Trip Day 5: Bermuda – Cruise Day 3

Trip Day 5: Bermuda – Cruise Day 3

Every day… every hour, every minute…we get just a little bit… older.

Today I’ve officially started my 36th year of existence, and I can’t think of a better way to have spent my birthday than on the island paradise called Bermuda.

We were docked by just a little after 8, and local officials cleared us shortly thereafter. We were joined by the Celebrity Summit, which was docked just behind us; they had arrived shortly before we did.

The plan, at least in the beginning of this trip, was to pick up my scooter and hit Horseshoe Bay before the crowds, then explore the island and end up in Hamilton. This trip is something of an an homage to the last time I was in Bermuda with my mom, and something fun happening on that trip. You can read all about that trip in this post from some time ago.

My day didn’t start off all that great, if I’m honest. I got off the ship around 8:30am, and according to the cycle shop I had my rental booked through, I’d see someone there with a blue sign who would then transport myself and anyone else with a reservation to the location where the cycles were, for us to go from there. Well, that…never actually happened.

I was one of the first few people off the ship, and I saw no indication as to where to wait. I also wasn’t told a time to meet the rep from the bike shop, so I assumed getting off early would be better than missing this person entirely. I checked with a few of the locals and was directed to the spot where people from this particular bike shop usually are, so I waited there….and waited some more….and then, just to vary things up a bit… I waited even more.

I waited about 90 minutes, and never saw anyone from this bike shop. I did see a few thousand people get shuttled off onto various excursions, which immediately got me second-guessing my plans that I’d made and making me wish I’d gone with a preplanned shore excursion. However, I stuck with what I’d planned to do because after all, I’m on vacation and I really don’t have to be anywhere. I mainly came to Bermuda to take pictures, go swimming, and scoot around the island whilst driving on the left. (That’s the really streamlined version…) Luckily, I did get to do all of that, but keep reading for the full details.

Finally, someone from the bike shop came to pick up the cycles that were left there from the previous cruise, and I asked him if someone else was coming and what I should do in order to get my rental. He kindly offered to take me to the bike shop in his truck, but another couple emerged with reservations, so he arranged for us to have a complimentary taxi from the pier to the cycle shop.

We arrived at the cycle shop around 10am, and I was shown to my bike.

I was expecting something along the lines of a “Okay, you’re on Bike #351, be back by a X O’Clock, return it with a full tank of gas, and by the way drive on the left. Have a good day.”  The experience, though, was far better. I met the owner of the shop who, gave me a full 20 minute training session and did a “follow me” type of ride all around the property where the bike shop is. It was incredible. He told me about some of the common mistakes first-time riders make, and how best to avoid them. He was a great teacher, and I will be happily writing positive reviews for the company when I get back home. If you ever want to rent a scooter in Bermuda, go through none other than Elbow Beach Cycles.   Follow all of the instructions on their website to ensure your reservation is booked and confirmed, and get ready for something far better than just an average vehicle rental. Part of my training was to smile! He kept telling me to smile and relax because I’m in Bermuda – he wasn’t used to my normal resting serious-looking-but-totally-happy face. 🙂

After my introductory training, I set out on my way to Horseshoe Bay. For those considering visiting Bermuda, if you’re comfortable riding a bike, driving around on a scooter is something you’ve just got to do. Driving on the left is pretty easy once you get used to it; it took me about 10 minutes.  I found that I just had to think a little harder about intersections, and making right turns into the left lane, etc. The traffic wasn’t that bad, either, so I didn’t have any trouble getting accustomed to it.

Thankfully there were a number of turn off spots from the main road which looked out to beautiful views, much like this one:

After a few obligatory photo op stops, I made it to Horseshoe Bay.

It was crowded and busy, but not annoyingly so. I was able to get a lounger and an umbrella, so I had a spot to lay my stuff down.

It is said that this is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world… I can totally see why.

I swam for a little while, then spotted a number of folks that had hiked up on top of the large rock formation shown on the right side of that picture. The photographer in me figured it might be a great spot for picture taking, and I was not disappointed by any means.

 

After the picture taking extravaganza, I hopped back on the scooter and decided to head towards Hamilton. I didn’t have a turn-by-turn GPS available, since the apps I have don’t have turn-by-turn for Bermuda. I was, however, able to periodically pull over to a safe spot to check my map. After a few wrong turns and some fun exploring, I found my way into downtown Hamilton, the capital city of this beautiful country.

