Kings Wharf Bermuda
A Complete Guide
Kings Wharf is where most cruise ships dock in Bermuda. This is the original pier or the berth in Royal Naval Dockyard. Most cruise lines show the destination as Kings Wharf in their cruise schedules for Bermuda, and therefore many visitors tend to think that Kings Wharf is the cruise port. Actually it is only a berth in the port and the port itself is known as Royal Naval Dockyard, or simply as Dockyard.
The dockyard is located at the western tip of Bermuda in Sandy's Parish at Ireland Island (North). A second berth known as Heritage Wharf was added to the dockyard in May 2009 right next to Kings Wharf. So two large cruise ships can now dock at the port at the same time. Usually your cruise ship would dock at one of these two berths.
Due to large influx of tourists arriving by regularly scheduled cruises, the dockyard has developed into a modern tourist complex with many top tourist attractions including National Museum of Bermuda, beaches, art & craft center, restaurants & pubs, shopping mall with boutique shops and a place from where a host of activities take place including local tours (both land and boat tours), water sports, rides, golfing & fishing tours, festivals etc.
The dockyard has three Visitors Information Centers to assist the tourists with maps, brochures, tourism information etc while also selling bus & ferry passes and tokens to get around the island. The dockyard is well connected with the rest of the island by bus, ferry and taxi services. There is a ferry dock within 4-5 minutes walk from the cruise berths. A direct ferry connects the dockyard with Hamilton City (which is the capital of Bermuda) and another with St. George's (which is a historic city, the former capital and a Unesco world heritage site) through scenic water routes.
Two regular bus routes operate between the dockyard and Hamilton. The bus route #7 goes along the famous south shore beaches offering scenic views of the coastline, while bus #8 is great to view the island landscapes. And there are ample metered taxis to take you to any place in the island or even for island tours on fixed hourly rate.
Kings Wharf, Royal Naval Dockyard, Bermuda
Kings Wharf & Dockyard Location and Layout Map
The Dockyard Map
will give you a good idea about location & layout of the dockyard complex along with important landmarks like the cruise piers (i.e. Kings Wharf and Heritage Wharf), National Museum of Bermuda, Clocktower Mall, Visitors Information Centers etc. You can also see the cruise berth locations within the dockyard. The dockyard is located at Ireland Island (North) in Sandys Parish at the western end of Bermuda. If you are entering the dockyard by road, the entrance is at Pender Road with two large stone pillars at the gate.
2015 Cruises to Kings Wharf / Heritage Wharf
The following section shows the currently scheduled contracted cruises to Kings Wharf and Heritage Wharf. The links below will take you to my detailed reviews of the respective cruise ships.
Norwegian Dawn (NCL): No. of calls: 22; Departs: Boston; Docks at: Kings Wharf
Liberty of the Seas (Royal Caribbean): No. of calls: 21; Departs: Cape Liberty; Docks at: Heritage Wharf
Grandeur of the Seas (Royal Caribbean): No. of calls: 12; Departs: Baltimore; Docks at: Heritage Wharf
Celebrity Summit (Celebrity Cruises): No. of calls: 19; Departs: New York; Docks at: Kings Wharf
Brief Background of Kings Wharf & The Dockyard
The Dockyard once served as an outpost for the British Royal Navy, and has come a long way to become the busiest passenger ship port in the island.
After the British lost the American War of Independence, they also lost all their ports along America’s Atlantic Coastline. So as an alternative, they started the construction of Royal Naval Dockyard along with its Kings Wharf pier in 1809. To build this Dockyard, the British had engaged thousands of convicts who they brought in from England and also involved many slaves from the island as workers. Many workers died out of yellow fever epidemic that once ravaged the island and also due to the nature of risk involved in the work. Since its construction, the Kings Wharf and the dockyard operated for over 100 years serving the British forces in such affairs like the American War of 1812. The naval base remained in operation through the World War-II as well.
