We just got back from cruise to Bermuda. What a great time. Don't' worry about the shape of the ship because even though it it getting ready to be re furbished, everything looks great.
Embarkation in Bayonne was easy. By car, you just drive up to the tented area, and someone will come to take you luggage. If you did not get your luggage tags in advance, (we had a postal strike in Canada so they didn't arrive) they have them there. Drop off your luggage first, then proceed to the parking area and park for the week ($133.00) to be paid in advance, credit cards accepted.
We arrived at 10:10 and were literally #1 & #2 checked in (thanks Sylvia!) and proceed to the waiting area where we waited for about 10 min. before boarding.
Your room will not be ready til about 1:30, so if you bring a bathing suit in your carry on, you can have lunch and go for a swim while you wait. The pop cards that they sell are 7.00 per day plus 15% tip, and are not really worth it since they have not only coffee and tea for free, but also fruit juice, iced tea and milk
We had cabin #9088 which was perfectly located mid-ship, one floor down from the pool and bbq. (great if you forget to bring something with you). I would recommend the odd cabin numbers in the same mid-ship area, as you will have a wonderful view of the Royal dockyards for the three days when in port.
All the customer services and shopping and future cruises is on deck 3,4, and 5 mid-ship, and also the dining room for the select dining ( anytime dining) enters on deck 5 port (left) side. We never made a reservation for anytime dining, and never had a problem getting a table for 2. The hostess even remembered where we preferred to sit every night.
The ship is laid out basically food to the back and entertainment to the front.
Shopping is the usual shops, but a nice spot is the Cova Cafe, where they have pastries in the morning, desserts in the mid-day, and tapas in the evening, and coffee and cookies all the time, with entertainment from time to time (they have a wine tasting there which allows you to sample many different wines as you go from space to space sampling wines from different countries.
In beautiful Bermuda, you can get a 3 day pass for the transit system to use both the ferries and the buses.
Our first day was Hamilton, which is basically shopping, and a half day to Horseshoe Bay beach, which is beautiful, but be ready to pay $45.00 plus 20.00 deposit in cash to rent 2 one person umbrellas, and 2 chairs.
Our next day was in St. George which is great shopping in all the pastel painted historic shops, which is also where Fort St. Catherine is, and also Tobacco bay beach (no big deal) all within walking distance. The parfumerie is also there, and it is interesting to here about the perfumes and how they are made and buy a bottle of locally made (they are famous for their cedar)
The ferry times are only a couple of times a day (they do add extra ones if they fill up as well as extra buses)
We saved the dockyard for the last day, as we wanted to be close to the ship.
Its got enough to amuse for a day, as it has a man-made beach and snorkel park about a 5 minute walk from the ship, and you can tour the commissioner's house and also do some shopping, or take a carriage ride, or rent a scooter.
All in all it was a great trip, and we look forward to doing it again some day, maybe on the refurbished Summit.