Shore excursions in Grand Cayman often revolve around shopping at the duty-free outlets and the other shops that can be found in the capital of Georgetown. The Cayman Islands cruise port can be found in Georgetown, so cruise passengers won't have to go far to do some shopping. They also won't have to go far to get a good meal, as some of the best Cayman Islands restaurants can be found in and around the capital. Due north of Georgetown, Seven Mile Beach begins, stretching up towards the town of West Bay. Due to their proximity to the port at Georgetown, both Seven Mile Beach and West Bay are also popular destinations on Grand Cayman Island shore excursions.
The typical Cayman Islands cruise lasts anywhere from five to fourteen days and features stops at any number of international cruise ports. The other ports of call are generally found in the Caribbean, and passengers will also have the chance to enjoy shore excursions at these destinations. Usually passengers have about eight hours to spend on Grand Cayman. Since it's imperative that passengers make it back to the ship in time for an afternoon or evening departure, it is generally a good idea to book Grand Cayman Island shore excursions through the cruise company. This helps to ensure that you'll make it back to the ship in time. For those who have little more than shopping or hanging out at Seven Mile Beach in mind, it shouldn't be necessary to arrange a shore excursion.
More often than not, the shore excursions in Grand Cayman that are offered by the cruise companies cost extra. As such, shoppers might avoid a guided shopping tour and apply their savings towards actual shopping. As for those who wish to zip off to Seven Mile Beach for some fun in the sun, a short taxi ride is all that it will take to get there. Seven Mile Beach is known for its beauty and its lively atmosphere, so cruise passengers who have a more relaxed beach session in mind might prefer some time at Rum Point Beach. It's only about a 45-minute drive from the cruise port.
The Grand Cayman Island shore excursions truly offer something for everyone, and for many visitors, getting the chance to swim with stingrays at Stingray City is hard to pass up. The Grand Cayman stingray excursions are wildly popular, as Stingray City figures among the most interesting snorkel and dive sites in the Caribbean. On an excursion to Stingray City, most visitors don snorkeling equipment, as the water is only around three feet deep. Once in the water, they will have the chance to swim with stingrays that have grown accustomed to human visitors. It is also possible to pet the rays, and some visitors hold them and pose for pictures, though since they are wild animals, this isn't recommended. In addition to swimming with relatively tame stingrays at Stingray City, the Grand Cayman stingray excursions also tend to include visits to a barrier reef and some fascinating coral gardens.
Many of the Grand Cayman Island shore excursions revolve around water-related activities, though it isn't always necessary to get wet. For those who want to stay dry while exploring the underwater world, it is possible to take a tour in a small submarine. It's also possible to head up to Boatswain's Beach Turtle Farm, where visitors can observe all kinds of fascinating marine creatures through a clear wall. Turtles at Boatswain's Beach are mostly kept in small viewing ponds, and visitors can handle some of the smaller ones if they please.
More often than not, staying dry is part of the plan on the various sailing and boating tours that can also be booked as shore excursions in Grand Cayman, and a bus tour of the island usually doesn't involve getting soaked either. Whatever Grand Cayman has to offer, cruise passengers can pretty much enjoy it on a shore excursion. As such, it's worth checking out all of the options when planning a fun-filled Cayman Islands cruise. The Grand Cayman stingray excursions might be unforgettable, but they certainly aren't the only options.
Image: Patrick Gorham