I work for an incredibly generous company that is always hiring. Last year, they sent me and my husband on a cruise to Bermuda. I’ll be honest, Bermuda was never on our list of places to visit. Thank goodness we got the chance to cruise to Bermuda with all of our work friends and their loved ones. Keep reading for my review of our Royal Caribbean cruise from Newark to Bermuda and all the fun we had there. Spoiler alert, the sand really is pink.
This was our first cruise. I love the water and we had a boat growing up, but I never understood the concept of paying money to be trapped on a large vessel with thousands of people. But, who would turn down an all-expense-paid and kid-free trip with their husband? So, we packed our bags and prepared ourselves and got on a plane to Newark, New Jersey where Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas would leave port.
I wish we would have left a day earlier and spent some time in New York City. We got engaged there 10 years ago and are overdue for a return trip. But, we needed that day in San Antonio to tie up loose ends and tuck the boys in bed one more time before our trip. So, we flew up the night before the boat embarked and stayed the night in a hotel near Newark International airport. We slept like logs that night and took an Uber to the port of Cape Liberty.
Depending on where you are coming from, you will likely need to fly in the night before to ensure you make it on time to board the ship. We flew into Newark International. But, you could just as easily land at La Guardia or JFK, run around New York City and then commute to Cape Liberty. Not to mention, a cruise isn’t the only way to get to Bermuda. You can fly there in under 2 hours from several US airports.
We’re on a Boat
We boarded Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas in the late morning. We scheduled our arrival on the website a few weeks prior and picked a time in the middle of the arrival window. This time worked well. Boarding was quite a production, but Monat made us feel like VIPs as usual. We were welcomed onto the ship and even had some goodies waiting in our room upon arrival. For a small room, it was surprisingly comfortable and the balcony was great. That balcony would serve as a nice spot to drink my morning coffee as well as a wonderful vantage point for checking out late-night lightning shows while at sea. The shower and bathroom were not so not spacious, especially for my tall husband! But, it’s hard to complain about a free vacation. Instead, let’s all just have a good laugh at my husband overtaking the shower.
The nice thing about aligning yourself with savvy businesswomen is that there’s always someone planning something. So, we slid right into the group dinner reservations with our 15 closest cruise friends and their families. We ate at Chops Grille, one of the ship’s restaurants and secured their private dining room and group menu for dinner. The food was great. With our meal package, we had a dinner credit and just had to cover the difference between that and what we ordered. Cruise calories don’t count, right?
Life at Sea
Overall, there were lots of restaurant options on the ship. People in our group were pretty happy with the food on the boat. I do regret not having dinner at Wonderland. It has a modern vibe and food grouped by theme. The desserts looked amazing. But, by the time I thought to reserve anything, they were completely booked. I highly recommend you book any reservations before your trip or no later than the day you arrive.
We stuck to the Windjammer marketplace buffet for breakfast and lunch most days and the main dining room for dinner at night. Both of those were included in our dining package paid from by Monat. Russell did treat himself to a steak each night which was a little extra.
Morning with the Monat Family
On the first full day, I enjoyed a morning of training and recognition with 1400 coworkers. We filled the Royal Theatre and Monat filled our cups with strategy and inspiration to continue to build this amazing business. It was mother’s day and they pulled out all the stops to make us moms feel special. We also had the honor of presenting the ship’s crew with a donation of invaluable Internet time so they could reconnect with their families while on board. You see, to this company, the family is everything. For the rest of the trip, everywhere I went with a Monat shirt on, I was stopped by a crew member who would ask “are you here with that company? Thank you so much for the wifi!” Who knew we could make such an impact?
Bermuda or Bust
We spent the rest of the day relaxing and laying in the sun on the main cabin deck. There were several pools and chairs lined the ships outer balcony. There had a Flow Rider for surfing and Eye in the Sky to catch the best views of the sea. But, those were all booked by the time we thought to take action. If you are looking to do any activities or spa services during the days your ship is at sea, I highly recommend you book those online before your vacation even starts. All those appointments fill up fast!
We researched a few things to do in Bermuda and decided on renting scooters and driving over to Horseshoe Bay for the afternoon. Of course, we continued the gluttony with our cruise food and beverage package, breaking every few hours for more food and booze. Pro-tip, grab an iced coffee and then walk over and have the bar give you some Bailey to add to it. In the evening, we met some friends for drinks and then headed over to the music hall for a private karaoke session. Most partied the night away. Instead, Russell and I played some video blackjack at the casino and headed to bed. When you don’t get much sleep in your regular life, vacations are for resting. By the time we woke up the next morning, we were docked at King’s Wharf.
