Nice day at sea, Oceania Club party, excellent dinner, docked in Bermuda, the resilient people of Bermuda

Wednesday was a relaxing day at sea. The sea and air temperature warmed up and we enjoyed the time outside as we cruised from New York to Bermuda. Wednesday evening was the Oceania Club party; over 400 of the ~650 passengers on board are repeat passengers, including some folks with ten or more cruises. We got our “bronze” pins before the party for having done five cruises. Before we went to the party we turned in the paperwork for a cruise for 2016 to get the shipboard incentives and chose a 16-day journey from Lima, Peru to New York on Marina that goes through the Panama Canal and will give us four new countries.

We heard during the party that our original docking location in Bermuda (St. George) was problematic due to forecasted winds on Friday afternoon, so the Captain said we would dock at Heritage Wharf (also known as the King’s Wharf area). St. George has a very narrow pass into the harbor, so it can be an issue.

After the party, we went to dinner Wednesday evening in the Grand Dining Room. We invited another couple to join us. I had a free-range chicken remoulade done with fontina cheese and prosciutto and Steve had a veal Bolognese pasta and both entrees were superb. Dessert for me was another amazing pistachio and chocolate thingie (love those combinations).

We slept in Thursday morning and Regatta docked around 11:00 am. Steve didn’t get the alarm set, so we were racing through preparations and of course they varied the times for meal setups for the first time in the cruise. We finally found continental breakfast items in the Horizon Lounge.

Heritage Wharf is attached to the more well-known King’s Wharf, across the bay from Hamilton. This area is at the western and northern tip of the strangely shaped series of attached islands that make up Bermuda (Bermuda looks like a big fishhook). The national museum is located here, with the large British fortress on the spit of land nearby. The wharf area was very nicely laid out and immaculate. We found it hard to believe this island was hit by two hurricanes less than a month ago. We walked around one of the square areas and found a nice art shop and bought a few items. Next to the shop was a pub, the Frog and Onion, and we sat outside for a while and had a snack and drinks (Steve loved the beer). Bermuda is overrun by wild chickens and roosters; they are beautiful birds and several came near us while we ate. Afterwards, we went inside (the pub was very large and quaint) and bought great t-shirts in bright orange and black for Halloween.

We walked back towards the ship and visited another establishment near the ship, striking up a nice conversation with a local family and seeing many crew members relaxing, including Captain Hansen, who waved at us as he passed with a pretty girlfriend in tow! He was wearing a Captain America t-shirt (hilarious).

We got back on board, relaxed for a while and had dinner outside at the Terrace. This morning (Friday), we had our last ship excursion of the cruise, a tour to Hamilton and back. We boarded one of the small pink buses and had fun with our driver/guide C.C. Smith. He seemed very concerned that we wouldn’t like Bermuda because of the hurricane damage, but what we saw was a populace working hard to restore order. You can visit some of the Caribbean hellholes years after a hurricane and still see damage and dilapidation (heck, you can still see that in New Jersey), but the people of Bermuda love their home, have a high standard of living and want it to be picture-perfect. Our bus traveled through villages, across the smallest drawbridge in the world (the opening is wide enough for a sailboat mast) and past many churches. The homes, churches and other buildings are painted in a variety of wonderful colors, including blue, pink, orange, yellow, bright green, cream (with contrasting shutters), purple, and other lovely shades.

The tour stopped at a lighthouse near Horseshoe bay for pictures, then continued on into Hamilton. We had one hour of free time, which seemed nice, but we weren’t sure what to do, since the Main Street is filled with shops and banks and it was too early for a sidewalk cafe. I must make a confession: A few months ago Steve and I did the 23andMe genetic testing, which is primarily for ancestry tagging. However, they did inform me that I had a fragment gene that wasn’t working properly, the one that drives most women into a frenzy when they get near a shopping district (just kidding, but it could be true). My Mom was an inveterate shopper, but I find it to be really boring and follow the apparently male instinct of “go in, buy the target item, leave”. I do like art galleries and folk art and the occasional jewelry store, but clothing/purses/shoes and other ladies accoutrements make me almost panicky.

So we walked a few blocks in Hamilton, took a few pictures, then sat by the waterside near the bus until we left. We really liked Bermuda and would like to come back. We’re sitting in Waves grill outside right now awaiting our departure (pilot was late). The weather is close to perfection right now. Apparently, we might also get rough seas tomorrow on our way to Charleston. We’re supposed to arrive at noon Sunday and we booked a private carriage tour at 2:20 pm (not cheap, at $135 for an hour). I hope we make it on time!

More to come from our last port on Sunday. Oh, and by the way, this has been a very good cruise overall, ranking up there near the top in terms of the experiences. It still isn’t over yet, but we’re pretty happy at this point.

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