A Cruise to Bermuda….Food, Fun, Halloween, Pink beaches, and Blue water

Cruising to Bermuda is a seasonal cruise, much like Alaska.  The last Norwegian Cruise Line tour of the year left on October 27th.  It is a bit cooler in Bermuda and weather is unpredictable, so the price dropped at the last minute.  We thought the price was too good to pass up and we had Southwest reward points so we could fly round trip from SLC to Boston for only 11.50 a piece.  It would also be over Halloween, so we would need to take a costume.

We took a late night flight into Boston, arriving around 2:30am.  We caught a short nap, but the Boston airport is a busy place.  At 8:00am, we caught the free bus to the port.  You have to walk about 2 blocks to get to the ship, but it beats paying the $30 for a transfer.  We were in group #1 to get on the ship.  The first thing we did was eat, as we hadn’t eaten since the night before.

After lunch we went exploring on the ship and took in the views of Boston.

We set sail and left the harbor…

We passed a cargo ship on our way out.

The airport was just across from the cruise port, and we enjoyed watching the planes land and takeoff right over the ship.  It doesn’t take much to entertain us.

We went to the show in the theater that gave us a glimpse of the week’s entertainment as well as an introduction to the crew.

We were on our way.  Our first full day, was at sea.  We have sailed with Norwegian numerous times, so we do get a few perks.  One is a free behind the scenes tour. Our first stop was the theater, where we got an introduction to the behind the scenes. Next we went to the laundry.  We watched as they pressed and steamed the first officer’s uniforms.

We then watched  the folding machines.  Sheets are inserted wet, and they come out dry and folded!!!

There are 6 large washers, 2 medium washers, and 1 small washer, along with 8 dryers.  The towel machine was just as impressive as the sheet machine.

There is a hallway that  is like the ship’s freeway.  We walked down the 95 to the galley.

We were met by the chef.  He explained the procedures in the kitchen.  For security, the wine is in a locked enclosure.

We have taken these tours before, but it never ceases to amaze. Here are a few of the numbers for the ship. There are 600 Food & Beverage team members.  The weekly shopping “list” includes 1500 lbs of cereal, 2000 lbs of sugar, 500 gallons of ice cream, 12,000 lbs of beef, 1,600 gallons of milk, 3,000 dozen eggs…just to name a few items.

We enjoyed the evening in the dining room.  Waiting for us in our room, were chocolate covered strawberries and a towel bear.

The next day was our anniversary.  We slept in late and the ship arrived in Bermuda at 1:00pm. Bermuda is a British territory.  The US dollar is the currency since it is closer to the US than Britain.  However, the vehicle drive on the opposite side of the road than in the US.  Our ship docked at the new King’s Wharf pier.  Bermuda has an excellent bus system so we caught the bus to Warwick Long Bay.  You can take a shuttle from the ship for $39 or pay $4.50 for the bus fare to get to the beach.  We would have to pay $7.00 for the return trip as it was Sunday and the buses don’t run after 5pm. There was only one other couple on the beach.

Bermuda has blue water and beach sand that is slightly tinted pink from the coral surrounding the islands.

We played in the water and then decided to walk the ocean path.The path walks along the ocean to Horseshoe Bay.  We stopped at Jobson’s Cove to watch the preparations for a wedding.  What a beautiful setting.

There were free roaming chickens along the way.

The views along the path were awesome.

Horseshoe Bay is a world-famous beach.  Being late in the season it was not crowded and there were very few people in the water.  We thought the water was nice, but we are from Idaho, where the water is always cold.

We had a wonderful anniversary afternoon at the beach.  On the way back to the ship, we passed under the Moongate.  legend has it, that if you kiss under the Moongate, you will have many more years of happiness.  What a great way to end our anniversary afternoon.

The nice thing about cruising to Bermuda is once the ship docks, there is no set time to be back on board each day.  Our time in Bermuda was Sunday afternoon to Tuesday evening.  You just had to be back on board by Tuesday at 4:30PM

We decided to go casual in the dining room and wore our matching “couples” shirts.  The wait staff learned it was our anniversary and presented us with a cake, while singing, “Let me call you sweetheart”.  They had us pose for pictures.

The next morning, we were up early as we had a snorkel tour.  However, the wind was blowing and the tour was cancelled along with our evening fishing tour.  Dang!!!  We hustled back to the ship, changed our clothes and decided to head to the limestone caves.  We bought a 2 day pass, which would allow us to take the ferry to Hamilton or ride the buses.  We decided to ride the ferry and then catch the bus to the caves.

We had told the bus driver, were we wanted to go, and she told us which stop to get off.  However, the roads in Bermuda are very narrow and we had to run in and out of the driveways as there are no sidewalks or space to safely walk.

We are Mormon and as we were dodging traffic, we happened upon a Mormon chapel.

We finally made to Crystal Cave.  There are 2 limestone caves and since our tours had been cancelled for the day, we had plenty of time to go in both caves.  You are assigned a tour time and wait under a tent. We took advantage of the extra time and read some of the information about the caves.

