Leaving from Bayonne was wonderful as we live in South Jersey...no airfare needed. The port was easy to get to and the staff at the port was wonderful; helpful and cheerful. Boarding was easy. Cruising under the Verrazano Bridge, viewing the Statute of Liberty and the new 911 memorial was a treat.
Our room with a balcony was nice. Big showers and well kept for an older ship. The ship itself was easy to navigate and find our way around.Staff was friendly and kept the ship looking clean and cared for.
Food was good, but not exceptional as on our other Celebrity cruise on the Solstice. The buffet was fine, and we enjoyed the omelet stations in the morning. Pastries were not good and we missed that. We did find it hard to negotiate around the buffet lines as there doesn't seem to be much order in the way things flowed....lines merging or coming in two directions at once. We opted for select dining, and thought, like on other ships that you could call in a reservation each day and request your dining time and table. They would only reserve a time, but not a table or table size on this cruise. It made it a little more difficult and our wait times varied up to an hour. The hostess was not patient and had a little bit of a snippy attitude toward people but she was very stressed when it was crowded. They requested people wait in the martini bar and service was slow in there if you wanted a drink while you waited.
This was the smoothest cruise we have ever been on....no rocking at all. We discovered it was because we were moving so slow. Left on a Sunday night and didn't arrive in Bermuda until Wednesday. I think they wanted to make the money in the casino and bars before we got to Bermuda. It was relaxing and we really didn't mind. (Other ships on had one day at sea)
Bermuda was gorgeous. It is difficult to get around though from the Dockyard. The reviews made it sound as if the Dockyard was a vibrant and active spot. It was not. There were a few restaurants and shops, but not at all what I expected. We did eat there twice at the Frog and the Onion and at Bone Fish. It is extremely expensive. My husband and I ordered cheeseburgers that cost us almost $20 a piece. We didn't want to go back to the ship for lunch, but that is always an option.
We purchased the transportation pass as the only other option was a $40 an hr cab or renting mopeds. Being in our 60's and nervous about driving on the opposite side of the road, we thought the bus and ferry would be easier. We did not realize we would spend so much of our days waiting in lines and then having to stand on buses and ferries. The bus we caught to Hamilton was overcrowded and we had to stand. The ride was awful....through winding steep roads, being thrown from side to side while trying to hang on was not my idea of excitement. (especially since I had a knee replacement a few yrs ago) The first bus to Horseshoe Bay was a special bus and was easy. However, when you get to Horseshoe Bay it is a walk down a pretty steep walkway to the beach. There is a cheap shuttle which we opted for on one of the trips. Horseshoe Bay was a beautiful beach that did have facilities, but no shade unless you rented an umbrella. Just to rent a chair was $15 and you got $5 back when you returned it. Not much in the way on food or drink, just a small shack. Worth the trip to see the beach but beware of the other expenses.
Hamilton was nice but not the typical Bermudian spot we'd pictured. After our bus experience we walked around a bit but were ready to head back by ferry to the ship. We waited for over an hour and then were told the ferry was not operating so they took us to another boat for the trip. Once again, crowded and no seats. This trip was only a 20 minute ride, but still not comfortable to stand for that long on a moving ship.
St. Georges was the small quaint place we were looking for. Musicians and a reenactment were in the town square. The unofficial "mayor" answered questions. Took the train/tram ride tour around and learned a lot of history and facts about Bermuda. The driver was very informative. We had lunch in the waterfront restaurant. A pleasant day until the wait at the ferry again.....a long line in the hot sun and once again over packed and no seats available. This trip was 45 minutes so it was difficult to stand that long.
We liked Bermuda and the people were friendly. We felt very safe everywhere we went. The transportation made it difficult. It would have been nice to be able to get around to see the entire island, but we would have spent all day waiting at bus stops or ferries. The schedule was not reliable and the ferries and buses did not run after certain hours. We were worried that if we explored too far we would not be able to get the last ferry (6:00) back to the ship and would be stuck taking the 2 hour trip on those awful buses back to the ship. We thought it would have been nice to spend the evening in the towns, but that was not possible. Even the few restaurants and bars at the Dockyard closed down early...no nightlife except back on the ship.
The cruise back to Bayonne was faster...it only took us one day at sea to get home. There was a little more movement, but not like other cruises we have experienced. Very calm....good for a first time cruiser who might be afraid of getting seasick. Debarkation was easy. Just took our own bags, walked off the ship, got on a bus and walked to our car. Handicapped parking was close and easy. From ship to home in under 2 hrs.....no airline hassles,spending all day at the airport....easy. Wish more ships and itineraries were available from this port.
Overall, an enjoyable trip except for the transportation issues. Would love to have rented a car and enjoyed the island at our own leisure, but Bermuda does not allow car rentals. There were not a lot of tour companies with vans or minibuses offering sightseeing tours at the ship as there are in other islands. We would do this trip again, but maybe on Holland America which docks in Hamilton and St Georges making it easier to get around.