Bermuda Cruise Reviews
Planning a cruise to Bermuda
Nearly 70% of the visitors take cruises to travel to Bermuda every year. While cost is a major factor for deciding on a cruise rather than an air travel to Bermuda, there are many other compelling reasons to take a cruise to Bermuda. I'll share all our experiences and findings about the cruise ships presently calling ports of Bermuda and what it takes to select the right cruise deal for Bermuda.
There are few important things to consider while deciding on a cruise. The most important of that is, in a 7-day round trip cruise to Bermuda leaving U.S. East Coast, you will barely get some two and half days in the island.
You will need to spend the remaining days sailing on the sea. Well, if you are visiting few other Caribbean islands as part of a combined cruise trip, then number of days in Bermuda may vary, and will be much shorter. Some cruises barely give you just a day's time in Bermuda before it departs on the same day in the evening. So you will need to consider such trip more as a cruise vacation rather than a trip to Bermuda.
So, what do you do on board as you keep cruising for days? For us, a key consideration is how we can best enjoy the time while on board the ship. Because that's where you will end up spending most of your time anyway. So when selecting a cruise, we closely look into the onboard facilities and services.
Let me also put in a word of caution here - these days the cruise lines do not make money (may be very little) out of the cruise package they sell you. Such package usually includes the cabin, food in the main dining room and couple of cafes, and some basic entertainment. They make money out of the on-board facilities, services and special entertainment. And there are plenty of them to pamper you. For example, spa classes or specialty restaurants are almost always chargeable, so are things like laundry, internet services, casino etc. Some of those charges can be very high.
Therefore, facilities of your interest and its cost, food and beverages, type of cabin you want, on-board entertainment and activities are all very important factors in deciding what is the right Bermuda cruise deal for you. But why should you cruise to Bermuda in the first place and not fly? Cost may be just one reason. There are plenty others. Check out: Why take a cruise to Bermuda?
In 2023, a total of 94 visits are scheduled from the regularly contracted cruise ships and 130 visits from the occasional callers. Cruise ship calls and schedules are subject to change depending on weather and operational reasons.
CONTRACTED (REGUAR) CRUISES
Below are the cruise ships that will make regular calls to Bermuda throughout the year. These are known as contracted cruises which are usually closed loop cruises, i.e., they make point-to-point return trips, for example New York to Bermuda and back. Several non-contracted cruises (i.e. occasionally visiting cruises) make short halts at Bermuda and move on to other destinations.
Passenger Capacity: 2,270; Number of Crew: 965
Schedule varies: 2 - 3 Days
Norwegian Pearl (NCL)
Passenger Capacity: 3,130; Number of Crew: 1,070
Schedule Varies: 3 - 4 Days
Arrives at Royal Naval Dockyard Sunday 10:00 a.m.
Departs from Royal Naval Dockyard Tuesday/Wednesday 16:30 p.m. / 7:00 a.m.
Norwegian Joy (NCL)
Passenger Capacity: 4,992; Number of Crew: 1,700
Schedule Varies: 1/2/3 Days
Arrives at Heritage Wharf (Royal Naval Dockyard) on Wednesday 7:30am
Departs from Royal Naval Dockyard on Friday 3pm / 5pm
Vision of the Seas
Passenger Capacity: 2,514; Number of Crew: 765
Schedule Varies: 2 Days
Arrives at Royal Naval Dockyard 1:00 p.m
Departs from Royal Naval Dockyard 1:00 p.m
Liberty of the Seas
Passenger Capacity: 4,960; Number of Crew: 1300
Schedule Varies: 1 - 2 Days
Arrives at Dockyard 9:00 a.m.
Departs from Dockyard 4:00 p.m. / 6 p.m.
Apart from the above contracted cruises, there will be several occasional callers to Bermuda. And that includes Carnival Freedom, Carnival Legend, Carnival Magic, Seven Seas Mariner, Seven Seas Navigator, Insignia, Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Getaway, and many others making a total of 130 occasional calls to Bermuda.
There are three ports where the cruise ships can dock in Bermuda depending on their size and schedule. The largest berths are Kings Wharf and Heritage Wharf in Royal Naval Dockyard. This is where most contacted cruise ships dock these days. Other two ports are in Hamilton City and St. George's. Check out Bermuda Ports
to know about the ports in Bermuda and what you can expect there including facilities and options.
