Cruising to Bermuda – Best Things to do and See in 3 days
After cruising to Bermuda several times, I’ve put together a Bermuda Cruise Guide along with a list of the several must-see Bermuda attractions.
I hope that this will help you as you plan for your favorite things to do in Bermuda while you arrive by cruise; whether you are looking for family-friendly activities, beach excursions or something off the beaten path.
You may also enjoy our Bermuda video tours on YouTube, which are also included below.
Why cruise to Bermuda?
Bermuda has become a very popular cruise destination for numerous reasons.
1. It has convenient 5-7 day cruise itineraries leaving from New York, New Jersey, Boston and Baltimore.
Many Americans and Canadians love to drive to their port rather than fly, and a Bermuda cruise offers this option for those living in the North East.
2.The itinerary is fantastic! Bermuda cruises offer 2-3 full days to visit Bermuda.
What an incredible opportunity for cruisers to really explore a destination and see many Bermuda attractions! After all, on which cruise can you spend 2-3 days exploring an island?
And yes, there is that much to see and do in Bermuda. You may as well book your next cruise on board as you will be back :-)!
3. Well, it’s Bermuda!
Bermuda beaches really do have blush pink sand and the sea glistens against the unique rock formations under the Bermudan sun.
However, there’s more – and you will feel it and see it in Bermuda.
Which cruise lines go to Bermuda?
Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival all have regular cruises to Bermuda. Luxury lines like Azamara Club Cruises and Regent Seven Seas have some sailings that include Bermuda as well.
Where do cruise ships dock?
Most ships now dock in King’s Wharf or Heritage Wharf, also known as the Royal Navy Dockyard, or just Dockyard. This is a great location that serves as a home base close to many gorgeous beaches just a few minutes away by small shuttle or local pink bus (I love it!).
The parishes of Hamilton and St. George are easily accessible by safe and comfortable ferries and buses.
How to get around in Bermuda
One of the great things about cruising to Bermuda, is that it’s easy and safe to get around.
You can take the public bus (and they are cute and pink), or a ferry to get around the island. If you like, you can even purchase 1, 2 or 3 day passes.
You can get this, along with maps and some helpful advice and directions, at the visitor’s center in Dockyard, steps away from your cruise ship.
There are also van style shuttles which will take you to local beaches and taxis available as well.
Suggestions for cruisers when planning your Bermuda itinerary
Remember that your ship will be in port the first night or two (depending on your itinerary), so plan the last day for activities that are closer to the ship.
Visit the small tourist booth right at the dock for maps and other local information that can help you with your travel planning once there.
You can also find information ahead of time from Bermuda Tourism.
Can you use US dollars in Bermuda?
Bermuda Cruise Tip: Note that the Bermudian dollar is 1 to 1 with the US dollar and US dollars are taken happily.
16 Must-See Attractions When Visiting Bermuda on a Cruise
I will point out a few popular Bermuda Must-Sees/Must-Dos, including some things you will only find in Bermuda!
While you can see more, this is really some of the best of Bermuda and about all you’ll have time for in 2-3 days. You can tailor this itinerary to your interests, as well as to your travel personality.
I will let you know my cruise travel philosophy that has served me well. I research and plan for a couple things that I know we will really want to do. However, I leave a little time unscheduled for the unexpected nice surprises that we might find once we are in a port.
I’ve found in this way, we are really present and come back from our holiday with meaningful and warm memories. If I have too many “must-do’s”, I feel like we go through our vacation in a frenzy, as if we are on a fast-paced scavenger hunt.
Please tailor this Bermuda Cruise Guide to your interests and pick a few attractions to focus on
Like me, you can always return :-).
1. Horseshoe Bay Beach
Arguably the most famous beach in Bermuda, Horseshoe Bay Beach is about 15 minutes from the port by van type shuttle.
You can also get there by local (pink) bus, however at 7$ a person from port right down to the beach, the shuttle is just so convenient. While there are other beaches nearby, including Warwick and Church Bay which you may also want to visit, you simply must see Horseshoe Bay!
Do not let the crowds scare you off – walk all the way past the crowds to the left. Continue past the first couple rock formations and it is Heaven!
If you have young children check out Baby Beach immediately to the right. The rock formations insulate the cove area from rougher seas at the main beach and provides for great viewing of many fish and crabs!
