We are Platinum cruisers on Carnival, with 15 under our belt, but the Cruises to Bermuda that Carnival offered just did not fill the bill. Holland America on the other hand, has by far the best cruise itinerary to Bermuda, hands down. The Veendam is the only cruise ship that docks right on front street in Hamilton. So you are off the ship and in the center of the action within minutes! The big "Behemoths" have to dock out at the Dock Yard, a 35 minute ferry ride, or a 45 minute bone shaking bus ride to Hamilton. Don't get me wrong, the Dock yard is really nice since they expanded it and can occupy a full day now, but Hamilton is the Jewel in the Crown!! From there, you can get a ferry to the dock yard, St. George's and Somerset mere yards from the ship (near the Bird Cage)
They now Tender in to St. George's, and for the amount of time they spent there, I don't know why they bother, they should just go straight in to Hamilton and give out the bus and ferry passes for those that want to go there. The wife stayed on the ship and I got off and rented a Moped and drove it to Hamilton, stopping along the way to see friends, and met the ship in Hamilton. We had a great lunch, and later a fabulous dinner in "Flanagans" maybe 200 yards down front street towards the bird cage, up stairs on the second floor with elevator access in the mall around the corner from the Front Street door. They have out side seating over looking the Harbour. Other favorites, The lobster Pot, Portofino's, two blocks past the bird cage and on block north. North-rock brewery/restaurant, Sizzle inn and if you are out St. Davids way, stop in to the Black Horse Tavern for the best fish sandwich you will ever find (on this world anyway) and some first class fish chowder and other Bermuda specialties!
There are hundreds of beaches, and any cab driver (notice, I do not call them cabby's) can recommend a beach to suit your desires from Horseshoe bay, to a secluded romantic hide away! The Veendam stays nearly 4 full days, a full day longer than all the others. If you are looking for a ship that vibrates and bounces through the water to a disco beat (do they say that anymore) the Veendam is not for you!! If you are looking for outstanding service, fantastic food and enough to keep you busy while at sea, on a very cozy and manageable ship, this is for you! Dignified is the way we describe it! Don't miss the Pinnacle grill, we bought the suite package and had a fantastic dinner, and a breakfast to die for the last morning before getting off the ship!! Well worth the price. Golfers! Having been an assistant Pro, and played all of them, here is my picks: 1) Ocean-view, a 9 hole course with 2 sets of tees, and some beautiful views, and the closest to Hamilton (and where all the locals play and drink!!!) 2) Port Royal is a long way, and over rated and over priced, but it has that 14th hole view which everyone raves about, but it is almost always crowded. If you can get out on Riddle's bay, you will enjoy it, the Princess executive course is nice for a quick undemanding 18, but is also a pain to get to, either a ferry ride and bus up the hill, an expensive cab ride or a harrowing bus ride.
There are a few issues for disabled passengers on the dock that need to be addressed (insist that they open the street level gate for a wheel chair) leaving the ship! Oh! If you need a lunch stop, go to the "Spot" on Burnaby street, a local hang out! Have fun!