However over time the British began to realize that the dockyard was no longer a real necessity as a navy port for defense. After all, the Americans became allies to the British in both the World Wars. So gradually the importance of the dockyard as a naval base started to reduce. Most of the navy facilities were closed down by 1951. Limited facilities were kept open to support British & NATO ships. Finally all navy operations came to a complete closure in 1995. passenger cruise ships then started to visit Bermuda and docked at the Kings Wharf, and the dockyard gradually became a commercial port and a complex with many tourist attractions.
Beaches Near Kings Wharf
There are several great beaches that are close to Kings wharf. While Snorkel Park Beach is located within dockyard and only few minutes walk from the berths. However it is part of a commercial complex and has an admission fee. Others including the famous pink south shore beaches like Horseshoe bay beach, Church Bay Beach, Warwick Long Bay Beach etc can be reached easily by public bus (#7), taxis or scooter. Beach shuttle minibuses are also available at dockyard for Horseshoe Bay Beach which makes several round trips during the day. Here are the Beaches near Kings Wharf
Cruise ship berthed at Dockyard
Places to visit in and around Kings Wharf & Dockyard
Spread across some 24-acres of land area, the Royal Naval Dockyard complex today offers many attractions other than being home to a marina, a working boatyard, many restaurants and shops.
Some of the key attractions & places to visit here includes the National Museum of Bermuda which showcases exhibits and artifacts of Bermuda's Maritime History, culture and heritage over the past four centuries, many historical buildings like the Victualling Yard, Casemates etc that relate to the time of Royal Navy in Bermuda, Art Center where beautiful artworks and paintings are created, Glassworks where artists make beautiful glass articles using glass blowing technique, Clay Works where artists make lovely pottery items, Craft Center for handcrafted items, Dolphin Center for dolphin interactions, beaches and more.
Within easy distance and accessible by bus are lovely attractions like Fort Scaur - a historic British fort, Gibbs Hill Lighthouse - the oldest cast iron lighthouse in the world, Heydon Trust - a lovely parkland with a tiny chapel, Somerset Bridge - the smallest drawbridge in the world etc. Check out Kings Wharf Attractions
for full information.
Activities at Kings Wharf
The Bermuda Tourism Authority and Royal Naval Dockyard organize a busy schedule of weekly events & entertainment at the dockyard complex. These weekly events include cultural programs, live music, historical re-enactments, shows, art & craft etc. They are mostly targetted towards the cruise ship passengers. While there are several day-time programs during the week, many musical performances and fun parties are held in the evenings running until late night and giving nice nightlife options here. These events are mostly free. Here are 2015 Dockyard Weekly Events.
One great advantage for the cruise ship passengers is the host of activities available in and around the dockyard area itself. Because of large number of tourists visiting by cruise ships (over 350,000 per year), many operators and outfitters have opened shops in the dockyard area itself. Some of such activities include boat tours, snorkeling cruises to outer reefs & shipwrecks, water sports like jet ski, kayaking, windsurfing, boating & sailing etc, beach activities, cycling, fishing tours, and even a fun 18-hole mini golf course in the dockyard. Check out Things to do at Kings Wharf
to know about all the recreational activities that operate out of the dockyard and the surrounding area.
Restaurants, Bars & Pubs at Kings Wharf / Dockyard
While there are vendors offering different kinds of snacks at several places in the dockyard complex, there are also some great restaurants, pubs and other eateries.
Frog & Onion Pub
: Located inside the Old Cooperage building is an old British style pub and a restaurant serving British cuisine. We would often take our lunch and dinner here.
: An Italian restaurant has come up recently at the corner of the Clock Tower Mall. It has a nice relaxing and friendly atmosphere, and serves authentic traditional Italian food all seven days a week, including breakfast, lunch and dinner.
: The restaurant offers seafood & steaks in a casual and friendly atmosphere. There is both inside and outside seating.
Pirate ship floating bar
: Inaugurated in June 2014 is the pirate ship themed floating bar at the dockyard located by the cruise terminal. Nice cheap drinks, good music and DJ, lovely view of the water & passing ships and youthful vibe are the main attractions.
