Whether you choose to do an island tour, go shopping, golf, scuba dive, visit caves or lay on the beach, Bermuda has something for you. It is a great little port stop with a large selection of things to do and all within fairly easy access.
On a recent cruise stop in Bermuda, my husband and I went our separate ways in pursuit of different interests. I opted to go golfing at the Port Royal Golf Course. Located in Southampton, Bermuda, the course offered a cruise ship special that included 18 holes of golf, golf balls, clubs, shoes and cart for $150USD. Our group consisted of myself and two friends. We booked our t-off time several months ahead of our sailing but other cruisers who simply showed up at the course on the day of arrival, were able to secure t-off times as well. T-off availability is dependent on how busy the course is on any given day, so I suggest booking in advance to avoid disappointment.
Getting to the course was easy. We left the ship and made our way to the Visitor Information Center, which was within easy walking distance from where our ship had docked at King’s Wharf. At the Center, we purchased local bus tickets and walked to the bus stop located in front of the Clock Tower Shopping Mall. Getting to the mall was also a short and quick walk. We soon caught the number 7 bus to the golf course. The little bus ride was about 15 minutes and enjoyable as we were able to get a flavour of the local area.
Arriving at the golf course, we realized the club house and pro shop were located at the end of a sweeping driveway at the top of a hill. With our t-off time approaching, it was clearly time to start walking up the hill. Lucky for us, a course marshal happened along and offered us a ride up to the clubhouse.
Our check-in went smoothly and we soon sorted out some clubs and were ready to T-off. Because we were three, I was paired with a lady by the name of Mickey and our foursome was complete. Mickey was also a passenger on our ship and ended up being a wonderful addition to our little group. Four other people from the ship showed up and I briefly chatted with them. They were able to book a t-off time as there were openings available but were given a less desirable time closer to noon.
From the start of our game, it was quickly apparent that Mickey had far greater golf skills so I tried my best to keep up. I was unsuccessful in that regard and she exercised great patience as I hacked my way out of bunkers and demonstrated a lack of proficiency in swinging a club. The course was beautiful and I found the views from holes #7 and #16 were particularly memorable. Around hole 15, look for the ruins of the Whale Bay Battery which dates from the 1870s.
You can check out the golf course at: https://www.portroyalgolfcourse.com
Leaving the golf course two of our foursome went into Hamilton to shop while Mickey and I took a taxi to the Clock Tower Shopping Mall where I contributed to the local economy by making purchases. The mall consists of shops sporting the usual touristy offerings for sale; T-shirts, paintings, makeup, souvenirs, specialty foods, alcohol and the like. Not too far from the mall was a drug store so for those needing medical or hygiene items, that is a great place to stock up and the prices were reasonable. I wish I had known that I would need hair spray as buying it in the drug store would have saved me spending $34USD for a small bottle of hairspray on the ship. FYI, the onboard hairspray purchase is covered in my new book “Sleeping in a Life Jacket”.
My husband opted to book a scuba diving expedition. To do this dive, participants needed to be an experienced, certified diver, which he is. This shore excursion was also booked in advance of our arrival through a company called Shore Trips. The trip was listed as: SCUBA – 2 Tank Boat Dive. My husband enjoyed the diving and states that the activity was well organized and efficiently run. The small group dove on the Mary Celeste wreck and on a coral reef. My husband indicates that he would book that expedition again. Perhaps this time he will remember to put sun block on his head. Apparently, the full bottle I put in his knapsack, was forgotten and consequently he arrived back at the ship looking very, very red. We were able to watch my husband’s head peel for the remainder of the trip.
My husband also engaged in a little shopping when he returned to King’s Wharf. He visited the mall and several stores he found in the immediate area. He purchased several t-shirts (fairly good quality), and gel to sooth the pain of sunburn.
I checked in with the rest of our friends and found that there had been an assortment of shore activities. Some went to the beach. I was told there were several public beaches available to cruise ship passengers and the people who visited those said they enjoyed the experience. Snorkel Park Beach was the one located within the dockyard and "walkable" from the ship. Sea Glass, Black Bay Beach, Somerset Long Bay Beach, Parson's Bay Beach and Daniel's Head Park & Beach were a few other locations on offer.
Some of our group simply walked the dock area, stopping at shops and had drinks in local restaurants. They reported that they enjoyed their shore time and did not have to walk very far or book an excursion to be entertained.
As mentioned, I did not go into Hamilton and my friends who did visit following our round of golf, told me that by the time they arrived in Hamilton by bus, they were short on time and basically had 30 minutes to take in the sights before catching the ferry back to King’s Wharf. Consequently, I will have to wait for another visit and go to Hamilton myself to check out what there is to see and do. I will post an update at that time. However a number of people did tell me the ferry that runs between Hamilton and King's Wharf takes about 20 minutes and is the best way to get back and forth.