We booked our scooter rental with Oleander Cycles at the King’s Warf Dockyard. Online registration was easy and they checked us in quickly. Russell is a tall drink of water and I’m a pretty independent chick. So, we decided to each get scooters despite most couples pairing up on a bike. We got our helmets and went outside for the test drive. Turns out, the scooters were more like motorcycles. Russell made it around the practice loop no problem. I, on the other hand, was more than uncoordinated. To the point that the scooter guy kindly said “young land, go back inside and get your money back. You’re riding with your husband.” And, so I did. I didn’t know it at the time, but that guy did me a favor.
So, we headed south along the road to Horseshoe bay beach. The view was gorgeous. We quickly learned that the roads were narrow, windy and the locals drive fast! In Bermuda, you drive on the left. If you’ve never done this before, it does take some getting used to. Mostly it’s the turns that are disorienting. All this made scooter driving a little treacherous. We had a few near misses and stopped several times to keep the group together. To say we were relieved to all make it to the beach parking low would be an understatement.
We’ve been to a lot of Caribbean beaches and I have to say that Horseshoe bay and its various neighboring beaches are some of the prettiest. The sand has a pink tone, the water is pleasant and there is room for everyone. You can also walk up the beach to more secluded areas. There are a bar and snack shop on site. Be advised, the wait is long on a busy day. Try to bring your food if you can. Other than that, enjoy the view and walk as far as you can to see it all. If you’re adventurous, you can climb up the rocks to a better vantage point for some Instagram worthy images. Do take pictures. We brought our GoPro and were able to capture some of the beauty there.
Be advised, horseshoe bay is not the only great beach in Bermuda. But, we had limited time on the island and it was a quick and easy stop. If you’re looking for a more secluded beach or the most family-friendly, here is a complete guide to Bermuda beaches.
Heart of the Island
After several hours at the beach, we made a very terrifying left turn out of the Horseshoe Bay parking lot and back onto the main road toward the city of Hamilton. The drive remained gorgeous and also scary. Hamilton is the capital of Bermuda and we were told it was a picturesque city where we could walk, shop and eat. We dropped off the scooters and did some shopping. We picked up some cute shirts and shells for the boys and Russell found a well-priced bottle of Blanton’s at the local liquor store.
After that, we met back up with our biker gang and had dinner at the Pickled Onion right on the water. The food was good and it was a nice spot across from where we would catch the ferry back to the dockyard. We then hopped on the last ferry ride back to the wharf. The boat was much more relaxing than the scooters. If you’re still reading this and I can provide you with any advice about your trip to Bermuda, I’d skip the scooters and use the bus and ferry system. We loved the ferry and bought an inexpensive 2-day pass.
Jet skis and a Shopping Spree
One of our most favorite things to do on any tropical vacation is a jet ski tour. It’s really fun and allows you to see the whole island in a short time. So far, we’ve jet skied in Bora Bora, Turks and Caicos, Grand Cayman, The Bahamas and now Bermuda. On our second day at port, we booked a 75-minute tour with KS Watersports. The tour departed from King’s Wharf where our ship was docked. I recommend booking online a day or two before to make secure your spot and take advantage of the online booking discount. We each got our own jet skis but you can also share to keep the cost down. We made a few stops, the highlight being a cove filled with turtles! Our guide was nice and everyone had a good time.
After that, we grabbed lunch back on the boat and then did some shopping at the Clocktower Mall. You can grab a bite there and find souvenirs for the family without going too far. We were paranoid about missing the boat home and didn’t want to go far from the ship on our last afternoon!
That’s a Wrap
The next day was all at sea and we did more eating and relaxing. Had I made any of our appointments ahead of time, this would have been a good day to get a pedicure at the spa or ride the Eye in the Sky. But instead we relaxed and I enjoyed some quiet time on the balcony and another dinner with friends. At this point, we were ready to get home and would have rather just flown! I don’t think we are cruise people.
To recap, here are my takeaways from our 5-day cruise to Bermuda:
• Get the food and drink package, eat and drink your way through the vacation
• Book all reservations on the ship (spa, restaurants, activities) before you go or right after you board
• Don’t rent scooters in Bermuda. Ride a bus, take a ferry or rent a twizy
• See as much of the island as you can and plan your route and schedule accordingly
• Go back again, Bermuda deserves more than 36 hours
Are you a cruise person? Comment below if you love cruises and tell us your best advice. Never been to Bermuda? I highly recommend it. Feel free to reach out and pick my brain on the island before you plan your next trip there.