King’s Wharf, Bermuda, Our First Port of Call

Our first port of call was King’s Wharf, Bermuda, on the third day of our cruise.  Tom and I had never been to Bermuda before and were looking forward to exploring.  Unfortunately, the morning we were supposed to go into Bermuda, my knee gave out.  It felt very similar to when I tore my ACL.  I couldn’t tell if it was my hip or my knee, but I knew I couldn’t walk.  That will throw a wrench into going ashore.  Tom and I went to Guest Services and were able to rent a wheelchair.  Tom kept telling me that it didn’t matter what I couldn’t do, it only mattered what I could.  And I could certainly enjoy Bermuda in a wheelchair with Tom pushing me along.

Bermuda is a British Territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. The closest land outside the territory is in the American state of North Carolina, approximately 643 mi to the west-northwest.  In other words, it isn’t really close to anywhere.  Bermuda is an archipelago consisting of 181 islands, although the most significant islands are connected by bridges and appear to form one landmass. It has a land area of 21 square miles.

Bermuda is named after Spanish explorer Juan de Bermúdez, who discovered the archipelago in 1505. The islands have been permanently inhabited since 1612 when an English settlement was established at St. George’s. The first African slaves were taken to Bermuda in 1616, but a full plantation economy did not develop, and the slave trade largely ceased by the end of the 17th century. The economy instead became maritime-focused, with the colony serving as a base for merchants, privateers, and the Royal Navy.  It became an imperial fortress, the most important British naval and military base in the western hemisphere, with vast funds lavished on its Royal Naval Dockyard and military defenses. Tourism has been a significant contributor to Bermuda’s economy since the 19th century, and after World War II the territory became a prominent offshore financial center and tax haven.

Tom finds a cannon

Our ship docked at King’s Wharf, next to the Royal Navy Dockyard.  Tom and I wanted to see the National Museum of Bermuda so we bought tickets ahead of time and had them on my phone.  Tom did a great job of pushing me around the Museum which was built on several levels on a hill.  Not exactly ADA compliant.  He certainly got a workout, but he did it with humor and grace and didn’t make me feel like a burden.  In fact, we spent a lot of time laughing about the ups and downs.

Commissioner’s House

The National Museum of Bermuda was very interesting, with different exhibits in the different sections of the Keep.  We were able to explore most of them, thanks to an elevator in the Commissioner’s House on the highest level of the hill.  We learned about Bermudan history and, of course, Tom found lots of cannons.

After we saw everything at the museum, we headed to the King’s Wharf shopping area.  It was a busy place with lots of restaurants and shops set up to welcome tourists.  The Nieuw Statendam carries 2,600 passengers and another ship, the Norwegian Escape, was also docked.  They are a much larger ship and carried 5,000 passengers.  All of us getting off the ship and exploring the area at the same time.  We picked up a map of the Royal Navy Dockyard, which helped us know where things were, and then Tom pushed me everywhere.

King’s Wharf from the ship
Tom makes a new friend
The Bermuda short store

We found some interesting shops, such as the Bermuda Triangle Shop, which does not sell triangles.  Tom was very disappointed.  I could not find a demitasse spoon, which is my souvenir of choice when we are traveling.  Small and easy to fit in an over-stuffed suitcase.  I might have been able to find one if I could walk, but it was hard to look at things from the wheelchair.

Bermuda Triangle Shop but no triangles

Our stop in Bermuda was relatively short.  We got off the ship at 9, when the museum opened, and got back on the ship around 1 because I was hungry and wanted lunch.  Stopping at cruise ports is a little like having appetizers instead of a meal.  You have to pick and choose what to see in a limited time and then you can go back on another trip for a longer stay.

Tom and I enjoyed our time in Bermuda very much.  Even though I was in a wheelchair, Tom made it fun and we laughed a lot.  The day was beautiful and learning the history was very interesting.