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Cruise Diva Goes Ashore in BERMUDA: Sights to see, things to do, where to shop & hit the beach

Hamilton ~ Bermuda

Established in the center of the island to make it more accessible to all residents, the capital city of Hamilton is the commercial heart of Bermuda. Compared to the rest of Bermuda, Hamilton is a hub of modern activity set against a collage of bright pastel Victoriana.


Cruise ships tie up in the center of town on Front Street. Maps and brochures are available in the cruise terminal and at the Visitors Service Bureau located next to the nearby ferry terminal.

A walking tour is the best way to see Hamilton. Pick up a map to guide you to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, past the “birdcage” (the fanciful box used by bobbies directing traffic), and head for Perot Post Office, a classic Bermudan building erected by Postmaster William Perot in 1842. Next door is Par-la-Ville, the home of another William Perot, this one the father of the Postmaster. Par-la-Ville houses the public library and the Bermuda Historical Society Museum. Inside the museum, intriguing photographs chronicle the growth of Hamilton from a quaint residential town to present day bustling business center. Particularly interesting are the official souvenirs commemorating the coronation of King Edward VIII and many china, crystal and silver objects displayed in the dining room cabinets. There is no admission charge but donations are welcomed. The curator may offer you a choice of postcards, "The only thing you'll find free in Bermuda." After browsing through the museum, stroll through the adjacent park. 

Other interesting sights along a walking tour include Victoria Park, the neo-Gothic Anglican Bermuda Cathedral, city hall which houses art galleries, the numerous churches on Church Street, 19th century government buildings that are open to the public, the old town hall, and the Cenotaph, a war remembrance monument. 

Bermuda is a golfer’s heaven and there are several courses open to the public: Belmont Hills Golf Club, Ocean View Golf Course, Port Royal Golf Course, Fairmont Southampton Golf Club, and St. George’s Golf Club. Other courses require introduction by a member: Mid Ocean Club, Tucker's Point Club, and Riddell’s Bay Golf & Country Club.

Many of the resort hotels have tennis courts open to the public with fees on a per-hour, per-court basis. Hiking is popular in Bermuda’s numerous parks and nature preserves. The longest walking trails are along the covered-over tracks that once carried Bermuda’s narrow gauge railway. Twenty-one miles of trail lead from Somerset Village at the West End to St. George’s at the East End. However, there are some breaks in the trail requiring hikers to take to the road for brief stretches. A pocket size booklet, The Bermuda Railway Trail Walking Guide, is available at the Visitors Service Bureau.

Head outside Hamilton to Sandy’s Parish, where you’ll cross Somerset Bridge, distinctive as the world’s smallest drawbridge with a 30 inch span. Along the way, Gibbs Hill Lighthouse in Southampton Parish is recognizable as the area’s most significant landmark.

Whether touring independently or on a shore excursion, visitors can’t help but be overwhelmed by the heart stopping beauty of Bermuda’s seascapes and beaches. One of the most satisfying ways to see Bermuda is from the water and a ride on the ferry is an inexpensive and pleasant way to do that. You don’t even have to get off—just embark in Hamilton and take in the sights on a round-trip to nowhere.


Just outside the cruise ship terminal on Front Street is Bermuda’s main shopping district. Home to the largest department stores, there are also many smaller boutiques and shops with an eclectic mixture of treasures. Luxury goods are not as heavily taxed as most everyday items, but Bermuda is not a duty-free port and you may find prices no lower than at home. What is attractive is the variety of high-quality English and European imports. The best prices are found on imports from Great Britain.

Shop for Italian leather, Swiss watches, German silverware, French fashions, and designer perfumes. You’ll find vast selections of crystal and china carrying the names of top manufacturers.

Items made in Bermuda make good souvenirs. Hand blown glass, Royall Fragrances for men, jewelry fashioned by local artisans, and watercolors of island scenes are all splendid remembrances. The Bermuda Society of the Arts has a gallery and showroom on the second floor of the city hall and sells quality artwork with local themes.

Island liquor stores offer an extensive collection of duty-free liquors. Your purchases will be delivered to your ship, however. Regulations require that you cannot carry it out with you when purchased at the duty-free price—often less than half the “local” price.

If you’re fortunate enough to be in Hamilton on a designated Harbor Night, that's when merchants, artists, and crafters set up tables along Front Street to display and sell their wares.


It’s not magic but Mother Nature who painted Bermuda’s beaches with pink hued sand. Of volcanic origin, Bermuda has a limestone cap comprised of coral deposits and is surrounded by fringes of coral reef. The action of the pounding surf against limestone shells and coral grinds them into grains of sand with the distinctive pinkish color.

Nearly all Bermuda beaches are pleasant, but the most spectacular are in the area of South Shore Park, which encompasses Warwick Long Bay and Horseshoe Bay as well as dozens of coves for seclusion and swimming. Other favorite beaches include Elbow Beach and Shelly Bay Beach, particularly nice for families with its shallow water and playground.

Two of the finest areas for snorkeling off the beach are Church Bay and Tobacco Bay but almost any rocky shoreline is a good snorkeling site when the waters are calm. The very best snorkeling spots are reached by boat and an excursion is the best way to get to them. Look for a tour that includes a visit to a shipwreck.

Helmet diving has become all the rage for those without scuba diving skills. After donning helmet-like headgear with a glass face plate and an attached air hose, participants “dive” for approximately a half hour at the edge of the reef in about ten feet of water.

Bermuda is a diver’s paradise with scores of shipwrecks scattered along the reefs and inviting exploration. Dives for certified divers, including wreck dives, can be arranged with local dive operations. Lessons are also available for first-timers or those wishing to enroll in a full certification course.

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