By paul motter
2010 offers Bermuda cruises leaving from Boston, New Jersey, Baltimore and Norfolk, Virginia from April through October. It is a summer destination because Bermuda is not in the Caribbean. It is a lone island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, about 650 miles due east of North Carolina and over 1000 miles northeast of Miami, lending a completely different climate from the Caribbean.
The best season for Bermuda is late May through September when temperatures stay between 75 and 85-degrees, but even in January the temperature is typically in the 70s. This is perfect weather for the one activity most closely associated with Bermuda; golf. There are seven championship courses on this 20-square mile island; all of them open year round.
Bermuda is 20 square miles, but long and thin with 75 miles of coastline. There are several beaches, some boasting pink sand made from the prevalent coral islands dotting the coastline. Let's take a look at some of the ships visiting Bermuda in 2010:
The cruise season begins in April with Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas sailing from Cape Liberty, New Jersey. The ship sails alternating five and nine-day itineraries, the five day cruise spends a day at sea, two days at King's Wharf, Bermuda and then a day at sea to return to New Jersey. The nine-day cruise spends a day at sea before two days at King's Wharf. After a day at sea you reach Nassau, Bahamas, followed by a day at Coco Cay (Royal Caribbean's private island) before the ship spends two days at sea to return to NY City. We recommend the five-day cruise unless you are just looking to spend time at at sea. If you want a nine-day itinerary see the Princess cruise described below.
Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas sails on five-night cruises from Baltimore, May through November. The ship has a day at sea, two nights in King's Wharf and a day at sea to return. Comparing the two ships we highly recommend Explorer - one of the Voyager-class mega-ships with plenty of onboard attractions with appeal to all ages; a large Royal Promenade, rock climbing, inline skating, mini-golf, a huge video arcade and an ice-rink with great shows by professional skaters. Enchantment is a much smaller ship with fewer dining and entertainment options.
Carnival has just one cruise to Bermuda this year on Carnival Miracle sailing from New York on April 15. This six-day cruise spends a day at sea, three days at King's Wharf and then a day at sea to return home. Miracle is one of the Spirit-class ships which are smaller than most Carnival ships but also newer - built in 2004. This means a less hectic and more spacious cruise than is typical for newer Carnival ships but still with all the fun that makes Carnival cruises famous.
The most Bermuda-intensive itinerary sailing this season comes on the Holland America Veendam. This is a quiet, sophisticated cruise experience on a smaller ship. This is one of the few ships that will be able to call in Hamilton due to its smaller size. It sails from New York City on Sundays on seven-day cruises from April through October. A day at sea is followed by a day and a half in St George and two and a half days in Hamilton before a day at sea to return home. Veendam is the best option if you want to spend as much time seeing Bermuda as possible, but this ship is recommended for adults - there are not many activities for kids of any age onboard.
Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) sails two ships to Bermuda throughout the summer starting April 11. Norwegian Dawn sails from New York every seven days. The ship spends two days at sea, three days at King's Wharf and a day at sea to return home. Norwegian Spirit sails from Boston on seven-day cruises with the same weekly schedule.
Of the two NCL ships, Norwegian Dawn is the bigger and better, offering more onboard amenities and dining options. Both ships have "Free-style" dining and service with a number of alternative restaurants, some included in the cruise fare and some requiring a service charge. We recommend you plan your budget to include dining in these alternative restaurants onboard at least a few nights.
Celebrity Cruises has the Summit on the Bermuda itinerary from April 25 through August, 2010. Summit is one of the beautiful Millennium-class ships with a dramatic atrium and luxurious staterooms. The ship is spacious and the food and service are top-notch. The ship appeals to adults with a large wine selection, gourmet cuisine, a champagne and cigar bars and lavish stage shows. There are programs for children but they will not find nearly as much to do as they would on Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas or Carnival Miracle.
There is a very attractive nine-day cruise option offered by Princess Cruise Lines on the Caribbean Princess. This itinerary sails from New York for just one day in Bermuda (King's Wharf), a day at sea before San Juan Puerto Rico, St Thomas, Grand Turk and then two days at sea to return to New York. This cruise sails between May and July, and alternates with another 9-day itinerary that does not include Bermuda.
Caribbean Princess is one of the newer Princess ships, with the largest passenger capacity of the fleet (3000+). There are many activities for kids and adults alike, with plenty of alternative dining options including a buffet that stays open 24-hours/day. We see very attractive pricing on this cruise if you shop early.