CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- In mid-April, we drove to the Baltimore port and experienced effortless boarding -- dropped off our luggage, parked the car and boarded the Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas -- for a five-day cruise to Bermuda in the Atlanta Ocean islands of Bermuda.
Bermuda is a British territory. Its nearest landmass is Cape Hatteras, N.C., about 640 miles to the west by northwest. Large numbers of leading international insurance companies are based in Bermuda, making the territory one of the world's largest reinsurance centers. Tourism is Bermuda's second-largest industry, with the island attracting more than 500,000 visitors annually.
When planning to visit Bermuda, remember that it is on the same latitude as Savannah, Ga., so the temperatures are not as warm as Caribbean islands.
Visitors are not allowed by the Bermuda government to rent cars or to bring their own motorized two-wheel vehicles, not even for the handicapped or disabled, because roads are narrow with sharp twists. Bermuda is less than 21 square miles in total land area. So the ways to get around are by taxi, bus, ferry and moped or scooter.
I booked a private tour with a guide recommended on CruiseCritic.com message boards. He met us on the dock and provided a five-hour tour of the island in his taxi.
The sights included Somerset Bridge, a lighthouse and private houses.
Somerset Bridge, connecting Somerset Island with the mainland, is the world's smallest drawbridge. Only sailboats pass through it. The narrow strip of water is used mainly for boat tours these days. Somerset Bridge was constructed in 1620. In those days, whenever a small ship needed to pass through, the bridge was raised with a manual crank.
Gibbs Hill Lighthouse is the oldest cast-iron lighthouse in the Western Hemisphere.