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bookbabe

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About bookbabe

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Toronto, ON
  • Interests
    Disney, Reading, warm vacation spots
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    NCL, Disney
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Grand Cayman

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  1. I would wait until much closer to your cruise to book something, to see what companies are still around by then. The lack of land and cruise tourists is causing hardships for the tour (and other) companies there, and some are closing permanently.
  2. You might squeak in under the wire, but no guarantees. Their cruise ship ban starts Monday. https://www.caymancompass.com/2020/03/13/breaking-schools-close-cruise-ships-banned-to-prevent-coronavirus-spread/
  3. There are three usual “terminals” where tenders let you off, but they are all within about 100 yards of each other. Just ask a staff person at the exit of the fenced area for directions if you can’t spot the Waterfront Centre building easily from where you are. (It should be to the left of the exit, it’s just how far that will vary.) However, in bad weather ships will anchor outside of town at Spotts, and then you’ll need to take a taxi shuttle into town. You’ll know you are at Spotts if you get off the ship and you are not in the middle of a busy downtown area. 😉
  4. See the two posts immediately preceding yours.
  5. The backlash was resolved within a couple days and Carnival ships have been stopping in Cayman since then. Only two ships had their routes changed to miss Cayman.
  6. You want Public Beach, next to Calico Jack’s. Playground, rental chairs/umbrellas/watersports, food and drinks, restrooms, etc. Snorkeling is only mediocre, but at that age the kids won’t likely care. Hop a taxi or bus to get there and back. Shopping is all around the port area, so can be done when you return before lining up for the tenders. Not sure if Calico Jacks has wifi, though. You’ll have to ask when you get there. A few places near the port have it (there’s signs) or Burger King (halfway between the port and Public Beach) has it if you just need to make a quick stop to check social media and such.
  7. One MSC ship was turned away, is what I saw in the news, due to a crew member who was sick with flu-like symptoms. Same ship was also turned away from another port the day before. https://www.caymancompass.com/2020/02/26/updated-cayman-turns-away-cruise-ship-amid-coronavirus-concerns/ Considering there’s 2-6 ships a day, I’d say it’s an isolated incident. You should be fine unless your ship has illness on board when you get there, and if you do you’ve got bigger issues than missing a port...
  8. The most popular/famous attraction is Stingray City, which is a sandbar out in the ocean that you visit by boat and you can swim/snorkel with wild stingrays. You need an excursion for that, and you will find many threads in this forum recommending companies to use. Cayman is not your typical Caribbean port. It’s very safe to DIY, and many visitors rent a car to tour the island or just grab a taxi to one of the areas of Seven Mile Beach to have a DIY beach day. Shopping is downtown right by the port, and includes a lot of high-end products or tacky tourist souvenirs. There is also snorkeling right by the port (walking distance) at Eden Rock. It’s not like some of the other ports where you really have to have a tour for safety’s sake. So, no, you don’t have to hire a guide, but you can book something if you want an easier experience that involves less planning. The one exception to DIY is the stingrays, you can’t get there without a boat, so that absolutely requires booking something when visiting via cruise ship. Island tours are available through many companies, and you’ll find lots of recommendations in this forum. For example, Cayman Safari has some that go out to the east end of the island, away from the port and main tourist areas. https://www.caymansafari.com Note on the snorkel/beach combo - what makes for great beach generally makes for lousy snorkeling, and vice versa. There are a few spots that have okay beach and okay snorkeling, such as Smith Cove or Rum Point, but they’re not the long stretches of white sandy beach that you’d see on tv. Rum Point needs a rental car, but you could taxi to Smith Cove. Again, lots of threads here on both those spots. IMO, your first step should be either reading the other threads in this forum, or doing a quick “what to do in Grand Cayman” google to try to narrow down a bit exactly what you are interested in doing or seeing. If an island tour, what attractions/sites do you want to visit? Beach day? Snorkel excursion? Stingrays? Some other attraction? You won’t be able to see/do it all, not on a one day port stop. Then, come back with your preferred activities and see if anyone has recommendations related to that activity.
  9. You do not need to walk through Kimpton Seafire to get to Calico Jacks. That will take longer, especially if coming from the port. Take a bus or taxi to Public Beach. Calico Jacks is on the far side of the parking lot/beach, between Public Beach and the Seafire.
  10. Calico Jacks is by Public Beach. Sea Grape was more or less next door to Public Beach, and is now the Kimpton Seafire hotel which does NOT allow cruise ship visitors.
  11. They’ll happily stop wherever. When you board, just let the driver know where you want to get off and they’ll pull over to let you off at that location. There aren’t really any fixed stops.
  12. Most of the gift shops near the port will have stuffed turtles and stingrays, as well as kids’ t-shirts and hats, etc. There are also children’s picture books by local authors in many of the gift shops. Try Blue Iguana or Too Hot, they both have a wide assortment of stuff. http://blueiguanasouvenirs.com https://www.ecayonline.com/too-hot-latitude-19-george-town-cayman-islands_company6525.html?fbclid=iwar0btvcx8r-cw0kabsjem6w6ym21zg79zghdww8t60j0zjjkzktqhyr7iqo If you want to venture a bit further from the port, the bookstore at Camana Bay has a wide selection of unique children’s books and toys. https://camanabay.com/grand-cayman-shopping/books-books/
  13. I’d use Google Maps to plot all those places out. Most are nowhere near each other. For example, Rum Point and Starfish Point are about 45 min from the port, and Macabuca is about 30 min from port (depending on traffic) in the exact opposite direction. The blowholes are in kind of the same direction as Rum Point from the port, but not on the same road (about 15 min out of the way and then 15 min back to the road to Rum Point). Traffic can be an issue, and you’ll want to leave yourself extra time to get back so you don’t miss the ship. You will likely want to skip anything downtown near the port during the time you have the Jeep, parking can be a bit problematic and anything near the port is easier to access on foot. Along the road to Rum Point are the botanical gardens, the Crystal Caves, and Over the Edge restaurant, and more or less on the way is Pedro St James historical site. The best beaches on your list are Rum Point and Smith Cove. Starfish Point is also a good beach area. If you want to actually spend any amount of time at your stops, you’re going to have to narrow down your wish list and probably stick with one general direction to explore.
  14. Sunshine Suites is NOT beachfront.
  15. FWIW, Stingray City involves wild stingrays out in the ocean, and is usually combined on tours with snorkeling stops at reefs to see additional wild marine life. And the better tour operators only have a couple dozen people on the boat, max, so you’re not with thousands of people staring at animals in a basin. Fatfish takes you by jetski, one of the best tours for “no crowding” imo. But, if those options are out, you’re left with: - beach day - generic island tour by land - Pedro St James historic site - Queen Elizabeth botanical gardens - Crystal Caves - museum (downtown, no tour needed) - beach day farther afield someplace like Rum Point Try https://www.caymansafari.com
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