My mother and I are taking a Zenith cruise to Bermuda in a few weeks. Hope you don't mind a few questions:
Should I bring a light sweater for the dining room and deck at night?
Am I right that we can bring a couple of bottles of wine on board? Should they be in our carry on luggage and can I bring a corkscrew?
Can I use a phone card from the ship?
Any great suggestions for shopping or sightseeing at the two ports - - my mother doesn't want to take the shore excursions?
The light sweater certainly can't hurt. The "rules" say you are not supposed to bring the wine onboard, it is done . I would carry it on as your suitcases are not going to get delicate handling between the pier and your room. Pack the corkscrew so you don't get it taken away .
Phone card on the ship? NO. Phones on the ship are VERY EXPENSIVE radio phones .
Probably run something like $10. per minute. Can't you be out of touch for 36 hours at sea?
No need to do ships excursions in Bermuda. Shopping , whether in Hamilton or St. George is just accross from the ship. (basically you dock in the town). This is not caribbean discount shopping like St Thomas or St Martin. Shop for British type goods like woolens, linens, china. Several nice local art galleries represented in both towns
(and in the shopping center at the Dockyards as well. Most stores now have shops in all 3 shopping areas.
What to see. St George itself is an historic town and many buildings date back to colonial times in Bermuda. They reenact a town crier and a public dunking in the town square most days. There is a good glass bottom boat trip if you want to see the reefs and don't snorkel or swim. Beaches in St george include Tobacco Bay (gets crowded)
St Catherine's (next to Fort St. Catherines another historic site also has full facilities.
On the other side of the fort, Achilles Bay has some nice snorkelling(no facilities , use St Catherines only 100 yards away) . Great pubs and shops in town.
Hamilton - shopping is directly opposite your ship. Also check out government buildings, cathedral, botanical gardens and aquarium. Beaches to check out include world famous Horseshoe Bay and others like Warwick Bay. Take a horse drawn carraige ride , but do it in the evening when there is no traffic in town.
Buses and ferries take you everywhere , get a multi day pass. They are safe, clean,
reliable and go everywhere. Cabs are usually little vans that can handle 5 or 6 passengers. They are metered. Best snorkel tour anywhere is run by Jesse James Tours in Hamilton . Much better than anything offered by the ship.
Other tour sites include Crystal Caves, Glass Factory, Perfumary and Lighthouse.Royal
Naval Dockyard combines old British history with more shopping. I believe they have a Dolphin encounter there as well.
Enjoy your cruise
Not really a shoreX, but something you and Mom might enjoy? When you get off the ship, there should be plenty of happy people with nicely air-conditioned vans wanting to take you on an orientation "cruise" around the island for a couple of hours. It's not very expensive (maybe $20?). Just make sure they have the "official" tour guide sticker on the van.
My mom just loved it, even though she didn't even get out of the van (walking problems). It's a good way to pick up the "flavor" and decide where you might want to return. From what Mom and other friends who did the van thing said (they were all on their first trip to Bermuda, it was about our sixth ...) the guide was very knowledgeable and accomodating.
The ferries are very cool. We particularly love the "local" from Hamilton to the Dockyard. You can go both ways or take a bus at one end or the other. I prefer the water.
If you happen to collect Lladro (I don't) word has it that Bermuda is The Place. Not necessarily for price, but for selection. I've seen ladies screeching with glee at finding unusual pieces.
You may purchase duty-free liquor on Bermuda, but do it the first or second day. It will NOT be given to you, it will be delivered to the ship and held until your final night. If memory serves, you are limited to two bottles of spirits. (Go for the Gosling's Black Seal rum.)
A sweater -- and a cheap plastic rain poncho -- good ideas. Me, I prefer a pashmina shawl so I don't have to wrestle with sleeves. I found a great vendor on E-Bay ... less than $50. Choose a neutral color for your first one, go wild with the second.
One "outing" that I highly recommend, even though quite pricey, is lunch at the Elbow Bay Club then, if you want, beaching it there. Everybody should do it once. We did it once, YEARS ago, and I think a club sandwich was $13 THEN. But the restaurant overlooking the beach is a delight.
There is also a charming second-floor restaurant right on the Front Street just across from the pier. It's called something like the "Cock and Bull" but don't hold me to it. Sitting on their balcony with a Dark 'n Stormy (the Official drink of Bermuda --- Goslings' Black Seal rum and Ginger Beer with lime) just people-watching and having lunch is a great way to pass a couple of hours. My husband, Captain Queeg, and I often engage in a little contest (because we are facing in different directions) to find the lowest-numbered and highest-numbered license plates on the bikes and cars. (We are easily amused.)
If there are no seats on the balcony, just wait inside until a table is available.
There are too many T-shirt stores and tacky souvenir stores on the Front Street but also some beautiful shops with wonderful goods. One of the things I enjoy is going into the upscale stores and seeing the choices of local brides for their china, crystal and silver. The prsentations of their choices is eye candy.
For years, our kids' Christmas sweaters came from Archie Brown's (thank Paul for the edit function, I first typed Archie Moore's) until the year that Rob said, "Red AGAIN?" and Max said, "Blue AGAIN?" and they swapped. (Duh, Mom.)