Shore Excursions in Bermuda
The cruise lines generally offer you a number of shore excursions in Bermuda. While those are quite convenient, but we always asked ourselves two questions: Are the rates reasonable and do they really cover the best of Bermuda for the precious short time we would be there?
Over the years we learned that the answer to both these questions is a big "NO". These days we organize our own tours and excursions. With the right information, you can also do it very easily. It would be far cheaper and satisfying. Here is how we do it in Bermuda
How to reduce cost of cruise to Bermuda?
If you have gone through the above links on the individual cruises to Bermuda, you can well understand that there are many hidden and other costs that eventually get added to your cruise spend. But there are many ways you can plan to reduce them. We have learned much of those in a hard way. Check out How to save Bermuda cruise cost
to know about our findings and how we keep our cruise cost to minimum these days.
Bermuda Cruise Wedding
Well, if you are planning a beautiful romantic cruise wedding on your way to Bermuda or helping someone to do so, check out Bermuda Cruise Wedding
for basic information.
Bermuda Cruise Travel Essentials
Travel Documents - Bermuda Passports, Visas
So all set to take a Bermuda cruise vacation? Here are some handy information about all the travel documents required to enter Bermuda:
Bermuda Customs Duty:
Bermuda Customs can be a very painful experience unless you are well prepared and aware of what to bring in and what not to. Check out Bermuda Customs
to know about the duties applicable on the goods that you bring in and limits to the duty free allowances.
Bermuda Health and Safety tips
While Bermuda is generally quite safe, like any other place on the earth, there do exist some health and safety risks in this island too. And some of the risks are quite unique to Bermuda. Knowing about them and preparing in advance will only help ensuring a smooth vacation. I suggest that you check out Bermuda Health and Safety
to know about all such factors and the recommended safety measures.
While your stay in Bermuda may be a short one, it's important for you to get covered under health or medical insurance while traveling to Bermuda. Medical expenses in Bermuda can be very high. And there is virtually no free medical service available on the island. Find out the details here: Bermuda Travel and Health Insurance
. Also check out Bermuda Travel info and Tips
for some more useful travel information.
Cruises that made regular contracted calls to Bermuda in earlier years
Viewers' Reviews and Comments
Namit (March 2022)
Hello, I am an Indian citizen. I would like to know if I need any tourist visa or transit visa if I have B1B2 visa for USA, and taking a cruise from New York to Bermuda?
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) March 2022
Hello, if you are taking a closed-loop cruise from New York to Bermuda, then you don't need any separate visa to travel to Bermuda. Suggest you take official confirmation from the cruise-line.
Steve Clark (September 2018)
We've only cruised Norwegian once, but that was quite enough. And our experience was the same as everyone else we talked to. Their target clientele is young people who want to drown in free drinks, and those who think cut-offs is dressing up. Look, we're just middle class folks who like to dress up for a fine dinner, and be in the company of like-minded others with a modicum of class. We'll stick with Celebrity.
Shevon (April 2016)
Hey! I am going to Norwegian breakaway in may 16-22 and were gonna stop in bermuda for 3 days! I haven't booked any excursions on their Web because I was hoping for a cheaper route. I was aiming to do caves/aquarium because I don't swim so I can't do the water activities haha...do you suggest I wait to book when docking in the ship or should I safely book In their website?
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) April 2016
Why book a cruise excursion. You can easily take a ferry to Hamilton, then a bus (#10 or 11) to Aquarium and then continue to the caves. Same way back. You can save a lot.
DM (April 2015)
We are docked for an overnight in August, do most of the ships offer 24 hour access to the boat when you are docked or do most have a cut off of when you need to be back on the boat when it is staying in port overnight?
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) April 2015
Cruise lines usually do not impose any restrictions on when passengers can return to ship while in port. However on the day of departure, there is a deadline by which one must board the ship.
Betty (July 2013)
A lot of people do not like to fly, and a lot of people in Florida would like to go to Bermuda, from Florida, on a cruise, leaving from Florida, not fly to New York, Maryland, or New Jersey, to go to Bermuda, so it would be great if you would start getting some cruise lines to do so.
