Now that a more than a month has come and gone in the blink of an eye since my time sailing to Bermuda, I think it’s high time that I fill you all in on one of my favorite vacations ever! Seriously, I’m still thinking about this cruise every single day and it happened at the beginning of the summer.
I spent seven full days on the ship, sailing from Boston to Bermuda with almost two and a half days on the island. Before this trip, I had never been on a cruise and was highly skeptical. If you’re in this camp, let me just erase every doubt you have about cruises because the minute you get on that ship, you absolutely will not want to get off. I thought I’d be the LAST PERSON getting emotional as I packed my bags on the last day of the cruise, but I would have stayed on for three more weeks.
We sailed on the Norwegian Gem, which is one of the older ships in the fleet. It isn’t as big as some of the new ships that you see and definitely did not have any of those crazy ropes courses or water slides, but it definitely served as the perfect home-base for our trip. The crew aboard our ship were incredible people and we had some bartenders that we followed around each night because they made the best drinks. If you’re ever on NCL and have Bernard as your bartender, ask him for a mojito. It’ll be the best one you ever have.
We stayed on the bottom-most deck for rooms with a porthole view and it was much bigger than I had anticipated. The porthole was enough for me to feel like I wasn’t trapped in a tiny room and the room had lots of storage space, which is key. I recommend unpacking everything on your first day and then storing suitcases under the bed.
Pro Tip: Bring a pop-up hamper and put it in the closet. This saved us from feeling messy and disorganized.
Each night, you receive a schedule of events for the next day so that you can plan ahead for all of the activities offered and there are TONS. From cupcake decorating to poolside competitions, you can certainly fill your day with activities. We usually hit one or two to check it out, but mostly spent our days lounging poolside with a drink in hand before getting ready for the evening.
We spent so much time at The Great Outdoors, which was the back deck of the ship consisting of a bar, buffet, and lounge chairs and tables. Sitting back here with a book and the sea-breeze in your hair was just incredible and totally fulfilled the relaxing aspect of this vacation for me. Plus, they had charcuterie and desserts roll out around 3:00 PM every day, which was a major win!
Every night, there were shows or activities in the theater, but we opted to hit the champagne lounge (consisting of a whole lot more than just champagne) most nights for live music turned late-night live music comedy show once 10:00 PM rolled around. If you can snag a seat at a swanky chair and table, be sure to ask for the bar snacks!
After the music died down, we’d pop up to the late night food spot for some wings and drinks before heading to bed. The crispy wings at O’Sheehan’s were the perfect nightcap.
Pro Tip: Ask for the wings with sauce on the side, they come out SO MUCH BETTER this way.
Oh, the FOOD! We used one of our freebies to upgrade to the specialty dining and let me tell you, I’ve been ruined. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to go on a cruise again without having full access to the fancy restaurants.
Each morning was spent on the back deck of the ship overlooking the beautiful blue water while dining buffet-style with a piña colada in hand. The options were endless for breakfast from eggs and toast to charcuterie, pancakes, and specialty pastries. I loved waking up knowing that I’d be lounging on the back deck in the sun for a few hours while eating an amazing meal.
With lunch, the choice was yours of three different buffets. Each day, they prepared a specialty barbecue option poolside with the freshest veggies around.
Every night, we dressed up and enjoyed a three course meal that left you feeling incredibly full but also like you’d just eaten the best food of your life. Since we’d upgraded to specialty dining, we had the opportunity to try four of the five restaurants, but we went back to the French restaurant, Le Bistro, two nights in a row because it was just that good. We also spent two nights dining at each of the other two main dining rooms for non-specialty dining, both of which were excellent.
Our ship docked in Bermuda for two and a half days, which was plenty of time for me. I was enjoying my time so much on the ship, that I was totally ready for the full days at sea when we got back on!
However, Bermuda is absolutely gorgeous and we took time during the days there to see the caves, swim at Horseshoe Bay, and go on a catamaran cruise. I cannot recommend Captain Steve and Rising Son Catamaran enough – this was the highlight of our entire trip!
Pro Tip: We booked our catamaran separately from the excursions on the ship and it totally paid off for us. We saved about $25 a person AND got to go on the catamaran with only 30 people and do some cliff jumping!
Horseshoe Bay was also just a dream. I’ve never been to a more beautiful beach. If you head to Bermuda, make this a priority and find your way there. It’s just breathtaking.
Another unexpected highlight? Calico Jack’s. If your boat docks at Royal Naval Dockyard, you won’t miss this pirate ship on your walk into town. A docked pirate ship turned bar, you can pay $10 for a wristband which allows you access to all of their floats and you can even jump off the plank! We spent our first afternoon here floating around in the water, drink in hand, and it was completely worth it.
All in all, this cruise was fantastic and I’m already looking forward to my next one. Whether it’s a relaxing vacation for two or 25, there is something on the ship to please even the pickiest traveler in your group.