Rum Bum Beach Bar and Beach House Restaurant
While you’re at Horseshoe Bay Beach, you can grab a bite to eat at the on-site take out restaurant along with a pretty good Rum Swizzle from the Beach Bar. While not inexpensive at about 10$ a drink, they’re quite good!
More info on Horseshoe Bay Beach and how to get there HERE
Bermuda’s Local Culture – Hamilton
2. Hamilton Harbour Nights
If you are in Bermuda on a Wednesday, do check out Hamilton’s Harbour Nights Festival. It is a nice street fair with local vendors of handicrafts and street food.
You will also get to see a parade of local Gombey Dancers in traditional costumes. This is truly one of my all-time favorite Bermuda attractions – and I know you won’t find this anywhere else!
How to get to Hamilton from the cruise port (Dockyard)
You simply take the 25 minute ferry ride from the ship dock to Hamilton. I suggest going a bit early as the ferry line does get long and it will be crowded. The ferry is 5$ per person each way, however depending on what you are planning during your visit to Bermuda, it may be worth buying a multi day pass for the ferry and bus.
If you head into town a couple hours before, you can visit some of the Government buildings and beautiful churches and perhaps do a bit of shopping.
Want to know what we do? There’s a department store called Marks & Spencers that has a little food section in the back (imported from the UK). We buy some shortbread and jam cookies and these delicious striped mint candies called Humbugs and bring them back as souvenirs. We love ’em!
Things to do in Bermuda with kids
3. Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo (BAMZ)
If you are looking for things to do in Bermuda with kids, this Aquarium, Zoo and Museum is a favorite for families. The super large aquarium is the main attraction, and is a living replica of Bermuda’s coral reef – so you’ll see a wide variety of Bermuda marine life here. You’ll see outdoor pools with seals and turtles as well.
Once you see the aquarium, visit the small zoo and interesting museum. Do check their website for opening hours and tour times.
4. Crystal Caves and Fantasy Caves
In the parish of Hamilton, you will find the famous natural beauty of the Crystal Caves. This unique cave, home to underground shimmering stalactites set over a clear ocean fed lake is a sight you won’t soon forget!
You’ll be intrigued to know that Mark Twain himself was the first tourist to visit!
**UPDATE – We finally made it to Crystal Caves during our last Bermuda cruise on the Celebrity Summit.
It was very worth it and a great day!!
If you’re thinking of going, I put together a detailed review of our day, as well as a helpful guide to how to get to Crystal Caves on your own. It’s a real money-saver!
Bermuda’s National Drink – the Rum Swizzle
Bermuda is known for 2 drinks, the Rum Swizzle and the Dark and Stormy, both made with Goslings Rum. I’ve had both, but the Rum Swizzle is one of my all time favorites an I now even make a version at home.
You’ll find Rum Swizzles at quite a few bars and restaurants in Bermuda, however the OG is the is the Swizzle Inn.
5. The Swizzle Inn
This well known pub and restaurant is home to the original Rum Swizzle. If you’re planning a day, consider coming here for a casual lunch or dinner after visiting Crystal Caves or another sight. Rum Swizzles can be pretty addictive (only in the best way) – consider getting a pitcher and sharing.
The Swizzle Inn expanded and now has 2 locations – the most recent in the Western part of the island in Warwick (near Elbow Beach). It has the same nice pub style menu, relaxed patio environment and of course, their famous Rum Swizzle.
**UPDATE – We made it to Swizzle Inn and the food and drinks were great! Plus, that atmosphere…
Let me be the first to say that eating at Swizzle Inn was not cheap, however at about $20 a person it wasn’t super expensive either. Plus, if you visit on your own, you’ll be saving a lot over using a cruise ship excursion.
Tip – You may want to visit the shop and bring home a Swizzle Inn t-shirt as a souvenir.
Follow along in our YouTube video (below) as we head over to Crystal Caves, Swizzle Inn and Hamilton by ferry and bus.
Sightseeing in Bermuda – Southhampton Parish
6. Gibb’s Lighthouse
Located about 30 minutes away from the cruise port, accessible by bus or taxi, Gibb’s Lighthouse is a phenomenal spot to get a great bird’s eye view of western Bermuda and the cruise ship port.
There’s even a restaurant where you can enjoy afternoon tea. If you are a lover of Maritime History and British history, be sure to put this on your list of things to do while in Bermuda.