Dockyard Pastry Shop: Nice place to have some bakery items, sandwiches, cakes and coffee. There is an open terrace with garden setting where you can sit under an umbrella and enjoy some snacks. They serve afternoon tea which continues to be a tradition in Bermuda and served with goodies and tea sandwiches. They are open daily from 9am to 5pm and serve breakfast and lunch. The eatery is located at the entrance of Victualling Yard in dockyard.
#12, Dockyard Terrace. Phone: 232-CAKE (2253); Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
BermyBerry (Update July 2013): If you are looking for frozen yogurt of one of many fruity or other great flavors on a hot day, you can now have it at the dockyard. BermyBerry is a gazebo located opposite to the Dockyard's Keep fortress, few minutes walk from Kings Wharf Pier and easy to find. Run by Georigia Marshall, she offers healthy (only 100 calories per cup) frozen yogurt made with fresh strawberries, blueberries, kiwis etc. But you can also have one sprinkled with chocolate chips.
Shopping at Kings Wharf
Clocktower Shopping Mall
: It's a charming covered shopping arcade located within the dockyard complex and 5-minute walk from the cruise piers. It has 100-ft high twin clock towers and hence the name. There are several nice boutique and branch stores in the mall. You will find attractive items like porcelain, fine china & crystals, silverware and fine tableware, dress materials for men & women, jackets & shoes, Scottish woolen goods and lot more.
Clocktower Mall, Dockyard Bermuda
You can buy local handicrafts from the Bermuda Craft Market
located within the dockyard in the Old Cooperage
, between Dockyard Terrace and Maritime Lane. You will find Bermuda cedar-work, candles, jewelry, pottery items, straw bags, banana dolls and many other crafts. Bermuda Clayworks
has artisans who create handcrafted pottery items like plaques and table top items. Another great place to visit is the Dockyard Glassworks
where the flame srtists create magnificent glass items like vases, models of animals & birds etc using glass blowing technique.
Transports (Trolley, Bus, Ferry, Taxi, Beach Shuttles) at Kings Wharf/Dockyard
When cruise ships are in port, a train trolley (that moves on wheels) goes around the dockyard starting near the cruise terminals and passing through the important places completing a full circuit. It makes frequent trips during the whole day. This is a free transport available in the dockyard and you can hop on and off at various points within the dockyard.
Buses and ferries are very popular public transports in the island. Bus #7 and #8 operate between Hamilton City and the Dockyard. The bus stop is at the end of the cruise berths and next to the ferry dock. Bus #8 is more frequent and takes the Middle Road
in Sandys, while bus#7 takes the more picturesque South Road
that offers great views of the south shore beaches. Bus ride from dockyard up to Hamilton City takes about one hour and to south shore beaches like Horseshoe Bay Beach in Southampton takes about 35 minutes. Check out Bermuda Bus Services
for all the bus routes, schedules and lot more information.
There is a ferry dock at the dockyard. Ferries operate between dockyard and Hamilton City (all year but with reduced frequency in winter, takes 20 minutes one way) and also between dockyard and St. George's (April to early November, 35 minutes one way). Check out Bermuda Ferry
for the routes and schedules.
Note that there is no Car Rental
in Bermuda in order to prevent congestion and pollution in this small island. But ample private taxis are available. There are taxi stands in the dockyard and taxis are readily available there. While you can take a taxi for point to point transfer, all taxis in Bermuda also offer customized island tours at hourly rate. There are some taxis which have Blue Flags or its insignia on the bonnet. The Blue Flag Taxi drivers are also government certified tour guides. Check out Bermuda Taxi Service
for more information.
Update August 2014: Beach Shuttle Service
WEDCO (West End Development Corporation) in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism Development & Transport has introduced a minibus shuttle service between Dockyard and the South Shore beaches. The round trip fare is $16 per person. Currently beaches covered are Horseshoe Bay Beach and Church Bay Beach. The service starts at 8am from dockyard and makes several round trips during the day. The last minibus from dockyard is at 3pm, while the last one returning from Horseshoe Bay Beach is at 6pm. This shuttle service provides about 1,000 additional seats per day to reach Horseshoe Bay other than the public buses. The beach shuttles at the dockyard operate when the cruise ships are in port. The shuttle ticket booking office is located at the dockyard and is open from 8am to 2pm. They will let you known the timings of the shuttles.
