We stopped in Bermuda overnight on a Royal Caribbean cruise docked at King’s Wharf. Prior to going on the cruise, I had some difficulty finding information on things to do with a baby or young toddler in Bermuda (hence, the reason for this post!) Despite being docked on National Heroes Day, which meant limited store hours and public transportation availability, we made the best of it and ended up having a blast with with our son, who was 13 months old at the time. Plus that short glimpse of the beautiful island during a cruise stop only made us want to go back for more in the future.
- 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
Most cruise ships dock in either in King’s Wharf by the Royal Dockyard in the northwest point of Bermuda (where we were) or Hamilton. Both locations have many things to do within walking distance, so if you’re weary of venturing too far with a baby there is plenty to see on the island just steps from the boat. If you want to venture out and aren’t traveling with a car seat, the safest options are to take a bus transfer through your cruise ship or take public transportation via bus or ferry. There’s a ferry that runs directly from King’s Wharf to Hamilton and St. Georges, and many other parts of the island can be reached by connecting in one of those two cities first. Bermuda also has a great bus system, and both taxis and vans can 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
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, and I realized that a beach with rental chairs and umbrellas, drinks and public bathrooms were a necessity with a baby when you’re not staying right next to the beach. I was so glad we went that route, not just for the convenience factor, but also since 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 also a “kiddy beach” which is a small cove with pools of water that’s safe for small children to play in. Tip: 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.
Snorkel Park Beach– If your cruise ship is docked at King’s Wharf and you’re looking for a quick and convenient option, Snorkel Park Beach is in walking distance from the cruise ships. It has any amenities you would need including a restaurant, bathrooms, chair rentals, etc, but there is a small fee of $5 to enter the beach. Keep in mind this is not one of the pink sand beaches Bermuda is known for, but it’s super convenient if you want some beach time without having to take a half day to go to the beaches on the southern coast of Bermuda. Tip: If you’re looking for more information on the many beaches Bermuda has to offer, www.gotobermuda.com is a great resource with an interactive map showing the main beaches on the island.
Visit Hamilton- 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.
Glass Bottom Boat Cruise– Most of the excursions Will 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. Tip: 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 until it eventually closed down as an active naval base and was refurbished as a center for tourism. There are a number of things available for families including 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, but I was so glad we had a chance to see this unique area with a historic past.
Where to Eat
Being on a cruise ship with great food (thank you, Grandeur of the Seas!) 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.
Hog Penny Pub- 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. I had the Whale of Wheat Fish and Chips made with yummy, freshly caught grouper and a locally brewed beer. Considering that I wasn’t in the United Kingdom, I’m going to make a bold statement and say that this was among the best fish and chips I’ve ever had, and it was totally worth the $25 price tag. They also had an amazing black bean veggie burger for Will, which was a great alternative to the kids menu for my little vegetarian. The casual atmosphere was also a perfect for us since we were coming right from the beach. Tip: TripAdvisor is my favorite resource for family friendly restaurant recommendations while traveling.
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 definitely recommend 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 Will, which in this case meant we likely would have snorkeled and driven mopeds around the island, I never felt like we were missing out. It was just a different kind of travel that we were getting used to and gradually loving more and more.
Know Before You Go:
- Check the National holidays in Bermuda here and be prepared that transportation and store hours could be extremely limited if your trip falls on a national holiday.
- 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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Photo Credit: Thanks to Will’s Uncle Patrick for some of the pictures featured here!