Sail Away To Paradise… Commonly Known As Bermuda
By Angela Ash
Ok… we have all seen at least one repeat of The Love Boat, whether it was yesterday or ten years ago. Wow, could a cruise vacation really be that romantic? Is it possible to be on a boat with hundreds of other people and still find the privacy that a couple wants on their honeymoon?
The answer to those two questions is quite simple: YES… especially onboard a Norwegian Cruise Line ship. So what are you waiting for? Welcome aboard!
I mean, let’s face it. A honeymoon is (hopefully) a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This is one “vacation” that you can’t leave up to the wheel of fate and “hoping everything works out when we get there”. The wrong destination, a bad hotel, and undesirable dinner experiences could really put a damper on your idea of “paradise”. So why take that chance?
From the moment I stepped onto NCL’s Majesty, I let out a very relieved breath. I am one of those people who stresses over everything before hand. Will the bed be soft? Will there be a nice lobby? Will everything be clean? PLEASE let there be good food.
As soon as we began the sign in process (which was extremely quick and painless), I could tell that this cruise thing was a good idea. I totally eavesdropped on the couple in front of us, who were saying that this was the SIXTH time that they had been on this ship. They went on to rave about the activities and the food, and I am quite certain that I heard something about “more chocolate than anyone could possibly eat”. I was definitely happy… and hungry.
I was nearly skipping to my room, which was in an awesome location… close to everything, but not too close to HEAR everything. The area was a lot more spacious than I expected. There was plenty of room to move about, and loads of closet and drawer space. And yes… the bed was comfy. Oh joy!
But no time for sleep. I swear I could smell food, and I decided to find it.
The Majesty has a slew of places to eat, whether for a nice, sit-down dinner, or burgers and hot dogs on the deck. It really is a great set up, because some days you may be anxious to disembark, and you might want to grab something off the buffet, or one day you might want to relax over coffee and a delectable breakfast, while looking out the window at the sea… or at beautiful, beautiful, beautiful (wait… add at least 10 more of the word “beautiful”) Bermuda.
Now comes the best part. You can wear whatever you want. You can eat whenever you want. No… I repeat… NO reservations. When NCL says “freestyle cruising”, they mean it. Of course, there are certain times you can eat at certain places, and sometimes the men must wear slacks, but no stuffy host is standing at the restaurant entrance, tapping his foot and waiting to chastise you because you are twenty minutes late for your dinner reservation. Let’s be serious. Sometimes it is completely unavoidable. Sometimes it is not possible to tear yourself away from the heat of the sun and the water gently lapping at your toes. Sometimes you mentally tell yourself that no one will care if you are twenty minutes late for dinner. Well, NCL sure doesn’t care if you are late for your reservation. Oh wait… WHAT reservation?
Did I mention room service?
And what better way to spend the time after a wonderful gourmet dinner than to go see a show? Let me tell you, the Majesty is not lacking in the entertainment category. See anything from comedians to routines that one would expect to see on Broadway. Sit back, order a drink, and rest up, because you’re not ready to go to bed… yet.
Go relax in a quiet corner and have a glass of wine, or dance the night away in one of the many bars and clubs onboard. Lots of ships claim to have something for everyone’s taste, but these people mean it.
Remember when we were asking if there is a bit of privacy amongst the crowd? Well, this is where that part comes in. Find a cozy, quiet corner and watch the waves hit against the side of the ship, find a table on a deserted deck, take a quiet swim while everyone else is at dinner, or snuggle up in your room and watch a movie.
Let’s not forget about Bermuda. After all, you do actually go somewhere on this cruise, even though one could definitely sail about for a week with plenty to do, plenty to eat, and plenty to see.
The ship docks at the island of St. George, which has all of the charm of something quite decidedly British… without the transatlantic flight and the bad airplane food. You could easily stroll around the city for days, visiting museums and shops. Take in the unfinished cathedral, visit the Tucker House Museum, or take one of the pink buses into Hamilton or King’s Wharf and see a vast array of other sights.
However, when one thinks about Bermuda, it is usually about her beaches… pink sand and turquoise waters. These are truly the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen, and the diversity is amazing. Visit a more tourist-oriented beach like Tobacco Bay (located within walking distance from the dock, or get away from the crowds at John Smith’s Bay, or one of the beautiful little coves scattered between the pink sands of Horseshoe Bay and Warwick Long Bay. It is completely possible to stumble upon a patch of sand and beautiful water, without another human in sight. What could be more romantic?
The Norwegian Cruise Line offers many itineraries for the port of Bermuda. Since I took my escape to paradise, the Majesty now sails to Bermuda from Charleston, which is even close enough for a road trip. The Dream will be sailing from Boston… which is a destination in itself.
If you’ve always wanted to visit Boston, it is a wonderful port. There is so much history packed into this compact city, perfect to see on foot… or with the help of the Old Town Trolley. You can pay one price, and hop on and off as much as you like. It is perfect for sightseeing! Or if you are looking for something a bit more romantic, try Spirit Cruises, and see Boston from the harbor, while enjoying lunch, dinner, or dancing. A trip to the New England Aquarium should also not be missed! The penguin area is amazing, and I still get chills when I think about the sharks. Speaking of chills, Haunted Boston offers a wonderful night time walking tour, packed full of history and those special moments when you want to grip your loved one tight!
Now where to lay your head without your beautiful cruise ship? Well, the Hotel 140 is a more than welcoming substitute. This establishment offers stunning Back Bay views, and is in a very convenient area... just steps away from one of the Old Town Trolley stops. The rooms are modern, yet comfortable, and the staff is always friendly and willing to point you in the right direction.
Hotel 140 - 1-866-451-1440 - www.hotel140.com
Old Town Trolley - 1-800-868-7482 – www.historictours.com
Spirit Cruises – 1-866-310-2469 – www.spiritcruises.com
The New England Aquarium – 617-973-5200 - www.neaq.org
Haunted Boston - 617 - 605 – 3635 - www.hauntedboston.com
Now, if you still aren’t ready to go home, take a ferry over to Salem and stay the night! And yes, I have the perfect spot. The Salem Waterfront Hotel is fabulous! It has a nautical décor, and the rooms are enormous! It is also walking distance from the ferry depot and the many attractions that Salem has to offer.
Do not leave Salem without seeing the legendary House of the Seven Gables, made famous by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Also visit the many museums depicting Salem’s vast and often mysterious past. For a good taste of Salem’s paranormal side, contact Spellbound Tours. They offer a museum, a ghostly parlor, and a night time walking tour. And as a perk, Spellbound Tour is owned and operated by Mollie Stewart, a certified parapsychologist, whom you may have seen recently on the Travel Channel. This was by far my best experience in Salem… walking through the historic streets with the moon high above, hearing tales retold in such a spirited narrative that I had permanent goose bumps.
Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites – 1-888-337-2536 - www.salemwaterfronthotel.com
Spellbound Tours – 978-745-0138 - www.spellboundtours.com
When considering your honeymoon, don’t take any chances. Leave it in the hands of a professional. I have heard way too many horror stories about the hotel that did not look anything like the pictures online. This is your HONEYMOON. Don’t risk it.
You may visit Norwegian Cruise Line online at www.ncl.com, or you may even contact them at 1-800-392-3472 to inquire about their wedding packages. (Yes… NCL does weddings!