2019 Bermuda Cruise Port Guide: St. George’s and Blue Hole Park

Bermuda is a British island territory located
in the Atlantic Ocean. Known for its pink-sand beaches, Bermuda is
a destination for almost 200 cruise ships each year and many ships stay docked for multiple
days. In this video, we’ll provide an overview
of our first day in Bermuda, when we visited St. George’s, a few of St. George’s beaches,
and a nature preserve in Hamilton Parish. Our ship — the Celebrity Summit — docked
at the Royal Naval Dockyard port for three days in August of 2019. The port is located at the Western end of
Bermuda and is sometimes referred to as Kings Wharf or Heritage Wharf. During our stay, we used Bermuda’s bus and
ferry system to explore on our own. Tickets and transportation passes for the
system can be purchased from the circular Visitor Services Centre building, which is
located next to the ferry dock at the Royal Naval Dockyard. The ferry dock and Visitor Services Centre
are just a 5-minute walk from where cruise ships dock and copies of the ferry and bus
schedules were available inside the center. A small building located near the ships was
also selling transportation tickets when we visited. A large sign located at the dockyard provided
detailed information about the times and prices of various transportation options. The information is also available at the official
Government of Bermuda website. For our visit, we purchased 2-day transportation
passes that allowed us to use all of the public bus routes and the Sea Express Ferry service
for our first two days in port. Take note that there were three ferry routes
operating during our visit: A paid ferry to St. George’s, a complimentary ferry to St.
George’s for Norwegian Cruise Line passengers, and a paid ferry to Hamilton. Workers at the ferry dock held signs to direct
passengers, which made it easy to find the correct ferry. The Town of St. George — which is also known
as St. George’s — is roughly a 45-minute ferry ride from the Royal Naval Dockyard. Our ferry to St. George’s had indoor and
outdoor seating and restrooms were also available onboard. If you sit outside, you should be able to
get a nice view of your ship after the ferry leaves the dockyard area. Before you visit St. George’s, we encourage
you to learn a bit about its fascinating history. Bermuda is considered founded by English Admiral
George Somers whose ship, the Sea Venture, wrecked on St. George’s north shore in 1609. The sailors went on to build two new ships
to bring critical supplies to starving colonists in Jamestown, Virginia. St. George’s also had a role in providing
much-needed gunpowder to George Washington’s Continental Army during the American Revolution. As we got closer to St. George’s, we could
easily see three of the destinations we were visiting from our ferry: Fort St. Catherine,
Gates Bay, and St. Catherine’s Beach. After disembarking the ferry in St. George’s,
we began exploring the historic town on foot using a brochure we found online. Take note that not all roads in St. George’s
have sidewalks and many of the streets are just wide enough for a horse and carriage,
so be very careful of passing vehicles if you explore on foot. The brochure we used for exploring included
a map and details of more than 30 points of interest dating from the 17th century. Many of the sites were just a few minutes’
walk from the ferry dock. We’ve linked to the brochure in the description
below. Some highlights of the sites we visited include
St Peter’s Church, which dates back to the early 1600s, a replica of the ship Deliverance, which is
one of the ships Admiral George Somers used to deliver supplies to Jamestown, the town hall, and the King’s Square. The square, cannons, and pillory are popular
photo ops for visitors. Take note that public restrooms are located
nearby, behind the town hall. Although it wasn’t part of the brochure
tour, we stopped at the Bermuda Visitor Services Centre, which is located one block inland
from the St. George’s Post Office. The center had maps and guides available and
the staff were happy to answer any questions. After wrapping up our points of interest tour,
we walked roughly 20 minutes along Government Hill Road toward the beaches on the north
side of the island. If you would rather not walk, ride-share vehicles
and taxis were available during our visit. Along our walk, we stopped to explore Somer’s
Garden, which is named after Admiral George Somers. Legend says that after Somers died, his heart
was buried on what is now the garden’s grounds. In addition to quite a bit of green space,
there is also a moongate — which is a national symbol of Bermuda — and public restrooms. Before arriving at the beaches, we also stopped
at the Unfinished Church. The church was set to replace St. Peter’s
church on the island and construction started in the 1800s, but it was never completed. As we continued our walk, a sign located just
past the Unfinished Church confirmed we were heading in the right direction for the beaches. Our first beach stop on the northern shore
was Tobacco Bay Beach. The beach is known as a great snorkeling spot
thanks to its shallow water and rock formations. During our visit, the beach and restaurant
were a bit crowded, so we continued walking roughly 10 minutes east along Barry Road to
the beaches located near Fort St. Catherine. The island’s largest fort was constructed
in 1614 and you can explore the grounds and exhibits for a fee. The fort is flanked by two beaches. As you’re facing the fort, St. Catherine’s
Beach — which is also known as Gate’s Bay beach — is located along a path to the right. The beach was fairly uncrowded when we visited
and a large amount of beach area was available for relaxing. Achilles’ Bay beach is located along a path
to the left of Fort St. Catherine, along with Blackbeard’s Hideout restaurant. Achilles’ Bay beach was far more secluded
than the other beaches, but it was also a bit more difficult to get to — including
a slippery walk down some concrete steps — and had very little beach area for lounging. After spending about an hour in the beach
areas, we headed back toward the ferry dock area and got on the bus to Hamilton parish. Several bus routes are available to get from
St. George’s to Hamilton parish and we took the number eleven bus. After a roughly ten minute bus ride, we got
off at the stop near the Grotto Bay Beach Resort and Spa. Backtracking a bit, we stopped at the nearby
gas station, which was great for grabbing some refreshments and taking a bathroom break
before continuing. We asked the gas station attendant for a good
Bermudian refreshment and she recommended Barritt’s ginger beer, which is produced
in Bermuda. It may have been the hot weather, but the
non-alcoholic drink was delicious! Our next stop was Blue Hole Park, which is
also referred to as Walsingham Nature Reserve and also as Tom Moore’s Jungle. To explore the park, we used directions from
a Trip Advisor post that we’ve linked in the description below. Using the directions, we were able to see
several grottoes — or small caves — not far from the park entrance. We then enjoyed a leisurely walk to see the
captivating Blue Hole pool. During our visit, a few people were diving
from the rocks into the pool and enjoying a swim. The water was so clear that we could see to
the bottom in the shallow areas. Continuing our exploration, we used the directions
from the Trip Advisor post to find another, much smaller blue hole water spot, and the
Walsingham Cave, which was located at the end of a more strenuous — and sometimes
slippery — hike. After wrapping up our visit at Blue Hole Park,
we took the bus to the Hamilton Ferry Terminal and hopped on the ferry back to the Royal
Naval Dockyard. At the end of our first day, it was clear
that you could easily spend a half day to a full day exploring just one of the individual
areas we visited. So, plan accordingly if you prefer touring
at a more leisurely pace.

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