I stood on the deck of the ms. Paradise and watched Georgetown, Grand Cayman come into view. Other cruise ships were already anchored in the blue waters closer to the island, and soon, ours would join them so we could be ferried from the vessel to shore. The sun beat down on me as I stood watching the land draw nearer and nearer. The message was clear – it was going to be a hot day. Yet, I didn’t mind. Just a few days before the cruise my vehicle was slipping and sliding on an ice covered driveway, struggling to reach the safety of the road so I could drive to the airport, escape to Florida and board the cruise ship for a week at sea. No, that blinding hot sun was a welcome relief from the February winter back home.
This year was my third cruise on Templeton Tour’s Singing at Sea – a themed cruise that features Southern Gospel Music, Christian Comedy and Biblical Preaching. Some of my other posts about the cruise focus on the music and atmosphere on board the ship, but I wanted to devote this post to the first port of call we visited, Grand Cayman, for the travel section of my website.
When deciding what to do on the island, I had friends recommend a visit to the Turtle Farm or the excursion out to the sandbar where you can feed and swim with stingrays, but for this trip, our trio opted for a nice walk on Seven Mile Beach and some shopping before riding the choppy tender boat back to the ship. And why not? Seven Mile Beach is a must see for visitors to Grand Cayman and one of the features the island is known for.
From the cruise terminal, it’s quite a walk to Seven Mile Beach and we wanted to save our energy for the sand, so we took a shuttle ($2 per person) down the road a few miles to where they let us off at one of the public entrances. Grand Cayman is property of England and I had my first experience riding in a vehicle that drove on the opposite side of the road! At the drop off, we paid a fee to access the beach and walked across a nice tiled entrance sandwiched between two resorts that led to the sand and water. This was Caribbean living!
The beach was everything you could dream of and pictures do not do it justice! The sand is pure white, light and fluffy. There weren’t many shells where we walked and the beach was clean. Turquoise water gently lapped against the shore as people frolicked in the water and jet-skis bobbed in the waves, silently begging to be rented. Further down the shore, we saw a Pelican dive straight down into the water and scoop up his catch. We saw several Pelicans do this and I even videoed a clip of it on my phone. Our walk on the beach was a relaxing way to spend the day – there’s nothing like clear water washing over your feet to remind you that life is good!
After taking the shuttle back to the cruise terminal area, we enjoyed walking around and looking in the shops. Though its true most sell the same stuff, you can easily find a souvenir that fits your taste. There’s everything from T-shirts to Christmas ornaments, magnets, postcards, décor, jewelry and just about everything you can imagine. My friend, Esther, blessed my sister and I by buying us each a bracelet in one of the shops. Mine has turtles that connect all the way around with purple, blue and turquoise on the shells – the turtle is the national symbol of Grand Cayman. Every time I look at it I’m reminded of our visit to the island!
While we ladies walked the beach and shopped, Esther’s husband went on the diving excursion. Grand Cayman is one of the best diving destinations in the world and he enjoyed his journey to the “lower parts of the earth.” I don’t know much about diving myself, but I was fascinated to hear how the group dived 70 feet on the shelf of the Cayman Trough. He said you could look off the shelf down into the drop-off and you couldn’t see anything it was so dark down there! It’s also the third deepest place on earth. He said the water was quite warm, around 80 degrees, even at the bottom.
Things To Know…
Grand Cayman has its own currency, worth .20 cents more than the American dollar and all the shops take American money.
You can rent a moped to get around the island yourself but this is not recommended. The roads are backwards compared to what we’re use to and unless you know the laws of the land, it can be really easy to get in an accident. Be safe and take a taxi or shuttle!
Grand Cayman has duty free shopping!
Seven Mile Beach has been rated the #1 beach in the world by U.S. News & World Report.
For a list of the “Top 10 Things To Do” in Grand Cayman, visit Trip Advisor’s website here —> “Trip Advisor’s Top 10”
Interested in local history? A well written history of Grand Cayman can be found on the islands website here —> Cayman History
If you are thinking about visiting Grand Cayman, there is a helpful list of things to know about the island at this website —> Helpful Tips
Conclusion: We only had a few hours to spend on Grand Cayman before our ship left port, but we enjoyed our time at the beach and looking around the shops. As we walked along Seven Mile Beach the thought crossed my mind, “I could stay here for a week and never get tired of looking at that water.” And it’s true. This is one destination that isn’t over-rated. There are plenty of activities to do on the island – add that to a breath taking view of the Caribbean Sea for the times you want to relax on the sand and you have a destination you’ll want to visit more than once. I for one, look forward to a time when I can go back and maybe see some of the sights on the island.