We stopped in Bermuda overnight on a Royal Caribbean cruise docked at King’s Wharf. Between the beaches, boats and scenery, there’s so much to do in Bermuda for everyone from babies to adults. If you only have a short time in Bermuda, it can be hard to know where to start. This guide should help you navigate and plan for 24 hours in Bermuda with kids (or without!) And if you’re anything like us, just one glimpse of the beautiful island during a cruise stop will only make you want to come back for more.
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Itinerary for a Cruise Stop in Bermuda
- Day 1
- Arrived at King’s Wharf at 1:00pm
- Afternoon at Horseshoe Bay Beach
- Dinner & shopping in Hamilton
- Day 2
- Glass Bottom Boat Cruise at 10:30am from Royal Dockyard (family members did a snorkeling excursion on a catamaran that would be great for older kids)
- Sightseeing around Royal Dockyard
- Cruise ship departed at 2:30pm
Getting Around Bermuda
Most cruise ships dock in either in King’s Wharf by the Royal Dockyard in the northwest point of Bermuda or Hamilton. Both locations have many things to do within walking distance, which is great for families with young children who may not want to venture off too far.
If you want to see the island, there are several options including buses, ferries and taxis. (The buses and ferries in particular are a great option if you have a baby and aren’t traveling with a car seat.) We were docked in King’s Wharf, and there’s a ferry that runs directly from King’s Wharf to Hamilton and St. Georges. Other parts of the island can easily be reached by connecting in one of those two cities first. Both taxis and vans can also be easily accessed right outside the cruise ship. Tip: I found the Bermuda Attractions site to be the most helpful to get up to speed on public transportation options prior to our trip.
What to Do in Bermuda
Horseshoe Bay Beach
It’s not a trip to Bermuda without seeing at least one of the many beautiful beaches. Prior to our trip, we did a lot of research, wanting to make sure we had a chance to see one of the pink sand beaches Bermuda is known for. I was originally hesitant about going to Horseshoe Bay, not wanting to go the overly touristy and crowded option. Logic got the best of me though. I quickly realized that a beach with rental chairs and umbrellas, drinks and public bathrooms were a necessity with a baby. I was so glad we went that route. Horseshoe Bay was beautiful and unlike any other beach I’ve seen before. It was also right next to a few coves, so we were able to walk over there from our spot to get a different view without having to climb over rocks with a baby to do it. There’s even a “kiddy beach” which is a small cove with pools of water that’s safe for small children to play in.
Note: It’s super crowded near the entrance to the beach, but if you walk toward the middle of the beach there’s a lot more space. There are also changing rooms, a changing table for the baby, and showers where the bathrooms are located, as well as an outdoor shower that we used to hose the sand off our little guy. This was perfect for us to be able to venture onto Hamilton after and maximize our time on the island.
If your cruise ship is docked at King’s Wharf and you’re looking for a quick and convenient option, look no further than Snorkel Park Beach. While this is not a pink sand beach, it’s in walking distance from the cruise ships. It has any amenities you would need including a restaurant, bathrooms, chair rentals, etc. There is a small fee to enter the beach, however, and it was $5 as of 2018. While not as beautiful as Horshoe Bay, it’s super convenient if you want some beach time without taking a big chunk of your day. Go To Bermuda is a great resource with an interactive map showing the main beaches on the island.
Hamilton is the capital of Bermuda and has many colorful buildings along the water that most people associate with Bermuda. Hamilton is known for its shopping, and although any type of shopping with a baby can be a wild card, it’s a scenic walk around town along the water and easy to get around with a stroller. We were limited in our shopping on this trip given that most stores were closed for the holiday. Instead, we just enjoyed the scenery and went home with our pockets a little fuller. Check out this guide for more tips on shopping in Bermuda.
Most of the excursions our son could take at 13 months old were boat rides of some sort. A glass bottom boat cruise was recommended by a friend and was the perfect way to see the island, learn about the history of Bermuda and view the marine life up close. (Plus it was free for kids under 2!) It was 1.5 hours, which was the perfect amount of time to keep our son’s attention, and I was surprised to walk away with way more knowledge about coral than I ever planned to gain. It was also nice that the boat had an upper and lower floor so we could walk him upstairs or down when Will got a little restless and we didn’t want to disrupt the tour for others. The boat departed steps away from the cruise ship, so we could just walk over there with a stroller, but keep in mind most of the smaller tour boats will make you leave your stroller on the dock since there’s limited space on board.