Hamilton is very nice, but very expensive. A menu outside a local eatery showed a burger was around $22, and I found a shop selling a polo-type shirt for $299! I had to double-check the price tag… $299 for a polo shirt. Geez!

I should also mention that once I’d parked my bike, I didn’t have any way to secure my bag in the basket on the back of the bike, so I had to carry the bag with me. I should have thought that through better before taking this trip, because with the stuff I had with me (snorkeling gear, camera, towel, 2 bottles of water) was quite heavy and my back was starting to hurt.  Combine that, with the fact that I was wearing a semi-damp bathing suit and sleeveless shirt I didn’t exactly feel like I was dressed appropriately to be there. I’m sure it wasn’t an issue, but I just wasn’t feeling it.

I opted to head back to the ship since I hadn’t had lunch yet, and it was at least an hour’s drive back to where the ship was docked. I’d done what I wanted to do and had a great time. I didn’t see everything, and that’s good, because I do want to go back to Bermuda and spend at least a few days there to see more of the sights. It had been 15 years, or so, since I’d last been there, so I now have a better idea of how best to plan for my return trip so it goes even better than this one (not that this one was bad by any means).

I returned to the ship and got cleaned up, and grabbed a few small slices of pizza from the onboard pizzeria. I had missed the lunch buffet, since it stopped at 3 and I was back on the ship around 3:15pm. I went to the Schooner Bar for what I thought was an afternoon trivia, and it turned out to be a group Pictionary game. I always enjoy those team types of games, since you can interact with other guests. We played a round of trivia shortly thereafter, and then it was time for dinner.

I had a reservation for Izumi, which is Anthem’s onboard Japanese restaurant. One of the guests I spoke to earlier in the day had mentioned that Izumi didn’t have the hot rock dish I was looking forward to ordering. Basically, a hot rock would be placed in front of you on which you’d cook your own food at your table. I’m told it’s quite good, so when I learned they didn’t have it I was bummed, and was second-guessing my choice for dinner. I was considering going up to the Windjammer, or possibly trying to squeeze in another night at Jamie’s Italian, which was an incredible meal last night.

I decided to stick with my original plans, and got changed for dinner.

I must say, I think I looked quite good in my Diesel jeans and Tommy Bahama linen shirt. I had the ship’s laundry press the shirt, and I now see the benefit in owning and learning how to use an iron… so that’s on my to do list for when I’m back in Austin… but we’re not going to talk about that right now.

I went down to Izumi and figured I’d try something off the menu, and worst case scenario I can always go to the buffet. I figure it doesn’t hurt to live a little… or “YOLO” as the kids are saying these days…. well, kids and some cruise-blogger Floridians I know. 🙂

I couldn’t be happier with my YOLO’ing. My taste buds were having an all-out epic party like I’ve never experienced, and I was loving every minute of it. It was the most delicious meal I’ve had on a cruise ship…ever. Hands down.  I might even go back again tomorrow.

I had Spicy Miso Ramen soup to start with, which was jam packed with flavor. That was followed by Chicken Kara-Age, which seemed to be a breaded chicken served with a spicy dipping sauce… so yummy… and then I had a snow crab California Roll… just writing about it is making me want more!

 

I rounded out my evening with a visit to Two70 for a Royal Caribbean-original production called “Spectra’s Cabaret.” This was a unique show, in that it blended the technological elements of the room (robotic video monitors, large rear projection screen, moving stage elements, etc) with acrobatics and dancing similar to that which I’ve seen from the likes of Cirque du Soleil. It was a very cool experience.

I’m really enjoying this trip… and it’s kind of sad to know tomorrow’s the final day of the cruise, but I’ve got another great leg of this vacation coming up once I get back on land.

I wanted to thank everyone who sent me warm birthday love today, whether in the form of texts or posts on Facebook. I even had crew members on the ship wishing me a happy birthday while ringing me up – I guess it had me flagged in the system as the “birthday boy.”

Either way, it was an incredible day, and I’m so glad I could share it with all of you. Even though you’re not here with me physically, you’re all here with me in spirit and I’m truly grateful and blessed to have all of you in my life.

On that note, see you tomorrow!

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