With idyllic beaches and a colorful landscape crowned by pastel cottages, Bermuda is perfect for families. This small cluster of North Atlantic islands serves up plenty for families to explore while exuding a British Colonial charm that is safe, orderly, and always polite.
Sailing out of New York City during the spring, summer and fall, Norwegian Dawn’s 7-day itinerary spends three days in Bermuda, providing an optimal balance of beach time and kid-friendly sightseeing. Using the ship as home base, families can come and go as they please and eat when it suits them as part of the Norwegian’s Freestyle Cruising program, which allows guests to choose when and where they enjoy each meal rather than adhering to the ship’s schedule.
Families will appreciate the ship’s roomy (by cruise standards) four-person cabins, and for extended families, many cabins interconnect, a convenience not often found on ships.Age Appropriate
With its great beaches, Bermuda can entertain kids of all ages. On board, Norwegian Dawn offers a huge children’s center, with four separate areas for kids as young as 2 up to 17. Facilities include everything from a toddlers’ nap room to the T-Rex Pool, a Jurassic-themed pool with waterslides and Jacuzzi, all for kids only.
Too Much Fun
In Hamilton, a must-see is the Ocean Discovery Center at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute, home of one of the world’s finest shell collections. Check out the sunken treasures gallery and the replica bathysphere. Explore what’s beneath the ocean’s surface without ever getting wet on a seven-minute simulated dive.
Best Adventure, or THE attraction
Bermuda is a delightful escape, a place where it’s easy to shift to a slower gear for a few days. But since you’re on vacation, you’ll want to keep the fun flowing. So consider the Restless Native Catamaran Cruise excursion from King’s Wharf. From a spacious and comfortable catamaran, you can snorkel in the shallow waters of a secluded cove or sunbathe in the roomy hammocks.
Keep’em Happy/No Shuffleboard, Dad!
Kids love to laugh, and Norwegian Dawn has a partnership with the Second City improv troupe, with stage performances and onboard workshops, some designed specifically for children, on each sailing from New York.
Timing is everything
Bermuda sits well off the coast of North Carolina, and though the Atlantic gulf stream does moderate the winter climate, this is still a seasonal destination. The Norwegian Dawn sails roundtrip from New York from April through October, and demand will be heaviest June through August.
Avoid the Crowds
Go to the beach. Hire a cab, or if your kids are old enough to ride double, rent scooters – no car rentals on tiny Bermuda. Tourism is less of an emphasis in Bermuda since the emergence of the financial industry, so you don’t have to fight for towel space on the pristine white- and pink-sand beaches. Bermuda is a beautiful destination that is more temperate and less chaotic than Caribbean islands. If you like to bike, pedal along on the Bermuda Railway Trail. Guided tours are offered, or individually, you can do as much, or as little, as you like of the well-maintained 18-mile trail.
If your budget allows this extreme extravagance, consider one of Norwegian Dawn’s three-bedroom Garden Villas, with nearly 5,000 square feet of cabin, terrace and open-air private dining. At more than $20,000 per week, though, you might feel guilty leaving the ship to explore Bermuda.
In keeping with Norwegian’s trendsetting Freestyle Dining program, the Dawn offers 12 different restaurants, but Cagney’s Steakhouse, which requires reservations and carries a $20-per-person charge, is particularly popular, particularly for a special night out for mom and dad.
Editor’s Tip: On Bermuda, excellent restaurants also are abundant, but most are expensive, especially when feeding a family. However, NCL offers an “All Ashore Dining Guide,” which features full menus and special discounts exclusively for NCL guests at 36 restaurants throughout the island.
Sailing on any vessel from the Manhattan skyline is enough to make a memorable family vacation. Add three days on Bermuda’s sandy beaches and getting there on a ship with multiple restaurants, great kids programs and family friendly staterooms, and you have a sure-fire winner on this family cruise vacation.