King’s Wharf cruise port (aka "West End", fka "Royal Naval Dockyard") is located on Bermuda Island's westernmost tip. Port's main cruising season runs from early-April through mid-November. This is the time when at Kings Wharf dock Bermuda's largest cruise liners with regularly scheduled roundtrips from homeports in the USA.
The building of this nay complex started right after the Napoleonic War. Its purpose was to serve as a British military outpost. In 1957, after the US Military had established presence, The facility was turned into tourists destination with shops, museums, restaurants, theater, craft market and center for arts.
Royal Naval Dockyard Bermuda (HMD Bermuda) was British Royal Navy's principal base in the Western Atlantic in the period 1775 through 1947 - or between the American Revolutionary War (1775-83) and the Cold War (1947-1991). The port was used as a provisioning station for many European sail ships en-route to/from North America (the New World) after the settlement was established by England in 1609.
French privateers used the surrounding isles as staging sites for pirate operations against the Spanish galleons during the entire 16th century. In 1818, the Royal Naval Dockyard became British Navy's headquarters for North America and West Indies. After 1957, when most of the navy base was closed, it gradually degraded, mainly due to lack of maintenance and sea storms causing damages to the buildings. In the early-1980s Bermuda started to develop its tourism industry. During that time, the Naval Dockyard was renovated and turned it into a tourist attraction.
Currently, large cruise ships dock regularly at Bermuda's Naval Dockyard (Kings Wharf) during summer. Smaller passenger ships berth here the whole-year round. WEDCO (West End Development Corporation) was established in 1982 as quango (semi-public administrative body) to oversee the development of former Admiralty lands on Boaz, Ireland, and Watford islands.
To serve the foreign visitors, several former warehouses were reconstructed into art shops. A pedestrian mall was opened in the clock tower building. Also here are the Bermuda Maritime Museum and the Dolphin Quest (water attraction), several restaurants. Port's new (second and larger) dock was inaugurated in April 2011 and has capacity to handle world's largest passenger ships.
In 2018, Disney Cruise Line booked its maiden season in Bermuda with MS Disney Magic. The ship was scheduled to dock in King's Wharf via 5-day roundtrips from NYC New York. These voyages were themed as "Halloween On The High Seas Bermuda Cruise", with departure dates October 4, 13 (6-day), 19, 24 and 29. Walt Disney passengers enjoyed 2 full days in port, while the 6-day itinerary offered 3 full port days. The Disney Magic ship was scheduled in arrive in Kings Wharf at 11 am and depart at 3 pm.
For season 2020, the cruise port had 159 ship calls (booked berthings) - out of 197 total cruise ship calls to Bermuda. In 2019, the country handled 185 cruise calls, of which 156 were at Royal Naval Dockyard.
Kings Wharf cruise terminal
King’s Wharf cruise port has two terminals / docks - King’s Wharf and Heritage Wharf. They are located in the port's main area and right next to one another. Both terminals have visitor info centres.
The cruise terminal complex covers around 6 acres. Everything is accessible within an easy walking distance from the pier.
- The only transportation option not available at the terminals is rent-a-car as only Bermuda residents are allowed to drive a car. You can hire scooter or bike.
- At the cruise port there are are also taxis per hour. Rates vary between $30-40. There are taxi ranks at King’s Wharf cruise terminal and near the National Museum.
- The fastest way to explore the are is by ferry. The daily pass for all ferries costs $13. Regularly scheduled ferries run between Kings Wharf and St George’s, Warwick, Hamilton, Paget and Somerset.
- Bermuda Train Company offers daily service every 20 min to different locations.
- The local bus service runs every 15 min near (every hour on Sundays).
Kings Wharf tours, shore excursions, hotels
City Tours and Shore Excursions
- Beaches: there are 34 and they all are unique. Bermuda is famous for its pink sand beaches. They are located on the south shore and are breathtaking.
- Clocktower Mall: the biggest shopping center.
- Dolphin Quest: see, touch and feed a dolphin. You can also watch performances or swim with them.
- Bermuda Maritime Museum: explore everything about the seafaring history in Bermuda.
- The Bermuda Craft Market: the largest marketplace on Bermuda. Buy clothes, glassware, jewellery, woodworks and more.
- Bermuda Rum Cake Bakery: taste those delicious Gosling rum cakes.
- Neptune Theatre: located on Victualling Yard is the cinema.
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