Bermuda: The Best Island Cruise Vacation
Cruise Ship Parked in Bermuda for the 20th
Baltimore Inner Harbor Departure
A Night in Baltimore
Our cruise was scheduled to leave from the Baltimore Harbor destined for Bermuda. We tried to find a ship leaving Philadelphia but the date and times of departure did not match our tentative schedule. When we booked the trip we knew that we had a long drive ahead of us as Baltimore is quite a distance (approximately 3 hours) away from our Pennsylvania home so we decided to drive down the day before and stay overnight Baltimore. We found a middle of the line hotel and rented a room for one night before boarding the ship the next day. Since we did not have to board the ship until 4:00pm in the afternoon, we decided to visit the Baltimore Harbor for some Maryland seafood and shopping. We had traveled to see the Baltimore Harbor one time earlier in 1994 but this time was much better. The harbor was completely re-done with brick walkways, the aquarium construction was now complete, the crabs were juicier and the beer was colder (OK the last two may be a slight miscalculation).
There are many things to do at the harbor and we even enjoyed sitting by the water and observing the scenery. If you want to take a short trip around the harbor, try a water taxi ride as it is cheap and fun. If you get there early enough you can spend the entire day with breakfast and morning coffee overlooking the harbor, a good lunch at Hard Rock Cafe, a water taxi ride on the harbor after lunch, early afternoon cocktails then a fantastic seafood dinner.
Royal Caribbean - Grandeur of the Seas
Royal Caribbean Cruise Agenda
It was a coin toss between going to Bermuda and taking a Caribbean cruise for our honeymoon but we elected the multi island cruise. Had we picked Bermuda we would have stayed at the Sonesta Beach resort located in Bermuda. Following our wedding we got on a plane and flew to Florida where we set sail on the Carnival Jubilee to the Bahamas (Paradise Island), Puerto Rico (San Juan) and St. Thomas (Megan's Bay). That was our first cruise and it was absolutely fantastic. Over the next twenty years we went to many weekend getaways, inside the United States, but no place (to date) will substitute the Royal Caribbean cruise we took from the Baltimore Harbor to Bermuda on the Grandeur of the Seas ship.
This hub will detail the delicious three day trip we took as we followed the Eastern Standard Time agenda below:
- Drive to Baltimore and stay overnight - Thursday
- Depart Baltimore Harbor - Friday at 4:00pm
- At Sea overnight
- Arrive Saturday morning at Kings Wharf, Bermuda - at 10:00am
- Depart Kings Wharf, Bermuda - Sunday at 4:00pm
- At Sea overnight
- Arrive Monday morning Baltimore Harbor - at 7:00am
- Drive to Pennsylvania home - Monday
A Day at Sea and Arriving in Bermuda
If it is true that our destinations are already determined and the journey is not, then I absolutely agree because the journey we had was one of the most unforgettable experiences I have had to date. We boarded the ship on time (registering ahead turned out to be a real efficiency and a great time saver) and prepared to sail. As we left the Baltimore Harbor, with drinks in our hand, we went to the front of the ship in anticipation of the journey ahead. As we gazed at the water and ate our snack (even on the departure there was food everywhere you turn) we did not realize that is was close to sunset. So we decided to take a leisure stroll to the back of the boat where we took some pictures (the second shot above is what we saw). We could not believe our sites as we gazed into the horizon for several minutes. The path, left by the ship, nearly heads directly into the sunset.
The next morning when we awoke we took a glance outside and stepped out on the balcony. We were not even awake yet and the coffee had not yet arrived but we managed to snap the sunrise for the third picture above. After several minutes of water gazing we went back to our room and had some breakfast. We wanted to go swimming so we got changed and spent the day on the pool deck where we discussed what to eat for dinner. By the time we had a pool side lunch and a dip in the pool it was nearly dinner time. We took our showers and headed to the main dining room for dinner. We ate our fresh seafood dinner at the early seating, ate our unnecessary after dinner snack and then fell asleep to prepare for a long day in Bermuda. We envisioned sleeping in and ordering room service around 8:30am but we were too excited so we got up early and took our daily walk on the track located on the top deck. When we came back from breakfast, still full from the day before, we were approaching Kings Wharf in Bermuda (shown by the last picture above).
The First Day in Bermuda
In Bermuda - Day 1
We knew that we had about a day and a half in Bermuda so we decided to do the unthinkable - plan our next 32 hours (I very rarely plan while on vacation but this was an exception). We decided that we wanted a beach day and we wanted to eat at a local restaurant and we wanted to shop. All this had to fit between the 10:00am docking, our first adventure (we booked a swim with the Dolphins) and leaving the port the next day at 4:00pm.