Booking an excursion on a cruise?
If you’re traveling to Bermuda via cruise ship, the excursions offered through the cruise will typically indicate a minimum age and/or height/weight required, which is a good place to start to get a sense of what’s available for a baby to join you. You can also book excursions through companies like Viator directly, but keep in mind they will not be coordinated through the cruise ship if there are delays or cancellations with your excursion.
If you have kids that are a little older, Bermuda is also known for its snorkeling, which is a great alternative to a glass bottom cruise if you want to get right in the water. While we were on the Glass Bottom Boat Cruise with Will, our family members did a snorkeling excursion on a catamaran that also picked them up in the Royal Naval Dockyard.
Royal Naval Dockyard
The Royal Naval Dockyard was historically the Western Atlantic base of the British Royal Navy for years. It eventually closed down as an active naval base and was refurbished as a center for tourism. There are a number of things available at the Royal Navy Dockyard for families. Attractions include restaurants, shopping and the Fun Golf miniature golf course, featuring holes from some of the best golf courses in the world. There are also several boats, excursions and public transportation options that can be accessed here. Additionally, there’s a free train available in the summer that stops throughout the dockyard, which is a perfect little ride for kids or family members that want to see the dockyard without having to walk the entire time. I was honestly a little weary of docking at King’s Wharf by the Royal Naval Dockyard versus Hamilton. I was so glad we had a chance to see this unique area, though, with a historic past.
Where to Eat in Bermuda
Being on a cruise ship with great food, we ate most of our meals on the ship while in Bermuda. So I won’t profess to be an expert on the Bermuda food scene. Keep in mind that anywhere you eat on the small island is going to be fairly expensive, given that many things have to be shipped to the island.
We had a chance to check out this little pub for dinner and were thankful that it was still open on the holiday, given the good reviews. With Bermuda being a British overseas territory, we opted for a family friendly pub versus one of the many high end seafood restaurants available. It was a little dark inside and felt nothing like sunny and colorful Bermuda, but if you’re looking for a British pub that’s exactly what you’ll get. The Whale of Wheat Fish and Chips with grouper was yummy and definitely rivaled that of England. The casual atmosphere was also a perfect for us since we were coming right from the beach.
Ice Cream in Bermuda
It’s also been somewhat of a tradition for my husband and I to look for a local ice cream shop whenever we go somewhere new, and thankfully our son feels the same way about that creamy deliciousness (which ironically, started on this trip.) We treated ourselves to Alex & Pete’s Bermuda Artisan Ice Cream right in the Royal Dockyard. The prices were a little steep (this is hand crafted ice cream in Bermuda after all) but the unique ice cream flavors were definitely worth it.
Staying in Bermuda for at Least 2 Nights?
If you have a 2 night cruise stop or are staying in on the island for multiple days, I would suggest looking into a half day excursion to visit the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo. We talked to several people who loved it. And if we go back to Bermuda with Will it would be at the top of my list. Most cruise ships offer an excursion that will bring you to the aquarium and zoo via a boat tour that you can board near your cruise ship, or you can take transportation there directly. I also would have loved to get out to St. George’s on the eastern part of the island to take in more of the history and culture of Bermuda.
We may have only had 24 hours on this beautiful island, but I felt that we packed it with the perfect amount of sightseeing to get a good taste of the island without leaving there exhausted. I also realized that while we may have done things a little differently without our son, we didn’t feel like we were missing out. (Those mopeds and snoring can wait for next time!) It was just a different kind of travel that we were getting used to and gradually loving more and more.
Know Before You Go:
- Be prepared that transportation and store hours could be extremely limited if your trip falls on a national holiday. (This happened to us!) Check the National holidays in Bermuda here.
- Bermuda is essentially off the cost of North Carolina, so the weather does get cool in the late fall to early spring. Definitely something to keep in mind if you’re considering a one of those discounted Bermuda cruises in the Fall.
- See my post on 10 Tips for Cruising with a Baby or Toddler for more tips if you’re getting to Bermuda via cruise ship with little kids.
Will’s Trip Stats: Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas/ Bermuda/ June 2018/ 13 Months Old
Children’s Book Inspiration: Over in an Ocean: In a Coral Reef by Marianne Berks
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