Beach Shuttles, Dockyard
Visitors Information Centers at Kings Wharf Dockyard
There are three Visitors Information Centers located in the dockyard. One near the Kings Wharf pier, one at the end of Heritage Wharf pier and the third near the ferry dock. You will get free pocket maps, brochures, tour guides, as well as bus & ferry passes and tokens at the centers. They are usually open on all seven days and have shorter working hours on Saturdays and Sundays unless there is a cruise ship on port.
Note that when a cruise ship arrives, there are usually long queues at these centers. Tourists line up to buy transport passes, get directions and to get hold of maps & brochures. Check out Visitors Information Centers
for more details including location, timings & offerings of the centers.
Distances to places within Dockyard
Once you get off the cruise ship (either at Kings Wharf or Heritage Wharf pier), the distance to the landward end of the pier would be about 300 yards. From here the bus stop or the ferry dock is about 75 yards. All attractions in the dockyard are within distances of 250 to 500 yards or so. For example the Snorkel Park & Beach is about 5 minutes walk from the cruise pier and Clocktower Mall is 6-7 minutes.
Wi-Fi Internet & Phone Cards at the dockyard
Since February 2012, the entire dockyard is now wifi enabled. From your laptop, phone or Ipad once you connect to the service, you can pay online through your credit card. Rate plans are available for hourly, one day, 3-day usage etc. You can also connect to the wifi service from your cruise pier. Long distance calling cards are also available throughout the dockyard.
Currency & ATMs at Kings Wharf
One Bermuda dollar is equivalent to one US$. If you are carrying US dollars, you won't need to change to Bermuda Currency. US dollar is freely accepted in all shops, restaurants and outlets. A shop owner may return Bermuda currency as a change when you pay in US currency. Ensure that you use up all the Bermuda currency in the island itself, else you may not be able to convert them into your home currency when you get back. There are ATMs in the dockyard complex (one near the Clocktower Mall and another near Frog & Onion Bar & Restaurant). They dispense Bermuda currency. Visit Bermuda Currency
to know all about currencies and denominations in Bermuda.
Weather at Kings Wharf
Weather is same all across the island and is sub-tropical in nature. From April until November (summer to fall) the temperatures vary between 75ºF (22ºC) to about 85ºF (29ºC). Humidity during May to October can go well over 80 percent. Temperature during the winter (December through March) varies between 62ºF (17ºC) to about 70ºF (21ºC). You will need to wear a light jacket during early mornings and evenings during winter. Otherwise the day time is quite pleasantly cool. Check out Bermuda Weather
for more information on Bermuda weather and climate.
Live Webcam at Dockyard
A state-of-the-art live webcam has been installed in April 2013 on top of the Commissioner's House at Dockyard. As a result you can now see a live streaming video of the dockyard on your computer/laptop. You can see the cruise ships arriving and leaving, and also many activities in the dockyard as well as the surrounding area of the island. All what you need to do is visit the website www.portbermudawebcam.com and you can see great live footage of the dockyard.
Complete Bermuda Vacation & Travel Guides on eBooks!
1) Check out Bermuda Cruises
to know about the currently scheduled cruises to Bermuda, review of the cruises, on board amenities, schedules and more.
2) Sandys Parish
: Other great attractions, restaurants, hotels etc in the parish.
3) Bermuda Ports
: About all the ports in Bermuda including Hamilton City & St. George.
Viewers' Stories & Comments
Pat Fleming (July 2015)
I have a map of Bermuda that was sent to me and it says the dockyard is a WiFi hot spot. How does that work? If I have my IPad can I use it free or do I need to get a card or something to use it?