Sightseeing in Bermuda – Parish of St. George
7. Parish of St. George Historical Reenactment
St. George is about 45 minutes away from by ferry. It is a truly gorgeous ride, so well worth the trip!
St. George is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and this is a good place to do a walking tour. You’ll find historical landmarks and museums, including the Tucker House Museum, The Unfinished Church and Fort-St. Catherine.
What is the Must-Do?
This town is quaint and slow paced and has some interesting sites to see, plus one of the quirkiest things you will see anywhere! The Ducking Stool in the town center, King’s Square.
St. George has 18th century historical re-enactments in King’s Square which include a Town Crier and “The Dunking of the Nagging Wench”.
Now, I bring my sense of humor when I travel and we just thought this was totally different.
Local actors participate and school children come watch. They just really have a fun time and involve the “audience” in the show. It is usually on Thursday’s at 12:30, however please check for the current schedule.
Things to do near the cruise ship in Bermuda – Royal Naval Dockyard/King’s Wharf
Bermuda Cruise Tip
The Dockyard area near the cruise ship has quite a lot to do and see, however do plan your Bermuda itinerary carefully.
It may surprise you to know that even with 2 and 3 days in port, every year there are cruise passengers who miss the ship, as don’t return to the ship on time.
As a suggestion, use your first day or two to visit places further from the port and do excursions on your own. Your last day and evenings could be spent closer to the ship in the dockyard area.
Just note that the last day in Bermuda is always busier around the cruise port/Dockyard area.
Royal Navy Dockyard – Cruise Port Area
The Dockyard has quite a few activities to do and places to visit, all within a short distance of your cruise ship, so it’s well worth exploring and taking time to visit.
There’s even a free trolley if your feet are just a little tired from exploring Bermuda’s beaches and other attractions.
You’ll find really pretty shops with Bermuda crafts and souvenirs, well as some nice, casual restaurants and pubs. There are museums, a beach area and several types of activities!
Since there’s so much to see, we toured Royal Naval Dockyard and created this video below (where you’ll see some of our favorite things!)
8. Snorkel Park Beach
This man-made beach is literally a 5 minute walk from the cruise ship dock. It’s a very calm small beach to visit if you have young children as well as if you’re looking for a beach day on the last day of your cruise. At 5$ to enter, its a great deal for nice, fun beach day.
They have snorkel gear that you can rent, or you can bring your own. Kayaks and other water sports equipment is available for rent.
9. Dolphin Quest
Right next to Snorkel Park, you’ll find Dolphin Quest. If you or your children have dreamed of swimming with dolphins and learning about them, this is offered within walking distance of the ship. Booking ahead is suggested.
10. National Museum of Bermuda
If you or your children enjoy learning about Bermuda’s History as well as seeing artifacts from sunken treasures, this is a great way to spend a few hours. There is also a play area for young children. The museum located in the Keep, Royal Naval Dockyard is free for children 16 and under and does have a charge for adults. Check their website for opening hours and rates.
11. Local shopping – Clock-tower Mall and boutiques in Dockyard
The Clock-tower Mall, which is visible in many of the the pictures you’ll see of the Bermuda Cruise Port, is filled with little shops. If you want to bring back some Bermuda perfume, some artist’s paintings or prints, handmade jewelry and other crafts, this is the place to find it.
Other shops in Dockyard include a rum cake shop and the glass blowing shop where they demonstrate their work. Some great clothing stores feature nautical themed clothing and made in Bermuda jewelry, candles and other collectibles.
*Many of the shops and some local artists and shopkeepers are featured in this Bermuda Dockyard video on YouTube.
Bermuda treats to eat or bring back home
My favorite souvenirs to bring home usually include some local treats. You can find some good options right in dockyard, close to your cruise ship.
Some ideas include bringing back some rum cakes from the Bermuda Rum Cake Company or some locally made fudge from the Bermuda Fudge Company.
12. Bermudas’s Moongate in Dockyard
This is something really unique to Bermuda. Bermuda has several Moongates located around the island. Lucky for us cruisers, there is one right in Dockyard fairly close to the cruise ships.
Legend has it that if couples walk through the Moongate together, they’ll be blessed with a long and happy life together.
My husband and I first walked through this Moongate in 2008 during our first visit to Bermuda by cruise. Since then we’ve gone through it each and every time we’ve returned.
