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I took an overnight Bermuda cruise. The multi-day touring felt long, but the catamaran charter was worth it

In:
05 Jun 2024
By: 
Matt Hochberg

A Bermuda cruise is one of the few Royal Caribbean cruises that offers an immersive multi-day visit, and it's a different kind of experience.

Matt in Bermuda

Nealy all Royal Caribbean cruises offer port visits where you are docked for just a few hours.  It's enough time to take a tour and get a glimpse of what the area has to offer before your ship departs for the next destination.

Bermuda is different, because of how far away it is from almost every other cruise port.  Since North Americans prefer to take just a week of vacation at a time, most sailings to Bermuda are 7 nights or less, and that could mean a sailing that only visits Bermuda.

In my case, I booked a 5-night cruise on Liberty of the Seas with an overnight stay in Bermuda.

Our visit would include about 30 hours of time to explore Bermuda, and I was excited to take advantage of all that extra time.

A visit to Hamilton

Hamilton, Bermuda

Liberty of the Seas docked in Bermuda at the Royal Naval Dockyard just before 10am, and we would have until 4pm the next day to see as much of Bermuda as possible.

We started off with a visit to the capital of Bermuda, Hamilton. Unlike many Caribbean ports, taxis are quite expensive in Bermuda, but water ferries are very economical.

Bermuda ferry

We hopped on the ferry that goes between the Royal Navy Dockyard and Hamilton for just $5 per person.  We didn't book it through the cruise line, as it's a short five minute walk down the pier to where the ferry picks you up. 

The ferry ride is 30 minutes from start to finish, but it felt faster than that. 

Hamilton

Once in Hamilton, we opted to explore the city on our own.  One major advantage to overnighting in a port is you don't have the fear of not making it back to the ship in time on that first day.

Hog Penny

We grabbed lunch at The Hog Penny, which is an English pub. 

After we, window shopped around the waterfront.  While I can't say my kids enjoy leisurely exploring a port, my wife and I enjoyed the European feel Hamilton has along with the great sea breeze.

Church

Exploring a port on foot means an open-ended adventure, but it usually results in a lot of walking.  In felt like the amount of walking was substantially more than I thought we would do, but it's a great way to see any city.

In the afternoon we took the ferry back to the Royal Naval Dockyard to relax and recharge on the ship.

Sunset sailing

catamaran

Later that evening, we headed out for our next adventure. When Royal Caribbean docks overnight, the gangway is always open and it's effectively a floating hotel.

I had booked a 3-hour catamaran charter for just my family to enjoy an evening swim and take in the sunset.  I stumbled across Bermuda Yachts, and they offer private catamaran charters.

catamaran at the dock

The cost was just $1,000 for 3 hours and included the boat, captain, and all fees.  Perhaps a bit much for just the four of us, but if you have a larger group, it might make more sense.  Plus, I love to find ways to foster family bonding, and we are definitely more at ease when it's just us.

Our catamaran picked us up at the pier near where the cruise ships dock. Justin was our captain, and he offered up a plan to take us around for a leisurely view of Bermuda by boat, followed by a spot to feed fish, swim, and then enjoy the sunset.

catamaran

We started out going around the island and sailing past the coastline.  In early June, the high temperatures in Bermuda are in the mid-70s and by evening, it becomes cooler out.  Sunset isn't until 8:30, so there's still plenty of light.

It was great sitting on the bean bags they had at the front of the catamaran to see it all.

Our first stop was near a ship wreck, where Justin tossed bread into the water and suddenly a giant school of fish appeared.  Evidently this is a well-known spot among boats to feed fish, and the fish are always there to wait for it.

Feeding fish
feeding fish

The kids loved seeing all the different fish come up and how they just waited near the surface for another bite.

The next step was an inlet with an empty beach.  Our catamaran went to just a few dozen feet off shore to let us swim and paddleboard.

Matt paddleboarding

The ocean temperature was still warm, so it was nice to get out and enjoy a swim without any crowds or anyone else around.

But the real coup de grace was the sunset.  Justin brought the catamaran off the shore of Bermuda, giving us an unobstructed view of the horizon to enjoy the sunset.

Matt sunset

At first, I thought the sunset was going to be a busy because of cloud cover.  But as the sun came close to the horizon, the sky came alive with color.

It was a brilliant display of colors, and easily one of the most beautiful I've ever seen. 

Sunset in Bermuda

In all, the catamaran ride was exactly what our family wanted out of a fun day on the water. It wasn't cheap, but I think splurging is part of what makes vacation worth it.  After all, it has to be special to make vacation feel different from a day at home.

Beach day

Snorkel beach

After a full day of exploring Bermuda on the first day, the second day in Bermuda started off feeling rough.  The kids would have preferred we sleep in, but that wasn't an option.

Bermuda is well-known for its pink sand beaches, but we didn't go to one of them this time.  Admittedly, we wanted to hit the "easy button" for today and decided to check out a nearby beach we could walk to.

Snorkel Beach

Snorkel Park is located within the Royal Naval Dockyard area, and it's your typical beach that you'll find near any cruise port. Unremarkable, but convenient.

If it were my only day in Bermuda, I would have never gone here, but this was just an excuse to be in the water and enjoy the beach.

It's about a 10 minute walk from the ship, and then there's an admission fee to get in.  Two chairs and umbrella are $75. Food and drink are extra, although they have an all-inclusive option if you prefer.

Snorkel beach chairs

We found chairs and umbrellas, and then got into the ocean for a brisk swim. It felt good to cool off, but the sand here was not nearly as soft or impressive as Horseshoe Bay would have been.

Nonetheless, we enjoyed some time taking it easy at the beach. 

Frog Onion pub

After the beach, we stopped at the Frog and Onion Pub.  It's inside the Royal Naval Dockyard too, and also has a British pub vibe to it.

When you're in the same port two days in a row, I think it makes sense to take things easy rather than push yourself to see every little thing.  We certainly didn't see all Bermuda has to offer, but we had a great time nonetheless.

Bermuda wowed us

Bermuda Naval Dockyard

I enjoyed our visit to Bermuda much more than I expected, and I would love to come back again soon.

While Mexico is less expensive, and The Bahamas are a lot more convenient, I think Bermuda has great natural beauty to it and a populace that felt very welcoming.

Bermuda beach

Being on the water made a difference, and I liked the combination of comfortable temperatures along with beautiful sights.

On my next trip to Bermuda, I'd love to look at a longer catamaran ride.  And I might leave the kids on the ship if my wife and I wanted to explore Hamilton or St. George's. I doubt they'd mind sleeping in.

Like any port of call, it behooves you to plan ahead.  Researching the various things you can do makes taking advantage of an overnight cruise stop so much better. With so much time in port, you'll want to get more out of it all.


Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost expert on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

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