Well, as all things flow like the tide, we missed getting the repositioning cruise coming up in March of 2015. There is still room on board, but I just cannot justify the cost of a balcony just to watch the water go by. As a result, I went in search of someplace else. I lucked out! There is a cruise sailing out of Norfolk, Va. in October of 2015, going to Bermuda! Well, Barb loves Bermuda, and the price was good, so I booked us for there. One thing that will bear watching, the cruise is a “onesie”, in that it is (and will be) the only cruise for that cruise line going to Bermuda, either in 2015, or for that matter, 2014. It will be interesting to see if they decide to go in 2016. Well…here’s an update. Carnival SUNSHINE will be sailing from Port Canaveral one week earlier, 2 days at sea, 3 days in Bermuda, and 2 days at sea. It’s also an 8 night cruise, as well as more expensive. They also announced that the PRIDE will sail to Bermuda out of Baltimore when she returns, but the general feeling is that there isn’t enough time to get to see or do anything. One other nice thing. The cruise will spend a full three days docked. Most other ships claim three days, but when you check their itineraries, you discover the ship arrives mid to late afternoon of the first day, and departs noon or mid afternoon of the third day. This cruise we dock early in the morning of day one, and depart late afternoon day three. Hopefully, this time, we will get to see all those other places we missed on our last trip. We have posted on the cruise lines web site a “roll call” message, and it looks like there are a few of us who book early, then chaff at the bit, hoping the days would go by quicker. Well, here is more to see what’s going on. We have the trip insurance paid for, so now all that’s left is the payments to get the cruise paid off. Still no price changes, but it’s early yet. October and the CLIA annual sale will be coming up, and in November the traditional Military Appreciation benefits will be (hopefully) added. These are normally found as OBC’s, but the cruise must be paid in full to get them, although that is not always the case. I’ll be adding to this as time goes on. Hopefully that will occupy some of the time.
For those who have never been to Bermuda, it’s nice to know a bit of the lay of the land, so to speak. Bermuda is a chain of islands, the larger of which are tied together by bridges. The Somerset Bridge is world famous as being the smallest drawbridge in the world, the span being in the 18″ range. Since Bermuda is comprised of coral outcroppings, the waters around the island can be very tricky to navigate, and getting into Hamilton, or St. Georges, or even Kings Wharf, requires outstanding seamanship. The channels currently cut into the coral were done many years ago, before the megaships were being built. As a result, Hamilton and St. Georges have become pretty well bypassed for the majority of cruise ships, they simply cannot get to the docks safely. There is talk of doing additional dredging and blasting for a new channel, but it’s being relegated to turf wars, since the ecology would suffer, and destroy the bay, and thus the beauty of the island.St. Georges is even in a worse situation, since they also get battered by winds that would make docking a difficult feat with the larger ships. This leaves Kings Wharf to accommodate the larger ships, and there is only room for two ships at a time. Any other ship shows up, they must tender in, and that in itself causes additional problems, since the docks are subject to open water roughness, and there is no really safe way to load or unload tenders.
Bermuda, being a British Commonwealth, does not rely on the tourist trade in a similar manner as the Caribbean islands. Going into a store and expecting to haggle prices is frowned upon, and will garner no results. Also, dress code for
walking or riding around is more sedate. Bermuda shorts, nice polo, are acceptable, running around in short shorts and bra type top are not. Since cars are not available to tourists, the scooter and moped are the basic mode of transportation, with a large number of people using the bus and ferry system. Taxi’s are available, but very expensive. Transportation passes can be purchased at the government kiosks, with the price varying depending on number of days purchased. If you use them more than twice or more per day, they are well worth it, otherwise get a ticket per ride. Again, the fare is dependent on the length of the ride, and goes by zone. One of the more pressing problems is finding a bus or ferry to return back to the ship late in the evening. Hamilton is just a hop across the bay, but if the ferry has stopped running, then the only way to get back to the ship is via taxi, a very expensive option. As I sit here typing, I see that the fare has gone up even more, and the rate is now over $500 with what appears to be no chance of it dropping. Oh well, Bermuda is well worth it! Another update….our cabin is now going for over $3000 for the both of us, so I’m glad we booked when we did. I guess there won’t be any OBC this cruise!!