I’ve come to realize that this Moongate is part of many people’s Bermuda stories, from anniversaries, to engagements to just being together and stopping for a moment to create a vacation memory.
Let it become one of yours – find the Moongate (and take a photo).
Bermuda Shore Excursions
It’s been said that Bermuda is best seen from the water. There are some great excursions including catamaran snorkeling, wave runners, glass bottom boats and more.
While you certainly don’t have to book and excursion, as there is plenty to do and see on your own, there is value to a local excursion. You can book these with your cruise ship, or directly with a local tour operator.
It can be a good idea to book online before you go as excursions are popular and can sell out.
13. Snorkeling and boat excursions
I quite like catamaran and boat excursions as for me it is the right amount of “organization”, local information from the tour operator or guide, and activity to make it an enjoyable part of our visit.
The last couple of years we’ve had great excursions with Rising Son Tours. We’ve appreciated the gorgeous catamarans, friendly and informative crew, and rum swizzles of course!
We were provided with noodles, paddle-boards and had an overall great time floating in the crystal clear waters.
If you’re not fond of getting into the water, consider a romantic Champagne Catamaran excursion at sunset or a boat tour of some of the beautiful and famous homes of Bermuda.
Here’s my review, so you can see what is offered and what to expect: Bermuda Rising Son Cruises Catamaran Snorkeling Review
Golf in Bermuda
14. Port Royal Golf Course
Bermuda has some of the most beautiful and highly rated golf courses in the world, so if you are a golfer, put this on your wish list. Port Royal Golf Course in Southampton is the closest golf course to the ship and is easily accessible by bus or cab. Golf clubs, shoes and carts are all available to rent. However, if you are cruising to Bermuda it is very easy to bring your own golf clubs on board.
Off the Beaten Path Bermuda
15. Tom Moore’s Jungle/Blue Hole Park
If you are looking for something different that is not often on the cruiser’s radar, make your way to Tom Moore’s Jungle in the parish of Hamilton. This nature reserve has wooded paths, mangroves, caves and grottos, including well known Blue Grotto. You’ll see a variety of birds and fish as well.
There’s always an interesting story in Bermuda: this nature reserve is named after Irish poet Tom Moore, who wrote poetry under a calabash tree in this reserve in 1844. The famous tree was destroyed in a hurricane several years ago, however its branches have begun to grow again.
Dining in Bermuda
16. Local Eats that are accessible for cruisers
Keep in mind that Bermuda is a bit on the expensive side, as almost everything is imported from the US or Britain. Since you are cruising, try to plan your day so that you can take advantage of eating some meals on the ship and then going back out again.
However, you will definitely want to try some of the local spots at least a couple of times during your cruise. Why not check out some of the most popular pubs for both locals and tourists such as the Hog Penny Pub or Flanagan’s Irish Pub in Hamilton? If you want to grab a bite close to the ship a great spot is The Frog and Onion Pub.
A little place quite close to the cruise port that is distinctively “local”, is Woody’s. It’s only about 5 minutes away by cab. I’ve unfortunately not eaten there yet, however I hear from the locals that they make a fabulous fish sandwich!
If you’ve been to Bermuda and know other great spots I should add to my list, please let me know!
Bermuda resource update
I recently found a great Facebook group where you can get some fabulous local Bermuda information. While Bermuda Bound is not a group focused on cruisers, so beware of that if you join, I think it’s a very helpful resource for those of us visiting for a few days.
Super helpful websites as you’re planning:
Recap: 16 Best Things to do in Bermuda for Cruisers
I hope that this Bermuda cruise guide can help you enjoy Bermuda as much as I have!
Although Bermuda is a small island, remember to build a little itinerary so that you plan things that are in the same area. Divide up your must-see Bermuda attractions into your 2-3 days. Whatever is left, just means you must return :-).
- Want to hear more about Bermuda? Check this Podcast episode with my interview all about Bermuda by Cruise with Guys Telling Stories .
- Heading to Horseshoe Bay Beach? Read this detailed guide to Horsehoe Bay Beach (for cruisers)
- Planning a catamaran excursion? Read my detailed review Rising Son Catamaran Snorkeling Excursion
- Planning to see Crystal Caves? Read my review with detailed directions How to get from Dockyard to Crystal Caves (and review)
Have you been to Bermuda and have a recommendation? Please let me know your comments and feel free to ask me any questions that can help with your planning.
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