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My First Bermuda Visit


JohnG
"A great trip and we'd want to go back!"

Overall Rating: Excellent

TRIP INFO

Sail Date:09/29/2013
Destination:Bermuda
Departed From:New York City
# of Nights: 7 Nights
Cabin Type: Balcony
Sailed As: Couple

RATINGS

Food:<p>1</p>
Itinerary:Excellent
Cabin:Excellent
Entertainment:Very Good
Overall Value:Excellent
Spa/Fitness: Didn't Use
Embarkation: Excellent
Debarkation: Excellent
Staff/Service: Excellent
Overall Rating: Excellent

COMPLETE REVIEW

We booked this sailing to participate in our national conference, along with 750 of our fellow agents and family. I had never been to Bermuda despite a career in the Navy and 76 prior cruises on cruise ships. My wife had been there over 25 years ago with her mother before we were married.

We flew to New York and took a taxi from LaGuardia to Pier 88 on Sunday morning, and the traffic wasn’t bad. A taxi is about $38 plus tip, and the cruise line transfers are more. Arriving at the terminal about 11, and using the Latitudes desk, we were aboard in less than 20 minutes. Considering that Norwegian doesn’t require passengers to leave the ship/staterooms until 9:45, it was amazing that our cabin, balcony cabin 11294. Category BC, was ready by the time we got to it, about 11:30.

While most balconies on small on the Breakaway, a result of packing more inside the ship, this cabin is great in that the balcony is about 50% larger than most other balconies. On decks 10-14 there are 8 cabins like this where the “bulges” start and end. Check out a deck plan. We found that with two large drawers under the sofa, in addition to the storage in the closet and some in the desk area, there was plenty of storage. We had sailed on the ship in May during the inaugural cruise in a family ocean view stateroom and I think this one had as much storage. I also like the Norwegian showers that have solid doors to them.

We prefer the main dining rooms on Norwegian ships to all the specialty dining and have not been disappointed. Like on the Norwegian Epic, we like the Manhattan Room dining the best, and the opportunity to dance to an orchestra or singer most nights. We did not have any trouble getting a table for 2 near the dance floor. While the have a lengthy “every night” menu of standards, they have a few changing offerings each night, and we never ate the same thing twice. Lamb shanks, leg of lamb, cioppino, and more. I am reluctant to order steaks on most ships, so I try everything else. My wife prefers seafood and felt there was a nice variety. We were invited to dine with a group in the churrascaria, Moderno, twice. The salad bar included great soups, ceviche, and a large variety of salads. We tried beef, chicken and lamb, and there was also pork/ribs available that we passed on.

While we didn’t try for hard to get reservations to Gregory Zacharian’s Ocean Blue restaurant, he does have an ala carte seafood bar, and one night we enjoyed oysters on the half shell and a wonderful ceviche that was prepared before our eyes. It was great.

We had viewed Rock of Ages during the inaugural so we opted to view Second City comedy, a magician/comedian who was a bit past his prime, and Burn the Floor.

During the sea days my wife enjoyed the H2O area to sun and there were plenty of loungers. She also walks 7-10 miles every day and uses the jogging track which is open until 9am. At night we attended receptions in the same area, which can be crowded and there is only one bar available.

The ship arrives on Tuesday morning in King’s Wharf, Bermuda and stays until 5pm on Thursday, giving us 3 days to enjoy Bermuda. On day 1 we stayed in the King’s Wharf area, which has a National Museum, shops, several restaurants and a pub, and a dolphin excursion area, all within the remains of an historic fort and dockyard area. Just outside the wall, just a short walk from the ship, is Snorkel Beach. It has a $5 per person admission charge, and lounge chairs are available for rent from the water sports shop for $10. There is ample shallow swimming area, and just outside the rocks of the breakwater is some excellent snorkeling with plenty of coral and fish. There are some jelly fish, but they are easy to avoid. We did have our first rum swizzles, the “Bermuda national drink”, there, the first of our trip. That evening we attended an evening party there hosted by Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Azamara, and had many more swizzles, local food, and a terrific performance by a Bermuda Gombey dance troupe and music.

On day 2 we purchased tokens inside the terminal building for the buses and ferries. Purchasing tokens is a bit less expensive that cash, but you must have exact coin change or tokens. We took an express #7 bus right from the station by the pier to Horseshoe Beach, a large public beach. There is a rather steep hill down or back from the beach. They rent chairs and umbrellas there for about $11 each, plus a refundable deposit. We noticed a smaller beach off the side with some huge boulders that reminded me of The Baths in Virgin Gorda. I decided to settle on the small beach there and ventured out around the boulders toward the ocean side where I found some good snorkeling and some of the largest parrot fish I’ve ever seen. Later that afternoon we climbed back up the hill and caught another #7 bus to Hamilton. We headed to a pub we had heard of, Hog Penny, that has been there over 50 years, written up for its food and atmosphere, and allegedly the inspiration of for the original Cheers pub in Boston.

We sampled some Bermuda fish chowder complete with Bermuda sherry peppers sauce, another institution, and a pint of the local porter We even brought a bottle of the sauce home.

The ferries back to King’s Wharf leave practically across the street from the pub area.

On day 3 we decided to spend the day again at Snorkel Beach at King’s Wharf and had a great day at the beach. The tide has high and most of the breakwater was covered, so the snorkeling was even better than the first day.

On our arrival in New York we relaxed and stayed until 9:45 and then took a taxi to Penn Station, for $9 plus tip, and boarded a 12:05 Amtrak train to Norfolk, VA. I had chosen this because there are no security delays, free wi-fi onboard, no luggage charges, and no airport delays. We arrived in Norfolk 30 minutes early after a leasurely 8 hour trip. A flight, with frequent delays with connection if you don’t have a non-stop, can take 6 hours, and the train was exactly the same price as airfare.

I could enjoy this itinerary again, or the similar one from Boston on Norwegian Dawn, as I’ve never been on a cruise that stayed in one port for 3 days. We could enjoy going again to do more exploring of the islands. We were blessed with great weather, no showers, and moderately warm weather. It was a great trip and I really enjoyed Bermuda.

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Makes me want to re-think Bermuda.

Actually Jerry has been saying that he doesnt' want to patronize a cruise that does not have a casino. But, the past 3 cruises, he has been extremely disappointed with the ship casinos and only participated in the blackjack tournaments.

I know there's no casino on the ships, but are there casinos in Bermuda?

Thanks for a great review, John.

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No casinos in Bermuda but while we were there the Bermuda government announced that in the near future they will be allowing the casinos on the ships to be open while they are in port. No date announced yet, but coming soon.

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Nice review. We've been to Bermuda three times, twice by land and once by sea. I love the whole cruise experience there - it's so relaxing with no rush to get anywhere because there's no clock ticking to get you back to the boat at a certain time.

My favorite beach is St. John's Bay - very pretty, not too crowded and a little off the beaten path!

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