BERMUDA Cruise ship as hotel
Some of the finest hotels in Bermuda are not on the beaches or hills of this delightful island. They're anchored, for several days each week, along Front Street, in the heart of the capital city, Hamilton. These are the luxury ships that call at the island every week, from early spring until late fall bringing roughly 25 percent of al l visitors to Bermuda.Skip to next paragraph
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Recently, my wife and I took a one-week cruise on the Holland America Line's SS Volendam. It was our first trip to Bermuda, but it took only this one visit to understand why so many return time and time again. All in all, we spent about 3 1/2 days at sea and about the same amount of time in Bermuda. Thus we were able to enjoy shipboard life yet had ample time in port to explore the island.
On many other resort islands, once you leave the grounds of the tourist hotels and venture into town, you're apt to find things a bit rundown. Not so in BermudA. Hamilton is a sparkling clean, prosperous looking city of attractive, pastel-colored buildings and homes. You'll find that same just-washed look in St. George, Somerset, and the other towns on the island.
If you're a beach person, you'll be in your glory here. There are miles of lovely beaches, with sand as pink as they say and warm, clear water.
Getting from your floating hotel to the beaches, or anywhere else in Bermuda, is easy. We found no need to join any of the shore excursions available to the ship's passengers at extra cost. You can get around the island by cab, bus, moped, or bicycle. Rental cars are not available. Mopeds seem to be the favorite form of transportation. They can be rented for about $7 a day, even less if you take one for three days. However, unless you're familiar with these motorized bikes, it's best to consider some other means of moving about. The roads sometimes seem alive with them.
We chose the buses, and it proved to be an excellent choice. They're frequent, inexpensive, and leave for just about every place from a main terminal just a short walk from the ships at Front Street. Invariably, the drivers were pleasant and helpful. One-way fares range from 55 cents to a maximum of 85 cents. If you don't have Bermudan currency, that's OK. US and Canadian money is accepted, but exact change is expected.
We arrived in Bermuda on a Tuesday morning at 7, having left New York the Sunday before at 4 p.m. Since the Volendam is the only New York-to-Bermuda cruise ship with a Sunday departure, it has a reputation of being a great favorite with honeymooners. My wife and I, a long way from newlyweds, had some misgivings. But we found there were only 84 honeymoon couples among nearly 700 passengers, so we did not feel as though we were attending a long wedding reception.
On the first day in port we wandered around Hamilton doing a bit of window shopping. We returned to the ship for lunch and a swim in the pool. Later, relaxed, refreshed, and well fed, we set out again on a leisurely, unplanned walking tour of the town. Strolling along Front Street, we admired the ships from a dockside park; visited the Anglican cathedral; took photographs of the city hall; and my wife examined Waterford crystal in one of the shops. By now it was time to start getting ready for dinner, always a festive occasion on board. Time to dress up, to enjoy elegant surroundings, attentive service, and most of all the parade of good things that emerges from the kitchen.