. While you can arrange taxis and tours to take you to the places we visited, we preferred to save money and stick with public transportation.

Day 1 (½ Day in Port)

Immediately upon disembarking from the ship, there is a place to purchase bus tickets. We bought a two-day bus/ferry pass for $31.50 per person. (Three day passes are only available for purchase in Hamilton.)

We took Bus #7 to Elbow Beach (bus stop is by Elbow Resort). It was a bit of a long walk from the bus stop to the beach, but it was worth it. It was probably the most beautiful beach that we’ve ever seen! There are no facilities and it is popular with the locals, although there were not many people there at all. The beach is very sandy and calm. Amazing!

From Elbow Beach, we took Bus #7 back toward the Dockyard and stopped at Church Bay (bus stop is across from the big white church). There was okay snorkeling there and the water area is very rocky (the entire bottom is covered with a flat rock). While not too deep, this was the deeper of the two snorkeling areas. Again, it was a relatively far walk back to the bus stop and there are no facilities.

Day 2 (Full Day in Port)

The next day we took the ferry to Hamilton. It was about a 25 minute ride and the city is nice enough to walk around in for a bit. Once in Hamilton, we walked to the transportation hub (near the courthouse and about 2 blocks from the dock) and took Bus #11 to the Aquarium. There was a $10 entry fee and we walked around the aquarium/zoo for about 45 minutes. Lemurs and peacocks freely roamed certain areas. From the Aquarium, we took Bus #11 to the Crystal Caves. It was a $22 entry fee per cave (or $32 for both) and we decided to only tour one of them. Each tour is guided and lasts about 25 minutes. Getting to each cave requires walking down (and then up) 85 stairs. After our cave tour we ate lunch at the Swizzle Inn (located right by the bus stop for the caves). The food was very good, but expensive, like it is all over 
Bermuda. To give an idea, a fish sandwich costs about $19.

To finish the day, we took Bus #11 back to Hamilton and then Bus #7 to Horseshoe Bay. The huge beach, sandy shore, and beautiful clear water make it obvious why this beach is so highly rated.
Photo Courtesy of

There are facilities including restaurants, showers, bathrooms, and equipment rental available at this beach. As this beach is well-known, it was very crowded and that is the main reason we didn’t like it as much as Elbow Beach. We could not easily get a spot close to the facilities and kept bumping into people in the water. Renting two chairs and an umbrella costs $45, so be prepared to spend if you want a chair and
shade. Nearby, Baby Beach is a small area right next to Horseshoe Bay that is very shallow and perfect for little kids. Also, there is a very long walk from the bus stop to and from the beach. We took Bus #7 back to the Dockyard after our time in Horseshoe Bay.
That night, we went night fishing with a local company advertised at the Dockyard. It was $105 per person for 4 hours of fishing from 7-11pm, including a cash bar.

Day 3 (Near Full Day in Port)

We did not have a bus pass to use this day, so we took the free ferry (took about an hour) that was offered by the cruise ship company to St. George, on the other side of the island. We heard someone else describe Hamilton as a “nice city” and St. George as a “cute town” and we think that is a good description. You can certainly walk around St. George and enjoy this quaint town and its offerings, including reenactments. We took the first ferry of the day (9am) and were glad we did. Initially we thought we’d only stay part of the day in St. George, but we were having so much fun that we decided to stay the whole day and took the last ferry back (4pm).

Once in St. George, it’s a 20 minute walk to Tobacco Bay, a small beach in St. George, or you can buy a shuttle pass for $9 round trip from the visitor’s center. We spent most of the day at Tobacco Bay, which was not crowded and provided great snorkeling. You can rent chairs with a canopy or snorkel gear for $20 ($38 for 2 chairs). It was sandy, but there were big rocks, which was one of the reasons the snorkeling was so good. At Tobacco Bay there are bathroom facilities and a restaurant as well as a volleyball court and pool table in the water. It was shallow throughout the entire area of Tobacco Bay. The restaurant will allow you to open a tab and will deliver food and drink to you on the beach. When (not if) we go back, we hope to visit Warwick Long Bay. We always bring our own snorkel
equipment and heard that sea turtles can often be seen at that beach. Also, Snorkel Park Beach is right by the Dockyard and we heard that was really nice as well. 

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