Ships that visit Bermuda, a cluster of islands about 600 miles off the coast of North Carolina, usually sail from New York or Boston for a week. It takes about a day and a half at sea to get there, and most ships spend three full days docked in one or two of the three ports of call: King’s Wharf, Hamilton, and St. George’s.
What We Love
Beaches: Cruise ships have been sailing to Bermuda for more than a century, and for good reason: The beaches are gorgeous. The powdery sands of Bermuda are the softest in the world, and many are pink thanks to eons-old crushed shells and corals. They’re all public, most are free, and many are framed by beautiful rock formations. The best include Horseshoe Bay in Southampton Parish, Elbow Beach in Paget Parish, and Warwick Long Bay.
No Overcrowding: The government limits the number of cruise ship visits to keep things that way. In addition, most attractions are fairly close, the roads are good, and people are friendly and polite.
Rich History: Though the Spanish spotted the islands in the early 1500s, it was the British who first settled in Bermuda a century later when the Sea Venture wrecked on the reefs there en route to the Jamestown colony in Virginia. Historic sites include St. Peter’s Church, which dates back to 1620, and the excellent Maritime Museum that’s built into the ruins of an early 19th-century fort at the Royal Naval Dockyard.
Best Known For
Stunning Coasts: Spend time walking on a beach or, if you’re looking for more adventure, hop on a motor scooter and beach-hop among the many unnamed slivers of silky sand tucked into the jagged coastline.
Bermuda Shorts: Grown men walk around in the distinctive pink, mint green, and other brightly colored “Bermuda” shorts, paired with knee-high socks, dress shirts, jackets, and ties. The traditional garb comes from the British Army, who incorporated the short pants into their uniforms in their many tropical outposts around the world.
Golf Courses by the Sea: If you like swinging the clubs, Bermuda has seven great courses across its 21 square miles, many with stunning ocean views, including the Mid Ocean Club and Riddell’s Bay Golf & Country Club, whose course is set on a peninsula jutting into the surf. Most are private clubs with several days a week reserved for visitors; your ship will sell excursions and arrange tee times and gear.
Shop for Cruises
St. George’s Island: This is the most historic part of Bermuda, and the site of the oldest surviving English settlement in the New World. You can easily walk to lovely 17th- and 18th-century homes (the Tucker House), churches (St. Peter’s Church), and forts (Fort St. Catherine).
Hamilton: The capital of Bermuda is home to shops, restaurants, and businesses, many along colorful Front Street. Browse for cashmere sweaters, china, crystal, and linens from the British Isles. For lunch, order a bowl of fish chowder, laced with rum and sherry peppers.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Limited Casino Hours: Local laws forbidding cruise ships from opening their casinos while in port in Bermuda were loosened in 2013, allowing ships to operate onboard casinos between 9 pm and 5 am.
Road Safety: Renting a motor scooter is a fun and popular way to see Bermuda. But there are risks to driving one (on the left side!) on unfamiliar roads that are narrow and hilly.
Heidi Sarna is a Singapore-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Condé Nast Traveler and USA Today.