Bermuda Day was formerly known as Empire Day or Heritage Day and, in the past, was held mainly to celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday, just like Canada. When Bermuda gained its independence, the holiday became known as Commonwealth Day and now marks the beginning of summer on the island. All shops are closed and there isn’t a taxi to be found. Here’s what the ship program has to say about the Bermuda Day parade:
“The Parade includes performances by the Gombey Dancers, group dances, traditional Bermuda bands, dance trucks, musicians, floats, pageant queens, community groups and many other diverse attractions. You will see floats intricately decorated with flowers and vegetation showing themes such as landscapes, cultures, produce, etc. The designers work on floats for weeks to bring out the island’s unique and natural themes.” Hmmmm….we thought most of the floats were decorated with palm fronds.
It was a busy day and quite interesting. Once again we started with breakfast in our room and then went up to the Lido deck to watch the 1/2 marathoners coming into the finish line on Front St., near the bow of the ship. When G & N joined us, we all went down to the Promenade Deck (6th floor) to get seats at the starboard side railing to watch more of the racers and wait for the Bermuda Day parade to begin. The deck was quite busy but, as luck would have it, they were putting out more chairs just when we arrived, right in front of the bar, which was set up on the deck.
People had their canopy tents set up along both sides of the street. The day before, we had seen names printed along the curbs, which we now surmised was where people had reserved spots for their tents. There was a main announcement stage where an ‘MC’, a young lady, was speaking from as well as leading line dances out on the street. There was lots of excitement out on the street as parade time neared.
Geoff and I went up to the Lido deck to pick up tacos, burgers and hot dogs for lunch, so we wouldn’t miss anything once the parade started at 1:30. We sure didn’t miss much! For the first hour or so, there was 1 1971 Toyota, a police car, 3 shopping carts, 2 police walking and that was about it. After a while, a marching band came along and quite a while after that, something else showed up, but I can’t remember what. Oh, the Department of Corrections had a float, but it was not decorated with inmates! After getting a few pictures, I stopped paying attention and started doing laps around the deck – 4 laps = 1 mile. I did 6 laps.
The floats kept coming, and coming, and coming, but there was quite a gap between each one, so a parade that could have taken an hour or so stretched into about 4 hours. As the Cruise Director asked later in the evening, “Did you enjoy the 10 hour parade?”. The people stayed on the street and the music continued for hours after the parade ended.
Later on, the Lido Deck was set up for a Bermuda Day BBQ with tons of food: ribs, chicken, fish, beef, shrimp, baked potatoes, rice, all sorts of salads and desserts. There was an acoustic guitarist /singer playing for a while, who was very good, followed by a guy playing the steel drum. The bar servers were pushing rum drinks – buy 1 get the 2nd for $1. Later on they brought the Gombey dancers in for a performance, which was very entertaining.
Out on the deck for a few after dinner sunset photos:
That was it for that day. It had been a long one, so we were all tired and wanted to get a good night’s sleep to be ready for our private island tour.