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, July 2013)
Not free. You can pay online from your iPad or Laptop with your credit card and use the wifi.
Lisa Shire (April 2015)
Hi, Once docked at King's Wharf, where can I purchase the Booklet of 15 Tickets for the ferry? In your info, it looks as if that is not available at the Visitor's Center. What would be the closest place, in proximity to the cruise ship, to make this purchase. Thank you so much!
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, April 2013)
Hi, Nearest place from Kings Wharf to get bus/ferry tickets is Mangrove Bay Post Office located at Somerset, Mangrove Bay Road (8am to 5pm, Mon-Fri). Take bus #7 or 8 from the dockyard and go down to the post office (8 minutes ride), pay one way fare in exact change (Bermuda or US currency).
Stephen Rescsanski (February 2015)
A very comprehensive, easy to find information about Bermuda and what it offers. Well done. Web site almost a secret that should not be. Been to the pub at the Dockyard and never knew it had a brew tour, dine and taste. Ditto minivans and the easy to find cost for 'Regular' service from the dockyard. One question 16.99 total trip or free to the beach and 16.00 to get back or take alternate way?(Just the way the cost is stated). Have recommended your site to several others.
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, February 2013)
Thanks for your comments. $16 is the total round trip fare from the dockyard to the beach and back.
Deborah Perry (June 2013)
We are interest in purchasing a 3day pass. Are the passes available at the Kings Wharf Docksite? Does the bus + Ferry run from Kings Wharf
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, June 2013)
Hi, yes, you will get the passes from the visitors information center located at the dockyard itself (close to the cruise ship pier). There is a ferry dock at the dockyard. You can take the Blue Line ferry for Hamilton City (20 minutes) and Orange Line ferry for St George (35 minutes). Bus #7 and 8 run between dockyard and Hamilton (takes about 1 hour). Bus #7 goes by the beautiful south shore beaches including Horseshoe Bay Beach.
David McLaughlin (June 2013)
I am going to be cruising to Bermuda in July and will be there for three days. We were wondering what time the stores/activities close during the week at the Dockyard as we would rather explore elsewhere and then come back to the Dockyard but not sure of the hours. Thanks,
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, June 2013)
Hi, The stores at the Clocktower Mall in dockyard (about 25 of them ) are open from 9am to 6pm during summer. On Mondays they usually stay open until 10pm because of the ongoing weekly festival 'Destination Dockyard' held at the dockyard complex. Regards,
Sladjana (June 2013)
Can I rent a scooter near Kings Wharf?
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, June 2013)
Yes you can. Oleander Cycles has a branch at the dockyard and rents scooters (phone: 441/234 2764)
Paul (June 2013)
Where can I buy Coors light, or any other American domestic beer in King's Warf, Bermuda?
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, June 2013)
Hi Paul, I'm not sure if you can get Coors Light in the dockyard. But you will get Budweiser, Bud Lite etc at Bonefish Bar & Grill located at the Dockyard (Kings Wharf area). A bottle costs $6.95. The Bonefish bar is located next to the dockyard ferry point.
Susanne (May 2013)
I will be visiting Bermuda, via Royal Caribbean cruise, on Aug5+6. The cruise ship offers many excursions, but I'm wondering if I can access the beach and town on my own. What is in walking distance from the dock? Can we walk to the craft market and snorkel park easily? Can snorkel equipment and lounges be rented there? How would we get into the town to see the colorful buildings? What do you recommend. We will only be in Bermuda all day on Monday Aug 5 and till 4pm on Tuesday
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, May 2013)
Hi, Yes the Craft Market and Snorkel Park Beach are inside the dockyard complex and within easy walking distance from the cruise pier. You can rent snorkel gears, lounge chairs and umbrellas at Snorkel Park, but they are quite expensive. There are several other great attractions in the dockyard which you can explore on foot. Check out the following link for details: Dockyard Attractions
You can easily access Hamilton City (the capital and the main commercial center) by ferry. Take the blue route direct ferry after lunch. It takes only 20 minutes to reach Hamilton from dockyard. You can then walk around and explore the place. Go through the self guided Hamilton Tour
I suggest that you buy a 2-day transport pass from the visitors information center at the dockyard (right next to the pier). That will give you unlimited hop on/off access to both buses and ferries for two days. On the second day, explore some of the beautiful south shore beaches like Horseshoe bay beach, Warwick Long Bay beach, Church Bay Beach, Elbow Beach etc. The bus #7 from dockyard goes by all these beaches, and you can hop on and off. On your return, you can again take bus #7 to get back.
