[Note: Many of the activities and sightseeing of Bermuda can easily be done on your own, but if you favor organized ship tours, here are some of the best. ~ Jan]
Famous for its gorgeous pink sand beaches and balmy weather, Bermuda is a popular destination for cruises from late April through October. Bermuda has tons to offer in terms of organized shore excursions, featuring everything from around-the-island bus tours to more active and creative options. For those who'd like a bit more freedom, never fear — it's a fairly easy place to explore on your own, thanks to a decent public transportation system that includes buses and ferries.
Here are the best shore excursions in Bermuda.
Bermuda Triangle shipwreck snorkel or glass-bottom boat tour
Bermuda was discovered by accident when British colonists heading to Virginia were shipwrecked in 1609. More than 300 shipwrecks have followed. At the edge of Bermuda's reef, you'll view the remains of the sailing ship Constellation, which inspired Jaws author Peter Benchley's novel The Deep, and the paddle steamer Montana, plus the colorful fish that inhabit the sites. There are also nighttime tours that add an eerie element to the experience.
Railway Trail Bike & Beach Tour
From 1931 to 1948, Bermuda was serviced by a railroad. Today the abandoned rail bed is the Bermuda Railway Trail National Park, an 18-mile expanse that's perfect for a scenic ride on a mountain bike. You pedal about a six-mile stretch past striking coastline and nature areas and under abandoned trestles, on mostly flat terrain. A stop at a beach is included, and if there's time you can also hike up to the 19th-century Fort Scaur.
Wild West Clear Kayak Tour
Snuggle up in a two-person kayak and paddle around Bermuda's rocky coastline, uninhabited islands and pink beaches. Bird lovers will want to keep an eye out for Bermuda longtails, egrets and herons. Look down to spot turtles and fish in the clear sea. Included is time to relax on a beach.
Bermuda Dolphin Experience
If you've never gotten up close and personal with a dolphin, this is your chance. You sit with your small group in waist-high water on a platform while the dolphins follow their trainer's directions to come right up into your lap. Then you get to swim out into deeper water so you can feel like you're part of the dolphin pod.
Bermuda Gold Cup Sail Regatta
Geared towards families, and offered by Celebrity Cruises, the excursion includes an introduction to sailing from an internationally accredited instructor. After the introduction, you board a J/24 race-designed keelboat for a 45-minute sailing lesson, followed by a mini-race against your fellow students. The winning team gets a certificate and medal.
Famous Homes and Hideaways
Offered by Norwegian Cruise Line, this popular-culture boat tour shows off Bermuda's colorful historic homes and neighborhoods, including "Millionaire's Row." You'll see the home of Michael Douglas and where John Lennon spent his last summer, writing the album "Double Fantasy." Bermuda landmarks such as Gibbs Hill Lighthouse are pointed out along the route too.
Atlantic Reef Fishing, Day or Night
Board the Jolly Roger, a 57-foot custom fishing boat, for a family-friendly fishing excursion. Try your hand at hooking snappers, grouper, triggerfish, porgies, jacks and other species on a catch and release basis. Equipment is provided. The nighttime fishing excursions are extra fun, featuring a scenic sunset ride to fishing grounds in search of nocturnal reef dwellers.
Bermuda has more golf courses per square mile than anywhere else in the world. Duffers will want to hit the links at the dramatic and challenging Turtle Hill Golf Club (at The Fairmont Southampton). The course is home to the Bacardi World Par 3, and is the winner of Golf Digest's Best Places To Play Golf. Norwegian Cruise Lines offers play at four courses — Turtle Hill, Port Royal and the classic Riddell's Bay.
St. George's Tour
History lovers will want to spend time in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of St. George, especially in the company of a knowledgeable local guide. The oldest continuously occupied town of English origin in the New World, St. George has a wealth of charming historical architecture, including the oldest Anglican Church of the Western Hemisphere.
By Fran Golden (USA Today, "Explore Bermuda’s Best Shore Excursions")
Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more.
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Featured photo credit: J. Neves