Crystal Cave is a limestone cave.  It was discovered in 1905 by two 12-year old boys that were looking for a lost cricket ball.  It was formed when sea levels were much lower as there are stalagmites on the cave floor which is now covered in water.  The water in the cave is sea water and rises and drops with the tide.  There are times that the cave is closed as the tide is too high for a safe access.

There are steps to the water level and then there is a floating walk way to the back of the cave. The water in the cave is called Cahow Lake.

The formations are beautiful.  However, many of the stalactites have been broken or sawed off.  In the early days, tourist could go on a self-guided boat tour, and as a souvenir, break of parts of the cave.  Today, you must stay on the walkway and not touch any part of the cave.

We were able to look up and see the hole that the two boys came down through when they discovered the cave.

The guide let us lag a bit behind to take pictures of the stairs.

The next cave was Fantasy Cave.  This is a smaller cave with 88 steep stairs.

The walkways were paved and it was nice to have a smaller group.  The cave also contains rare chandelier formations.

After the caves, we re-boarded the bus and headed to St. Georges, which is the opposite end of Bermuda from where we were docked.  St. Georges Town is the oldest surviving English settlement in the New World, having been settled in 1612 by the Virginia Company after a shipwreck in 1609.  St. Georges Town looks very much like it did 250 years ago.  Given that fact, we stopped in to the Town Hall building, which was built-in 1782.

We went to St. Peter’s church.  For a small donation, you can tour the church.  The day we were there a member of the church was there to answer our questions. It is the oldest surviving Anglican church in continuous use outside of Britain.  Parts of the original building are still standing, dating back to 1620.  The church has been added onto several times.

There is a special display for the last time a member of the royal family was in Bermuda and attended the church.

The cemetery around the church is beautiful and full of history of past residents and visitors.

Normally, Bermuda has a ferry that runs from St. Georges Town to King’s Wharf, but being late in the season, the ferry was shut down.  So NCL hired the ferry run while our ship was in port.  It was free and only available to cruise passengers.  Cruise ships used to dock at St. Georges Town.

Views of King’s Wharf…nearby is the Royal Navy Dockyard.  It served as the principal base of the Royal Navy in the Western Atlantic for over 175 years.

The next morning, using our 2 day transportation pass, we boarded the ferry to Hamilton, which became the capital of Bermuda in 1815.  Due to a shift of Hamilton being a world-wide finance center, many of the original buildings have been replaced with modern buildings.  Once off the ferry, we walked down Front Street.  This is a very modern area.  Small vehicles, scooters, and buses are the main mode of transportation.

We decided to explore the Legislative building.  Unfortunately we just missed the walking tour, so we explored the grounds ourselves.

Parking was at a premium!!!

There were numerous churches surrounding the capital as well as the Sessions House, where the Parliamentary sessions are held.  There is also a small building on the capitol lawn that is called the white house, we had to laugh as we are sure there are many buildings around the world called white house.

There is a statue dedicated to Sarah Bassett, who was burned at the stake in 1730 for attempted murder by poisoning. There are various versions of the story, but it was interesting to read.

The main bus terminal for the country is in Hamilton.  The buses have been modernized since we were here 12 years ago.

Not really having a plan, we wandered the streets looking for interesting sites. The Hog Penny Pub is the place that the Cheers bar in Boston was designed around.

We stumbled upon Queen Elizabeth Park.

It was peaceful and beautiful…

We headed back to Front Street to catch the ferry to King’s Wharf.  While walking a back alley we saw a box of Idaho potatoes.  Woohoo, they are famous even in Bermuda.  There is also the famous “bird cage”.  This is where a policeman will stand and direct traffic on busy days.

Two interesting activities are to stand on the ship’s deck and  1) watch the people run to catch the ship as they are late to re-board, and 2)watch the tugboat

It was now time to get ready for Halloween….The ship had an awesome pool party.  The costumes were insane.  There were groups dressed as the cast from Gillian’s Island, the Addams Family, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, even KISS.

Since we have cruised with NCL on numerous occasions, we get free meals in the speciality restaurants.  We chose the French and Brazilian Grill.

We had a bit of fun with our room steward during the week.  He made us towel animals, and we left Gru for him. We don’t drink, but they kept leaving bottles of Champagne in our room, so we put it to good use with our Gru poses.

We had 2 relaxing days at sea.  We watched the crew talent show, it was awesome.

The Deal or No Deal game was entertaining.  We didn’t buy a card, but loved watching.

But our favorite event was the Second City Murder Mystery lunch.  Improv at its best, and simply hilarious.  The art dealer did it.

All to soon it was time to disembark back in Boston.  We had a great anniversary, Halloween, relaxing cruise.  We just had to buy our own towel monkey to take home.  We left one last “note” for our room steward, and then were serenaded off the ship.

One last note….the bus is free to take to the port, but it costs $2.50 exact change to return to the airport.  As we fumbled for the money, a kind young man allowed us to use his pass.  “Make sure you have money for the bus!!”

Bermuda is an excellent option if you want to get away on a cruise, but don’t like a lot of port stops.

Categories: Bermuda, fun, Hiking

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