BONE FISH (his choice)
So we packed our backpack and headed off the ship onto the island. By this time it was about 11:00am and I was getting hungry for lunch. We had about two hours until the 1:00pm Dolphin swim so we headed to a nearby restaurant called Bone Fish. Bone Fish was an excellent first island meal as I had a nice cold Bass on draft with a Cajun chicken sandwich. The first picture above was taken as we made our way to the restaurant from the ship. On our walk towards the local restaurant we saw a pink bus directly in front of us and an English style red telephone booth off to the right.
Following lunch we walked down the street to the place we reserved for the Dolphin swim. All the planning was worth it as we waited our turn to get into the water and swim. This was an amazing experience and the Dolphins were just as playful as a toddler. The Dolphin surface was smooth, the sun was hot and the water was warm. Neither one of us wanted to get out of the water but we knew there was still much ground to cover. I could not imagine why I had a sudden craving for a seafood dinner but it was not Dolphin.
Returning from the Dolphin swim, at approximately 2:30pm, we decided to head over to the Clock Tower shopping center (the same clock tower visible from the dock and pictured third above). This is a great place to pick up anything you desire and it was located in a short walk from the ship. As we shopped in the clock tower mall (it is bigger than it looks) we picked all the things that we wanted to remember Bermuda by (coffee mugs, jars of hot sauce, tee-shirts and hats). By the time we were done shopping, I was hungry again so we headed back to the ship for our early scheduled dinner at 4:00pm.
The Second Day In Bermuda
In Bermuda - Day 2
As we prepared for our second day in Bermuda we enjoyed the dinner and many events that ship had to offer (including the coffee shop, ice cream place, shopping and the pool). We read about the Bermuda beaches and argued (I mean discussed) on which beach to go to the following day. We settled on something nearby so we would not be rushed to board the ship in the early afternoon. We headed off the ship and walked past the Bone Fish and past the Dolphin swim and saw a huge brick wall with a sign that read Snorkel Park.
As we approached Snorkel Park we were treated to a huge fountain which sprinkled us as we walked by the sign and through the entrance into Snorkel Beach. The first thing we saw was a small beach bar and grill which served all the basics (chicken fingers, french fries, hamburgers, hot dogs). Then we approached a stage with speakers about 25 feet tall. I wondered how a beach concert would sound as we walked by the stage searching for an area to settle. This is where it gets a bit tricky because my wife likes the sun and I do not like excessive heat. We found a place with sun and shade near the Snorkel Beach wall. My wife took the second picture above (I sometimes use this picture as my avatar) as I settled on my blanket in the shade. When it came time to leave this beautiful beach we headed back to the ship (it must have been about 11:30pm) and guess what? I was getting hungry so we headed back to a place we passed on our way to Snorkel Park. This place was called Frog and Onion (shown in the third picture above). I said "There is no way I am eating at a place called Frog and Onion". So we went inside and ate lunch on their patio outside :)
FROG and ONION (her choice)
The menu describes the story of the how this place became Frog and Onion (that could be a hub by itself). The two things that I remember about this place is that they brewed their own beer and it was attached to a really cool shop. The shop did not have the typical items for sale, it sold items more consistent with the Bermuda culture. The turkey sandwich, however, was good and I passed on the ice cold beer for a diet soda.
Bermuda Island Departure
Last Port of Call
While Bermuda was not our first cruise, It certainly was the best. I do not think there would be any hesitation on taking this same trip again. The only questions are how many days to go and how long can I stay away from Facebook, Google, HubPages and StumbleUpon before I start twitching. You should know that the ship we stayed on had a room for Internet connectivity (for a small charge) and it was very tempting to do the daily social media thing but I did resist.
If you are considering a cruise than this is the cruise line that I recommend for the food, the fun, the shops, the sun and most importantly the service. We were able to get up early each morning to watch the sunrise and take a morning walk around the track located on the top deck. There were many shops, many sources of entertainment (three pools, two kid hangouts and one cigar lounge) and many places to hide.
This was the best trip we ever took for several reasons - We had planned early, we had no worries, were were not rushed, we did not have to wait for anything, the weather was great, the cruise staff was exceptional and I did not have to follow up on anything (we even walked through customs without a delay).
Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy your next trip like we enjoyed this one.
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© 2012 mts1098