Kirti Ganatra (June 2012)
Hi Raj, I found your website accidentally and find it very helpful. We are planning to take cruise to Bermuda, and find two of them, one goes to kings wharf and other to Hamilton. I heard that Hamilton is right at the center, however there is good public transportation. We will be there for three days. Which cruise should we consider? (price difference vs. convenience). We will be there on July 4, the beaches and caves etc will be open or not? Please give me your suggestion to use our time most efficiently to see all possible attractions. Is there any website where I can have the list of admission fees to different attractions and beaches? Is there any vegetarian food/restaurant available? Will it be possible to go back and forth to ship if it is at kings wharf ? Thanks a lot for your help..
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) June 2012
Hi Kirti, Since you will be in Bermuda for 3 days, you can go for the cheaper cruise. I don't know which cruises you are considering. While Veendam and Regent both dock at Hamilton, they also dock at St. George. These days due to shallow waters, the ships dock offshore at St. George and ferry the passengers between the ship and the shore, which becomes quite inconvenient. I am not aware of any cruise ship that docks only at Hamilton City for 3 days.
One prefers Hamilton City because you are right at the heart of the island. This gives you an opportunity to enjoy the restaurants, shopping and nightlife which otherwise is quite sedate elsewhere in the island including in the Dockyard (Kings Wharf) area.
However having said that, Hamilton City is far more crowded than the rest of the island and is essentially a commercial area. In any case a direct ferry from the dockyard ferry-stop takes only 20 minutes to reach the Front Street (of Hamilton City). So you can easily reach out to the various places in the island from the dockyard. In fact a direct ferry from here to St. George (the world heritage town which you should visit) takes only 35 minutes, whereas from Hamilton City a bus (which is the only direct transport) takes more than an hour.
Moreover, Bermuda's most lovely south shore beaches are easily accessible from Kings Wharf by bus no. #7. If you are docking at the Kings Wharf, then buy a 3-day transport pass from the dockyard visitors information center. You can hop on and off the buses as well as the ferries any number of times for 3 days. Read Bermuda Tours
to plan out your days.
July is in high tourist season and all attractions will be open in the island. There are no admission fees to the public beaches in Bermuda. Check out Must See Places
and scan through the tourist places to know about admission fees and open hours.
It won't be easy to find veg only restaurant in Bermuda, but there are several restaurants serving nice vegetarian dishes. I have no idea of what kind of food you take, so I'm unable to comment much here. Take a look at the restaurant House of India
... one of our favorites and a budget Indian restaurant located in Hamilton city. Hope this helps!!
Kirti Ganatra (June 2012)
Hi Raj, thanks a lot for your answer. Specially for info regarding Indian restaurant. Sorry about not mentioning specific detail regarding the cruise, Holland America Veendam going to Hamilton and staying there for three night arrive on July 3 at 10 am and leaving on July 6 at 2pm and Norwegian Star going to kings wharf arrive on July 4 at 8am and leaving on July 6 at 5pm, but $50 less per person ($200 for our family). According to travel agent Veendam wound be better choice as we get more time in Bermuda and it is right in center but I would like to have your expert opinion. Thanks again
Raj (www.bermuda-attractions.com) June 2012
Hi Kirti, If I were you I would spend that additional $200 in Bermuda and enjoy, rather than spending it on the cruise line. As I mentioned earlier, you can reach the center of Bermuda (Hamilton City) in just 20 minutes by a direct ferry from the dockyard. In a 21 square mile tiny island, you are never too far away from anything. Secondly, the dockyard complex at Kings Wharf itself has several great tourist attractions which you would like to visit anyway. So even if you are docked in Hamilton, you will still come to the dockyard area to take a look around for at least half a day.
I just cant wait to get on the Norwegian Cruise from New York City! I'm here reading all the great reviews about some to Bermuda'a Beaches. I happen to be a beach person. If, I enjoy this cruise, I may end up coming back just to relax and have fun. I'm an adventurous person in general, but when I find something that I enjoy, I tend to go back until there's no tomorrow. So, I'm looking forward getting my body in the water and sitting on that lovely pink sand!