We have cruised many times, but this was our first time to Bermuda. Also our first time out of Bayonne. Pre cruise we stayed at Country Inn & Suites and it deserves the praise it gets on CC. Front desk folks are gems, very personable and helpful. Embarkation was ok, but the extra step of catching a bus to shuttle folks over to the ship from the registration area was tiresome. We are Diamond with RCCL, so we actually were given priority and it still seemed like a long time sitting around waiting. Disabled cruisers and those with small children have top priority, so kudos to RCCL for that and staff work very hard to keep things organized and moving along smoothly. It's a beautiful view of the NY skyline and the Statue of Liberty after boarding!
The ship is older, but seemed very clean and well tended from our observation. No complaints with our cabin 7606. Attendant Jocelyn took very good care of us. The entire crew for that matter was excellent in service!
We had two at sea days getting there. Activities and entertainment were the standard fare. I will say that the majority of the cruisers seemed to be from New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania and were a boisterous, fun loving group of fellow travelers.
The weather, on the other hand, was disappointing. Our first day in Bermuda we DID have nice weather and had scheduled an island tour with Heidi Cowen of Byways Tours. I would highly recommend Heidi as she provided a very delightful 6 hour tour, complete with a lunch and afternoon ice cream stop all included. We like to snorkel and had plans to scope out some good spots to return on our next two days. Heidi, along with her blind dog, Buddy, drove us to several places, including Jobson's Cove by Warwick Long Bay that we intended to return to. We enjoyed seeing St George and Hamilton. We didn't get back for any snorkeling bc the weather turned cool and rainy the following days. We did get out the next morning and toured the Dockyard and Museum right by the dock. Tip: Heidi had told us that we could purchase two hours of WiFi from the Arts Centre at the dockyard for $2, which we did and had no problem with our Ipad. The Snorkel park is just a short walk from the dock also, but we didn't try it. We did try The Frog and Onion in the Dockyard. My husband enjoyed a Rum Swizzle and sampled some of their ale while I can recommend their fish chowder.
Bermuda is beautiful and historic, but very humid. Another couple we spoke with said they have been making an Oct cruise to Bermuda a yearly tradition and this was the first rain they had encountered in ten years. Unfortunately this was our only experience and it was a very damp and gloomy one. Not sure if I would recommend Bermuda as a destination unless you were into water activities like diving and snorkeling. First timers needn't worry about transportation. Many taxis are available and buses seemed very easy to use as well. There's also a speedy ferry right at the dock that heads to St George. Cost of living is high in Bermuda so be prepared when you shop or visit a bar or restaurant. Everyone is very polite and helpful.
Ship's food was fine. I can't say that I would rave about the dining experience, but we really had no complaints either. Our dining room wait staff were excellent. On the Promenade, my husband loved the granola bars with chocolate bottoms. He also purchased a coke glass($50) and loved the Freestyle Coke machines where he could help himself. The Ice Show was brand new and wonderful as always.
They did have a lecturer on Bermuda and on the Hudson River coming and going. He was very interesting and entertaining - so much so that his lecture had to be moved from the Schooner Bar to the Show Theater as there were too many people. Trivia games were a hit as well as the Love & Marriage and Quest shows, again, I think due to the NY/ NJ crowd. We are from the Mid West and appreciated how friendly and welcoming the "home" crowd was!
We usually carry our bags off ourselves and leave early, but weren't sure how we were going to manage the bags on the buses, so didn't walk off on our own this time. It went smoothly and we were able to catch a cab to New York City and catch a couple of Broadway plays before heading back the following day.
Probably will be heading to Caribbean instead next year!