I don’t remember much about the 2019 cruise, but it must have been quite hectic, because the below is the only other post I have found! Sorry! I’ll try and compensate with photos.
This cruise is only a month long, and is basically a fortnight in the Caribbean with a week to get there and a week to get back. So there aren’t many ports to talk about. So let’s just delve straight in.
Bermuda – 1st and 2nd March 2019
The first port was Hamilton, Bermuda. About 24 in the shade with a breeze, so it felt just pleasant.
We have never been here before. There were a few “coming home” comments, because Oriana is registered here under a flag of convenience, but we don’t go mad about mentioning it, as it is not good to mention it in polite company. Although, as the now seemingly perpetual list of rude passengers sadly continues to grow, there isn’t much in the way of polite company to speak of, anyway.
We were moored in the Royal Naval Dockyard which is not in Hamilton, but is a damn sight more pleasant that the usual container port back alleys P&O usually treats us to (see Praia da Vitoria below). The Dockyard is a purpose-converted set of very pretty old stone warehouses that are now some very pleasant cafes and shops, including a pharmacy and a little mall of shops with disabled loos and very large soft drinks. Mario, the office bunny, was very taken with the portion sizes.
One of the freebie magazines we found whilst hunting for a map (perish the thought that maps should be available at the quayside or, Heaven help us, in the Tourist Information Office), mentioned that one restaurant in the Dockyard did gluten free, called the Anchor, so we made for that one. When we got there, the waiter said he could only do salad or soup. I pointed out that if they were going to advertise themselves as offering gluten free food, they needed to do better than that. So he went away and purchased a loaf of gluten free bread from somewhere, then and there, and I got to have a burger like everyone else, after all. Very sweet, and, as you can see from my praising them in print, EXCELLENT public relations!
We wanted to take the little red land train, but they only do official cruise ship excursions, so we got on the little free white land train that simply tootles around the dockyard, instead. Then dad took his bad ear(s) back to bed, and mum and Josephine and I took the ferry to Hamilton proper. The ferry was nine US dollars per head return. We found a coffee shop with decent wifi and decent coffee, and I Skyped one of my French students. We then wandered a little, although if we had realised that the shops close at 4 on Saturdays, we might have done things in a different order. Still, pleasant enough and we all love a bit of a boat, so the ferry there and back was fun.
We tried to book onto the little red trolley train excursion for day two, but it was sold out, so we were told to be on the quayside at 9am in case there were any no-shows. There was one glaring no-show. The little trolley train never came. Battery issues, apparently. So, instead, we went on a glass-bottomed boat trip. We went out to one of the reefs and visited the fish that live there and the remnants of the wreck that hit it. We received large glasses of rum punch, which was very yummy, and the loos on board were very civilised!
We learned many things from our guides. The one that stuck was that there is no rule about the colour of your house – and they are all very pretty colours – but your roof must be white. When you build your house here, you start with a cistern in the ground and then run a pipe to the roof. There is no fresh water on Bermuda. Every building, home, restaurant, hotel, has to gather its own rainwater. The rain is acidic, so you must limewash your roof in pure white. That way, as the rain hits the lime, it is neutralised and what flows down into the cistern is perfect drinking water. The way to choose a restaurant is to see whether it has a dirty roof or not. Don’t eat or drink in the ones that do.
We don’t normally stay overnight anywhere, so this was an odd start to Josephine’s cruise experience, but we have decided we rather like Bermuda. They drive on the left, they all speak English and the whole visit was extremely enjoyable.