October is a super exciting month in the cruise industry. It’s when everyone who loves to cruise comes together to celebrate Plan a Cruise Month: a whole month devoted to everything to do with cruising and the perfect time of year for you to plan your own cruise – especially as there are loads of fantastic offers and incentives available throughout the whole month. This year, the theme of Plan a Cruise Month is ‘destinations’, and I thought I’d tell you about Grand Cayman, one of my very favourite cruise destinations, by having a reminisce of my own lovely trip there, on assignment for Cruise International with Charlie.
We actually started our cruise from Galveston, Texas, which was incredibly exciting, but you’ll find cruises with itineraries featuring Grand Cayman (often labelled ‘Western Caribbean’) departing from Tampa, Miami, Ft Lauderdale and even New Orleans (this one’s on my cruise bucket list). Gorgeous Grand Cayman is the largest of the three Cayman Islands, and if you’re considering visiting, I’ve got a few must-do adventures for you while you’re in port:
Explore on your own
Don’t be afraid to go ‘off piste’ when visiting a destination. If none of the excursions appeal to you, or you’d rather spend time on your own as a family or with a group of friends, then a bit of research will often uncover other wonderful ways to spend time when you’re in port. The tourist board is always a great place to start and will give you great advice on everything from where to shop to how to get a taxi to beautiful spots like Rum Point or Seven Mile Beach. We took the tender from our ship into the pretty port of Grand Cayman and from there, joined a smaller boat that we’d arranged privately with a local charter company called Epic Divers. Our skipper, Pete, was friendly and knowledgable, and after suggesting a few interesting spots, we headed off on our own private Grand Cayman adventure.
Visit Stingray City
Pete took us out to a sandbar, known locally as ‘Stingray City’. The waist-high water is crystal clear and beautiful pale turquoise, and as you stand nervously clutching your piece of squid, suddenly you’re surrounded by beautiful rays that will actually take the food straight out of your hand. It’s an experience not to be missed and definitely one that is better done in a small group.
Meet the locals at Starfish Point
Next, Pete took us to a beautiful, secluded peninsula called Starfish Point. As the name suggests, the ocean floor was dotted with bright orange starfish, and we spend time lazing in the warm water, wandering the gorgeous beach and even diving from the side of the boat.
Da Fish Shack
After a busy day of swimming, sunbathing and exploring, we headed to Da Fish Shack – a wonderfully authentic, historic restaurant that has been on North Church Street since the 1930s when it was constructed from an old fishing vessel, the Cali. It’s the best place to sip a beer and nibble on delicious fish tacos and ceviche, all with views of your ship (check out my brightly coloured friend in the bottom picture).
Shop ’til you drop
And of course, you can’t visit Grand Cayman without a bit of shopping. As well as saving money buying duty free items like perfume, watches and jewellery, there’s a wealth of beautiful local art and craft galleries (and of course don’t leave without some local rum).
If this post has inspired you to consider a cruise holiday, visit: www.cruiseexperts.org for loads of information, tips, Q&As and more. And for more more #CruiseMonth inspiration check out @Discover_Cruises on Twitter and Instagram. I’ll be popping up on Twitter on Wednesday as part of Plan a Cruise Month’s international tweet-up too. See you then!