Family-friendly Bermuda

| July 2, 2007

One possible problem presented itself on our recent cruise to Bermuda aboard the Costa Magica: We docked for two days and nights at the Royal Naval Dockyard out on the island's West End. Most ships call at the main towns of Hamilton and St. George, so I was concerned that my children would whine about having to use public transportation to get from the West End to the island's beaches and attractions. But it worked out fine. In fact, my teenage daughter Alex said she liked the tranquility of the West End compared to Hamilton and St. George. Since Bermuda's bus and ferry system is so efficient, friendly and reasonably priced, our entire stay was smooth sailing.

Adding to the high satisfaction level of our stay in Bermuda was the quality of the family-friendly attractions we visited. From a nicely-landscaped aquarium/aviary/zoo to world-famous beaches and colonial re-enactments, there are plenty of activities to keep kids and teens happy in Bermuda.

(Note: Buy a multi-day transportation pass based on the number of days your ship will be in port. We bought a two-day pass, which gave us unlimited use of buses/ferries. The pass costs $20 for adults and $10 for children ages five to 16; kids under five travel free.

For more details on transportation or any of the following attractions, visit

Historic Bermuda

Bermuda was founded in 1609 by British colonists who were en route to Virginia when their ship, Sea Venture, crashed near the shores of the island. Today, Bermuda is still a self-governing British colony and thus has retained its British flavor. From Parliament - which dates to 1620 and is characterized by barristers in wigs and black robes - to pubs serving fish and chips, you won't be disappointed with the British charm. Although 785 historic buildings around the island are listed in the Bermuda National Trust, you'll find the most history and British atmosphere in quaint St. George. Since the town is compact, it's perfect for a quick stroll to take in the flavor of the old buildings painted in soft hues.

Take a very short walk from the cruise ship dock to the spot where entertaining, historical re-enactments take place periodically. (If you reach King's Square, you've gone too far.) Make sure you're there at noon (every day except Fridays) for the Dunking of the Wench. This short, amusing skit is a 17th-century re-enactment of what happened to women who gossiped too much. Continue on to King's Square for fun photos of your kids with their hands and feet in the stocks.

In Hamilton, children will enjoy Fort Hamilton, built in the 1870s. With its cannons, ramparts, dungeons and a moat, kids' imaginations can run wild here. There are winding pathways, lawns and gardens where they can literally run around a bit too.

The Bermuda Maritime Museum is located within another fortress. This one is at the Royal Naval Dockyard in the West End. The Royal Naval Dockyard was an active navy base during the War of 1812. Kids will enjoy exploring the munitions warehouse and parents will be impressed by the sea views afforded from the ramparts. If you have little ones, there is a jungle gym and swing set within the complex, perfect for blowing off a little steam.

click on pictures below for larger images:

Fortress at the Royal Naval Dockyard   Typical lovely Bermuda scenery

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