By Raj Bhattacharya
Raj, a seasoned travel writer and Bermuda destination expert, has extensive global travel experience. This website reflects his profound insights, garnered over nearly two decades of dedicated findings and research on the island. Raj has assisted countless Bermuda-bound visitors by providing direct, personalized responses to their queries and imparting his wealth of knowledge through this platform. This site serves as an indispensable guide for those seeking informed and reliable insights into Bermuda's treasures.
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Visitors' Reviews and Comments
Rosemary Daly (June 2016)
I have read a lot of your information and it is terrific, it has really helped us in planning our trip. But I don't see a lot for 2016... we are going to Bermuda this July. My husband and I do a lot of snorkeling and we don't want to be on a boat with 30 people... we don't care about rum swizzles and just want to see a lot of marine life. Can you suggest one of the best boats for doing that?
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, June 2016)
You can consider Sonny's Snorkel Bermuda (wreck snorkeling) or Captain Kirks Coral Reef Adventures (sea garden/reef and wreck snorkeling). Both are small boats.
Danielle (May 2016)
Hi, Do you know if Sonny's snorkeling tour that goes to the shipwrecks, also includes the sea garden? I know the Jesse James tour specifically mentions it, but the timing of Sonny's tours would be better for us. Thanks.
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, May 2016)
Hi, Sonny's tour is essentially a shipwreck tour, but you can also see lots of corals and fish. But it does not specifically cover the Sea Garden.
Joanne (April 2012)
Thank you for this informative web site. My husband and I are cruising to Bermuda in May. I have read great reviews on Jessie James and Snorkel Bermuda. Which one would you suggest? I like Jessie James because of the glass bottom boat. However, they only offer afternoon tours and we want to spend time at Harbour Nights. Snorkel Bermuda offers more times tours however the tour isn't as long. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Regards,
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, April 2012)
Hi, Both the snorkel cruises are good. Sonny Sullivan, the captain of Snorkel Bermuda was the first employee of Jessie James where he honed his skills as a snorkel tour operator. He later switched to other operators and then finally owned a boat himself to operate his own snorkel boat tour.
Again Jessie James in no longer with Jimmy who was the original captain of the boat and operated the tour along with his wife. The husband-wife combination was fantastic. Jimmy retired and sold off the boat to Chloe Mckey who continues to operate the same trips. The tour continues to be good though.
In Jessie James you will get three-in-one snorkeling experience covering three different places that includes beach area, two shipwrecks and sea garden with fish and corals. Their snorkel time is nearly 120 minutes compared to little over 60 minutes of Snorkel Bermuda. (Update Jan 2013: Jessie James has cut short the snorkeling hours and also number of sites. They now cover 2 sites instead of three).
Snorkel Bermuda is essentially about shipwreck snorkeling and they take you to the same water area as Jessie James (Western Blue Cut in the western end) but focus mostly on wreck snorkeling. However, they operate three tours (9am, 12noon and 3pm). Jessie James offers morning and afternoon tours during June-August, but only afternoon tours in the other months.
Note that you can go for the Harbor Night in Hamilton after completing the afternoon tour of Jessie James. Harbor Night starts at 7pm and only on Wednesdays, and continues until late evening.
Bev DeMilia (June 2011)
Our cruise docks in Bermuda 7/3/11 - 7/5/11. We have a party of 11 people (adults and teens) and some not the best swimmers. Some people would like to try snorkeling while others may want to lounge on a beach nearby. What would you recommend for a tour or a charter. If chartering, which beach would you suggest we ask them to take us to. Do you have any comments on AJ's Wings, Shekynah, the Sun Splash, etc.? I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, June 2011)
Hi, If you are planning to be lounging on a beach while others try out snorkeling, there is no need to take a boat tour. You can go to one of the best snorkeling beaches and enjoy both. Snorkel Park is one of them which is located within the dockyard complex itself and only a few minutes walk from your cruise ship pier. You can also reach the other beaches quite easily from the dockyard. I have discussed all the best beaches for snorkeling here: Snorkeling in Bermuda
If you are looking for a private boat tour that offers both offshore snorkeling as well a beach to enjoy, I must say it's difficult to get best of both the worlds at the same time. All the three options that you have mentioned are good. You should plan to get your own food because they offer limited menu on board, but allow you to bring your own. You can take my reference with the captain of Shekynah, Caleb Zuill.
Another good option is the boat PISCES from Jessie James Cruises. You can charter this 31-foot boat which has a toilet and seating arrangements. You can design a part of your private tour as per their regular snorkeling trip. They cover three snorkeling areas one after the other, with the first one at an island (kings Point) which has a small beach. Some of you can lounge there while others can proceed towards shipwreck sites nearby for a great snorkeling experience. They pick you up from the Dockyard and drop you there if you charter their boat. Check out the details here: Jessie James
If you like to combine a long sail along with snorkeling, I would insist with the operator to finally take the group to the Clearwater Beach at St. David's Island. Since this means an end-to-end ride from the west to the eastern end of Bermuda and back, all may not easily agree. But sometimes they do take you there if you insist and pay a few extra dollars, and it's worth the trip. The boat ride and the beach are both wonderful. Find out about the beach here: Clearwater Beach. Have a great time in Bermuda!
Scott Lippy (July 2010)
Last July, my wife and I scheduled a snorkeling trip with Jessie James. Unfortunately the weather had been windy and unsafe for sites on the outer reefs. However, Capt. Jimmy knew of some in-shore areas that were loaded with fish and made the trip enjoyable. A rainstorm quickly appeared and cut short our final dive, but we still had fun. We got soaked from the rain on the way back to the dock and the only negative we had was our extra clothing got soaked, too. I would suggest to anyone to put things in a "dry" bag if you wish to take any towels or extra clothing. The fact that the boat is smaller than some made the trip more enjoyable as you get to know the other folks more that way. We will seek out Jessie James tours again.
Scott Lippy (June 2010)
My wife and I booked the Fantasea snorkel tour while on our Bermuda vacation. The first thing is the directions for where to meet the tour were not specific enough and we ended up at their downtown Hamilton office when we should have been at the Royal Naval Dockyards.
However, the pleasant staff easily changed our reservations for a tour the next day without any hassles. The next day found us in the midst of the throng of cruise ship folks all trying to get to their excursions. While we did see signs for other Fantasea tours, none were the same as ours. Even asking those Fantasea folks where ours was to meet met with confusing stares and miss-information.
Eventually, someone came and asked the few of us waiting if we had an “Ultimate” tour with Fantasea. The word Ultimate never appeared on our paperwork, but luckily we discovered that was our tour. The boat was full, about 50 passengers, and there was little space for our gear. The crew on the boat was friendly and knowledgeable about Bermuda.
We motored over to see the wreck of the Vixen, which was interesting, but took a long time out of our short 3 hr. cruise. We finally got to snorkel but only had about 1 hr left for the dive and only one dive site at that (not much of a snorkel tour). On the way back they did have all the swizzles you wanted, which was a nice touch.
However, the crew which seemed to be very safety conscious during the rest of the trip didn’t seem to care if youngsters decided to make the canvas mesh between the hulls a personal trampoline while others were on it.
Comparing to other operators it was obvious that the tour caters to the cruise boat set and is more corporate in their attitudes than other operators.
Clark Howell (July 2009)
My wife and I went out on Captain Smitty's Catamaran, (Sunday, July 12, 2009) and had the BEST snorkeling adventure of our lives!! It was truly a storybook day, from start to finish. The boat was beautiful, the reef was spectacular and the crew was outstanding! And on top of that, Captain Smitty serenaded us all on the trip back. What a day!