Bermuda vs Bahamas?

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A coworker came up to me earlier today and told me him and the wife were thinking of going on a cruise next June, but they were torn on two destinations — Bahamas or Bermuda.

I have never been to Bermuda, but our show contributor Anne Campbell has. So I asked Anne if she would be kind enough to do a compare and contrast.

Should I visit Bermuda or the Bahamas?

By Anne Campbell

If you live in the northeast and are trying to decide between two itineraries, two obvious choices are Bahamas and Bermuda. Aside from the fact that they’re both islands and originally settled by the British, I can’t imagine two destinations more different.

When you step off a cruise ship in Bermuda, what quickly becomes apparent is that it’s one of the most affluent places on earth. Throughout the island are magnificent homes on lawns so perfectly manicured you won’t see a blade of grass out of place. The island is spectacularly beautiful and for some, almost too perfect. If you love golf there are world-class courses, the pink sand beaches are delightful and there are still remnants of early British settlements.

But if you want lively nightlife and gambling, head for the Bahamas because these things don’t exist in Bermuda – there are a few pubs and restaurants but it’s a decidedly conservative and sedate. Men really do wear Bermuda shorts (with socks and loafers) in this island paradise where life is little changed since the 1960’s.

Cruise ships have been calling in Nassau and Freeport for decades. While I don’t think either town is particularly attractive or well-kept and there are signs of poverty, the Bahamas does excel in gambling, hard partying and water sports. While you can snorkel and dive in both destinations, the warmer waters of the Bahamas provide a more spectacular underwater panorama.

Cruise ships typically spend the day in port when visiting the Bahamas. However, in 2010, four ships will be sailing on one-week New York/Bermuda itineraries spending three days in port. If this seems too long, I recommend picking an itinerary that combines a day in Bermuda with Caribbean or Canadian ports.

Anne Campbell is editor of Cruising From New York.

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