Crystal Johnson (May 2013)
I know the cruise ships usually sell stamps but if they dont't do you know if I can purchase stamps at the Visitor's Center? Also, are their mailboxes at port (King's Wharf) or do I need to go to a post office to mail post cards?
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, May 2013)
You will get postage stamps only in Post Offices. I haven't seen any mailbox in the dockyard. Here is a link to all the post offices in Bermuda: Bermuda Post Offices
Richard Dempski (February 2013)
Hi, Do all three Visitor Information Centres at Kings Wharf sell buss/ferry passes. I would think that they get very crowded when the ship lets 3000 people off at one time. Are there any other places at the Dockyard that we can pick up a pass? Can a pass be bought and sent to the U.S.? This is a great website! Thank you for your help.
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, February 2013)
Hi, Passes are available at all the Visitor Information Centers (VICs). Only if you know somebody in the island, can the passes be bought in advance and sent across. There is no other way, since the passes are available & issued only in the island. Other than the VICs, there is no other place issuing passes in the dockyard. Another option is to take a bus, pay exact change and go to the nearest Post Office in Sandys to buy the passes. This is however possible during the regular office hours on week days only. Regards.
Carole Holding, Bermuda (January 2013)
Raj, its me Carole holding, Happy new year. Just read yesterday your comments about Bermuda Duty Free Shopping
. I own and operated for 3 years now a large duty free shop in Dockyard at Heritage Wharf, the only shop there which services the Norwegian Cruise line and other ships who berth at Heritage Wharf pier during the cruise season!!!
Though you should know... The approximate 900 sq. ft. shop also sells a large variety of my products at below normal Bermuda retail prices that are offered in all my other shops because of this duty free location. I also offer daily RUM tasting and rum cake tasting to passengers at this pier. Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Breakaway as well as selling Duty Free liquor to passengers.
Kathryn Correia Grossman
The reason that the huge ships can get into the Kings Wharf and Heritage Wharf but not the Hamilton Docks is a quietly kept historical secret... under Brezhnev's rule and the days of the cold war and extreme spying (1980), a Russian submarine was spotted just off Bermuda spying on the US submarines that docked in Dockyard and St. Georges. Ronald Reagan enacted the Star Wars Project in response to Russia doing all they could to spy and access American War technology.
The U.S. Government wanted their nuclear submarines to sail into Bermuda right to the dock without surfacing so satellites could not detect them. They contacted with the Bermuda and British Government and put out to tender a $1 million dollar job to dynamite and dredge the Bermuda channel and the dockyards area which my father won the contract for. It was either 1978 or 1984 I believe. The entire channel was dredged and blasted to a very deep level. It was a quietly done project. The bid my father submitted went to Virginia. That's the reason the big ships can birth there and not in other parts of Bermuda. Town Cut in St. George's was also dredged. During the dredging canons were dug up, old Bermuda bottles and British navy memorabilia were donated to the Dockyards by my father.
I am coming to Bermuda (dockyard) on a cruise ship with about 80 passengers, most of them students. I would like to take them to Horseshoe Bay. Is there a bus that I can hire for this? Also, is there anyplace near the cruise ship port that this group can perform? They are a high school band.
Hi, Contact Beeline Transport to see if they can help for Horseshoe transfer. You will get their contact info here: Bermuda Tours by Bus
. Contact WEDCO (West Development Corporation running administration of the dockyard) for performance venue. Email: email@example.com; Phone: (441)234-1709
Reviewed by Raj Bhattacharya