Note: Accessibility is different for each person and is not a “one size fits all” concept. This post is a personal experience. Furthermore, it is not all encompassing.
As a port of call on my Disney Cruise Line Cruise and my first time in Bermuda, I was excited to see what the island had to offer.
Most commercial cruise ships dock in the massive Royal Naval Dockyard complex that combines modern family friendly attractions, tourist souvenirs shops, local vendors, and Bermudian history. Sample the famous cakes at Bermuda Rum Cake Company, Bermuda Fudge Co., watch glassblowers at work, rent bikes book snorkeling cruises, mini golf and deep-water dolphin encounters, all in one place. Overall, the sidewalks in this area and all of the stores and attractions that I visited, were accessible via my power chair. The only downside is that some of the sidewalk are not convenient and not easy to find once you get close to mall area.
The Royal Naval Dockyard is also a hub to get to the rest of the island. The tourist information center is relatively accessible (no accessible doors) and navigable. You can obtain tickets for public transport here, maps and suggestions for things to do around the island. Directly outside of the tourist information is the ferry dock. Bermuda’s public ferries are easily accessible from the Hamilton Ferry Terminal, the ferry dock at Royal Naval Dockyard, and the Rockaway ferry point in Southampton. There is also limited accessibility for the dock at St. George’s, rarely on Sunday. There are removable ramps that the crew can assist with in order to embark and disembark. There are also outlets under some of the indoor window seats on the ferry if you need to plug in an electric wheelchair on your short ferry ride.
Bermuda public buses are not accessible. There are FEW paid shuttles and even fewer wheelchair accessible taxis that are located at the Dockyard. The ones that are, have clear handicap symbol labels on them. However, when we needed a taxi, as an ambulatory wheelchair user, the driver and another person volunteered to lift my chair into the trunk of the taxi van. Impressive!
We took a taxi to the glass sand beach, however from the road to the beach are steps flights of steps that I was unable to navigate so I could not see the actual beach. Note- if you are going to Horseshoe Bay Beach, shuttles and the public bus only drop you off on the road, which is a far walk for many of those who are disabled. If you have limited mobility, although it is the more expensive option, take a taxi.
The island has a distinctive blend of British and American culture, which can be found in the capital, Hamilton. My family and I took a 15 minute ferry ride from the Dockyard to Hamilton for a local food festival event. Almost all of the sidewalks near the ferry stop are accessible. There was one that I encountered that wasn’t and two festival workers lifted me and my chair off the curb for me so that I could get where I wanted to go. Most of the stores in Hamilton were closed, as we visited on a Sunday. However, all of the ones were navigable in my power chair although aisles and items are close together.
The best part of Bermuda for me was the culture. Most people were VERY friendly and willing to help make things accessible to myself and my family. Furthermore, you cannot beat the blended cuisine and drinks on this amazing island paradise.