Thursday, April 04, 2013

Beyond the Beautiful Beaches of Bermuda

Spring is here (or so the calendar tells us) and that means cruise ships will embark on a new season of cruising to Bermuda from northeast ports. Bermuda cruises are popular because unlike most voyages in which a ship visits a port of call for eight hours, multiple nights are more the norm for Bermuda itineraries.  This gives passengers a lot of time to experience the island’s pink sand beaches and luminous turquoise waves. Not a beach lover? That’s ok, because Bermuda offers a myriad of activities for cruisers of all ages!

An afternoon spent at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute (BUEI) will enhance a visitors understanding of the mysteries of the ocean. This is done through interactive and exciting artifacts and exhibits that guests of all ages will enjoy. The first thing that will wow children and adults alike is the life-size replica of a 500-pound, 27-foot long squid that hangs in the entrance hall. Another thriller is the simulated seven-minute trip to the ocean floor by a modern Nautilus-X2 submarine! Kids will especially like the video-simulated shark cage that allows you to experience the charge of a Great White. Among the many other displays, the center houses an exhibit of over 12,000 sea shells, as well as investigates the mysteries surrounding the Bermuda Triangle. The BUEI is located on the outskirts of the City of Hamilton at 40 Crow Lane, Pembroke Parish. At this time admission costs are $12.50 (adults), $10.00 (seniors), $6.00 (children 6-17 years), and free for children 5 years or under.

Located 120 ft underground, Crystal Caves is one of the largest cave systems on the island. With its dramatic formations of stalactites and stalagmites, crystal-like pointed structures formed out of limestone rocks, the cave is an awesome sight! Walk the pontoon bridge across underground Cahow Lake, with a crystal clear depth 55 ft.  If you look down you see stalagmites rising from the cave floor.  Fantasy Cave, right next door, requires a much more challenging climb down into its bowels - just be prepared for the steep climb back to the top! The caves are located at 8 Crystal Caves Road, Hamilton Parish. Current admission prices are $20.00(adults), $8.00(children 5-12 years), and under 5 years are free. Combination ticket to both Crystal and Fantasy Caves are available for $27.00 (adults), and $10.00 (children 5-12 years).

Did you know that St. George was one of the first English towns established in North America? And like its contemporaries (Jamestown, Va., or St. John's, Newfoundland), St. George holds firm to its colonial roots. When you visit you'll pass the same Town Hall and Old Rectory that the settlers used. During the peak summer season, period actors roam the winding streets, simulating the old days -- there are even town criers and townspeople sentenced to the stocks. In 2000, the historic town of St. George became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Be sure to include the following on your itinerary: the Old State House (the oldest stone building on the island), King Square (where you'll find a replica of the pillory, stocks and dunking chair used for punishment) and the Unfinished Church. Bus 1, 3, 10 or 11 will take you to the village of St. George. Walking through the historic town is free, but you'll have to pay to enter some of its sites.

Bermuda Clayworks is the place to go if you are looking for exquisite and colorful ceramic items. It is the site of Bermuda's only full time production pottery.  Over the years it has evolved into a Collective Gallery with several independent studio potters and ceramic artisans working and exhibiting onsite.  The Gallery showcases vivid colored tableware, customized house plaques, salt glazed studio pottery, ceramic jewelry and sculptural and hand built artwork.  The studios and gallery are open year round and are a key cultural island attraction offering a diversity of work in the gallery gift shop.   The studio can be found at 7 Camber Road, Royal Naval Dockyard.

Dolphin Quest Bermuda offers year-round interactive encounters with magnificent bottlenose dolphins for adults, children and groups. Guests may touch, play and interact with dolphins in a unique environment, while also learning about the vital role human’s play in conserving their marine home. Located on the grounds of the National Museum of Bermuda incorporating the Bermuda Maritime Museum in the Royal Naval Dockyard. Dolphin Quest participants who make reservations in advance are not required to pay admission to the National Museum of Bermuda. Non-participants are responsible for the Museum's entrance fee (cash only) to the Museum. A number of different packages are available, which allows the creation of an individualized experience with dolphins. Duration and prices vary greatly.

Ships cruise to Bermuda between May and early October. They leave from the northeast ports of New York City, Boston, Baltimore, and Bayonne, NJ."

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