Early in the morning, we arrived on Grand Cayman. Tender is required here. Instead of using the lifeboat to go ashore, Grand Cayman provides little boats to bring the passengers ashore and back. We decided that it would be a beach day. Grand Cayman is a limestone island lying very low on the ocean that it’s invisible until you get very close to it. It’s also as flat as a pancake, which was a change from the rolling hills of St-Martin and the green mountains of St-Thomas. Now, I know lots of people booked excursions to the turtle farm or stingray city but we didn’t. You can also go to Hell and send a postcard to your family and friends and tell them you’ve through there and back! Our main attraction of the day will be 7 Mile Beach (which is not 7 miles long, by the way). As you all know, Cayman Islands are an offshore fiscal paradise and its inhabitants are amongst the most well off inhabitants of the Caribbean. Georgetown is a small town where probably half of its buildings are banks. Everything is tidy and it seems that if you want to take a land vacation here, the package will be pretty slick. We found out that the "bus" stop is by the Library so, after a little walk along the shops (it is so weird to see a Christmas tree in a tropical paradise) we reach the Library. The buses are in fact mini-vans that run when someone comes in and take people along the way. On our way, we notice the numerous hotel, resorts and villas build along the beach. This is really the tourism center of gravity of Grand Cayman.
Seven Mile Beach
Our driver finally drops us. Verdict? Seven Mile Beach is really lovely. Despite having three ships in port, the beach was not crowded (most people probably went on excursions). Now, this is not really a palm tree lined beach, it is more of a big stretch of sand surrounded by pines, flowers and bushes. And those pines seem to attract a lot of visitors since we were entertained by some songbirds. Which are numerous and very vocal. The water was warm and calm, the sun was playing peek-a-boo with the clouds… a nice place for a beach day. Justin and I will soon go on our "coral hunt" (don’t worry folks, I’m talking about dead corals). We never really were into the "bring a souvenir T-shirt" thing. We like to bring things that are really part of our destination. And since Grand Cayman is made of limestone, we will bring back coral and seashells. After a few hours of beach, it was almost time to go (the ship leaves quite early to go to our next destination). Back at the Library, I have a little chat with people working here and a gentleman, who wants me to remind you how Cayman people are nice, absolutely wants to have his picture with me. I’m more than happy to oblige. Just by curiosity, Justin drops by Nova Scotia bank to see what it takes to open an account. Turns out Nova Scotia is just a facade and is not related to the Canadian bank, they just own the name (talk about weird combinations). Not much remains of the old Georgetown and all the buildings are quite new but you can find some pretty, old buildings here and there. One of them being the Museum of the Cayman Islands, which is just by the pier. As we go back, we notice the line is HUGE!!! And it will get even bigger after us. Hopefully, things are moving fast and after 10-15 minutes of standing in line, we‘re in the tender. We came back just right on time as the weather was becoming cloudier. Back in our cabin for a quick shower, the first thing we noticed was an invitation from the captain. As a member of the Captain’s Club (that happens after your first cruise), we were invited on Friday for a special cocktail offered by the captain for his gala dinner night. It’s those kind of things that make you feel like you’re special.
As we dropped by the Horizon Court to grab a bite to eat, we discovered the ice-cream bar… Remember, there is an ice-cream stand by the Neptune pool, unfortunately, it is not free since it’s an Haagen-Dazs concession but, I guess Princess got enough complaints and instated an mini ice-cream buffer with vanilla and chocolate ice-cream, whipped cream, chocolate and caramel fudges and different kind or thingies to sprinkles. That happens between 3.30 and 5.50 and probably is the busiest station of the whole buffet. So busy that on the last day of cruise, they had ran out of ice cream! I decided to find a cozy spot on the terrace to read while waiting for the departure. As the ship moved, Grand Cayman disappeared quickly behind the horizon… off we were to sunny Mexico.
That night, we decided to go see "Road to Perdition" at the Vista Lounge. Again, it is recommended to arrive early if you don’t want to have your view blocked by a pillar (and if you want to find a place to sit). After the movie, we decided to try our luck again at the Casino but… it got even worse and we decided to avoid the place from this moment on.
In brief: Grand Cayman is a pretty relaxing place. Not spectacular but it has everything most people expect from a port-of-call: nice excursions (stingray city, Hell, the turtles farm…), nice beach, good shopping… But nothing that really makes it special though. Although most people enjoyed because it’s not too "exotic".