Just a Few Hours in Grand Cayman
We got to visit Grand Cayman for just a few hours on a shore excursion during our Royal Caribbean cruise. Check out our day!
The shore excursion we did is called Dolphin Encounter and Turtle Center through Royal Caribbean.
From Royal Caribbean’s website:
Have a magical encounter with both an enchanting bottlenose dolphin and a gentle green sea turtle. You’ll be one with nature during your time at Dolphin Discovery and the Cayman Turtle Centre. Swim, pet, and play with your new friend, and even get a kiss on the cheek from your new dolphin friend. Next, spend some quality time with the green sea turtles, and learn about its an integral role in Grand Cayman’s history and culture.
But let’s back up. First we have to get to the port in George Town. Grand Cayman is a tender port, meaning the ship drops anchor in the sea and passengers are ferried to land via a tender boat. When you book an excursion through Royal Caribbean they make sure you are one of the first off the ship on a tender boat.
Here’s a little video we made of us making our way to Grand Cayman, with a nice view of our ship, the Brilliance of the Seas.
This is the Grand Cayman cruise port. Gary is waiting in line for our shore excursion leader to take us to our bus.
Soon we met up with our group to take us on our excursion. Our bus driver gave us a little tour on our way to Dolphin Discovery, but it was hard to hear because a fellow passenger talked on the phone the entire time.
I knew this going in, but no photos were allowed at the dolphin encounter. As noted on Royal Caribbean’s website:
The use of personal cameras is not permitted at the dolphin facility. Professional photos of your encounter are available for sale.
Bathrooms and lockers were readily available and we stowed our things. We waited around for a while, about 45 minutes, before we could go in to the water. We watched other groups doing their encounter, including ones where you actually swim with the dolphin. Our guide left us for a while and I was confused as to what we were supposed to do, so we just stood around. Eventually we were lead to our section of the pool and our group climbed in.
Basically we all lined up along the side of the pool, all wearing life jackets. One by one the dolphin visited each of us and we did poses for their photographer. This is my only beef with this excursion. I had no intention of purchasing the photos because they were well over $100. I spent most of my time posing for photos as we were instructed, instead of actually being in the moment of getting a “kiss” and dancing with a dolphin. We did look at the photos afterward, and they were great, but we just had decided we were not going to pay that.
The Cayman Turtle Centre is located right across the street, so we walked over there after the dolphin encounter.
Our time here was very limited because of the delay at the dolphin encounter. I’m not even sure we were here for a full hour. It was very much a whirlwind.
Here I am meeting a turtle:
And more turtles:
After a stop at the gift shop we walked back across the street to get back on the bus. A few passengers did not make it back in time to the bus (including the passenger who was on the phone) so they had to find their own way back to the port. Our driver talked more about the island on the way back.
Instead of going back on the ship we decided to have lunch first. We walked to a restaurant called Rackam’s.
On the way I noticed some locals having a fish fry on the beach.
But we continued on to Rackam’s.
We had a beautiful view from our table and a few visitors dropped by.
We ordered drinks, a Rum Runner and Cayman Mama. Yum.
For dinner we ordered curry fries as an appetizer, and we split the vegetable curry. Yeah, we really like curry.
The curry fries were great and I need to recreate this at home sometime. I would have never thought to put cheese and curry together but it worked.
And the vegetable curry:
Gary really enjoyed the curry fries. 😀
We charged it to our credit card, in US$ so it was a little expensive. But hey, we’re on vacation, right?
We packed a lot in during our few hours in Grand Cayman. Officially we were in port from 7am – 3:30pm (always, always get back on the ship earlier than the all aboard time though!). We probably got back on the tender boat to get to the ship around 2pm.
Grand Cayman is beautiful and I would love to go back. Next on my list is Stingray City. We just have to book that next cruise!