It’s no secret that Grand Cayman is one of my favorite places on Earth. If you’ve been there, you probably agree with me. We’ve been there three times – on family vacations and on cruise stops. Seven Mile Beach is absolutely stunning, but there are also lots of fantastic things to do with kids on a Grand Cayman shore excursion. If you are only there for a day on a cruise stop, you’ll need to decide which activity you most want to do. It won’t be easy, because there are so many fantastic options. Here are my favorite Grand Cayman cruise excursions.
Disclosure: We’ve visited Grand Cayman a few times on press trips, so some of these excursions have been at no cost. We’ve also paid for our own activities numerous times. All opinions are my own.
Before looking at the various Grand Cayman shore excursions that may be available on our cruise, it’s important to discuss the different booking options. You’ll have to option of booking either on your own or through your cruise operator.
Keep in mind that since ships at Grand Cayman tender (meaning they dock in the water and ships bring guests to shore), there’s always the chance that rough seas will force your cruise ship to skip that stop at the last minute. This could result in lost money if you do not book with your cruise line.
In addition, booking with your cruise operator also gives you some peace of mind when it comes to your return. If you are your own, it’s going to be your responsibility to get back to the ship on time. Sometimes it’s just easiest to let the tour operator deal with the timing.
When booking these excursions, keep in mind, some of these excursions can be combined in one itinerary. When you leave the ship, remember to pack your sunscreen, sunglasses, beach towels, money, and anything else you may need during your day.
Grand Cayman Shore Excursions: Options for Families
A Day at the Beach
Grand Cayman is known for its gorgeous beaches, and you can definitely enjoy a day on the beach as an excursion. There are specific excursions that will take you to and from the beach to the ship. Spend the day, enjoy lunch, and don’t stress about your plans.
While you could just take a cab to a public beach area, I wouldn’t recommend that unless you are familiar with the area. When booking with an excursion, you may also get lunch, drinks, or other amenities. Read the specifics of your excursion to see what is included so you know what to take off the ship with you.
My family loves the Cayman Turtle Farm, which is now called the Cayman Turtle Centre: Island Wildlife Encounter. Not only is it a great place to see turtles, but you can also snorkel in very gentle waters among the turtles, enjoy a yummy lunch, and swim in a large pool. Remember to bring along your own towels – none are provided at the farm.
Tickets to the Turtle Farm can be booked individually, but you will probably be able to book an excursion through your cruise line as well. You could spend a good amount of time there if you want to snorkel and also spend lots of time at the large pool. If you’d prefer to just see the Cayman Turtle Farm without spending too much time in the water, you may be able to combine a trip to the turtle farm with another Grand Cayman shore excursion.
On our last family cruise, we decided to spend our Grand Cayman day at the Westin Grand Cayman. It was a great experience, because we had a hotel room to use for showers and relaxing. We enjoyed the beach, had a delicious lunch, snorkeled right off the shore, and took a cab back to the port with plenty of time. I did have to reserve the hotel and pay in advance.
If you are interested in doing a day stay at a Grand Cayman hotel, I’d recommend calling or emailing your preferred hotel in advance. I contacted the Westin and found out what the rate was. Keep in mind that you may not be able to get a refund if your ship doesn’t end up docking in Grand Cayman.
Once we got off the ship, we walked over to the cabs and took one to the hotel. On Disney Cruise Line, they typically let those booked on DCL excursions off the ship and onto the tenders first. We didn’t have to wait too long to leave, however.
Stingray City is such a unique experience that really can’t be missed. You’ll take a boat to a shallow sandbar where stingrays come right up to humans in hopes of scoring some fish. This is one of those experiences where it’s worth paying for the professional pictures, because it’s such a unique experience. Bring along cash, because the on-ship photographers don’t always take credit cards.
I’ve visited Stingray City twice, and both times it was combined with another excursion. It’s really not an all day activity, so I’d definitely recommend booking it along with something else.
Rum Point is my favorite beach of all time. It’s located on the other side of Grand Cayman, and is best accessed via boat. There’s a food counter, bar (home of the very first Mudslide cocktail), beach chairs, and a Red Sail sports kiosk where water sports can be booked and equipment can be rented.
When you arrive, you’ll want to grab a few beach chairs, and set up your towels. You can rent water sports if you’d like, or just swim on the beach. You can also get lunch there.
When we most recently visited Rum Point, we went as part of an excursion that also included Stingray City. Again, there are no towels offered here, so you’ll definitely want to bring some from the ship.
Atlantis Submarine Expedition
Located right near the port, the Atlantis Submarine Expedition is a great way to explore the coral reef and underwater area without getting wet. My daughter loved this trip – we saw so many fish swim by and learned so much.
In addition to these Grand Cayman shore excursions, there are lots of other options that may be offered by your cruise operator. These include jeep tours, bike trips, glass-bottom boat tours, snorkeling adventures, and an amphibious land and sea tour.
Have you been on a Grand Cayman Cruise Excursion? What was your favorite thing to do while you were there?