When going on a Caribbean Cruise, you may find that your ship has a stop at the island of Grand Cayman. This beautiful island, part of the Cayman Islands group of islands, offers gorgeous beaches, fantastic water activities, interesting museums, great marine life, and fascinating history and culture.
I love Grand Cayman so much that I’ve specifically looked for that port of call on the itineraries I’ve booked. It’s a place that I feel I can visit over and over again, with different things to do each time. If your cruise is visiting Grand Cayman for the day, here are the best things to do in Grand Cayman on a cruise.
Disclosure: I have visited Grand Cayman in the past and participated in activities at no cost to me. This post contains affiliate links and a purchase/click through one of these links may result in a commission paid to us at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own.
Check out cruise prices for your next sailing here.
The Best Things To Do In Grand Cayman On A Cruise
Information About Sailing To Grand Cayman
There are three different islands that make up the Cayman Islands. Grand Cayman is the largest Caribbean island of these. Cruise ships stop at George Town, the capital of the Cayman Islands. It’s a traditional cruise port area with lots of touristy shops, restaurants, and bars.
Grand Cayman is a tender port. This means that the ship will stay in the water and will not be alongside a dock. You’ll take small boats from the cruise ship to one of three cruise ship terminals.
This is really important to understand when you book an excursion. Because of the unique situation of the tender port, you’ll need to time things properly so you get back with plenty of time.
You won’t have as much control of when you disembark, and may wait in a long line at the end of the day to embark. You may prefer to book an excursion on the ship, where they will handle those details for you.
When I sailed to Grand Cayman (on the Disney Fantasy), they had two separate tender ticket distributions – one for those who were just going ashore, and another for those who had official port excursions booked.
Each cruise line may handle this a little bit differently. So, you’ll want to pay attention to any documentation placed in your stateroom or announcements made. That way, you’ll be prepared since this takes a bit more time.
The Grand Cayman cruise port is a popular cruise port. There are plenty of things to do, and it’s a great place to explore for nature lovers and those who enjoy spending time on the best beaches.
Stingray City is, in my opinion, one of the most unique things to do in Grand Cayman. To visit the Stingray City sandbar, you’ll board a boat that goes right to the area.
These boats usually have an employee on board who can help you interact with the stingrays in their natural environment on the sandbar. They bring along food that you can use to attract the attention of the stingrays by feeding them.
Once you arrive at the sandbar, you’ll notice that the water is quite shallow. Most people can easily stand, so it isn’t too scary for timid swimmers. The stingrays are very friendly, although it’s important that you listen to the employees who will tell you how to proceed safely.
When I’ve taken these excursions, we’ve had the opportunity to purchase photos taken by the staff. Either bring a waterproof camera yourself, or some money to pay for the photos. They only took cash on our excursion, but I’d probably bring both cash and a credit card.
Snorkeling on Grand Cayman
During one of my trips to Grand Cayman, our excursion to Stingray City also included some time to snorkel. The Grand Cayman waters offer some fantastic places to snorkel, where you can see colorful fish, turtles, and coral reefs.
Like Stingray City, this is a place where you may want to consider bringing a waterproof camera. You can get some really fantastic, beautiful photos. While most shore excursions will provide snorkel gear to cruise passengers, be sure to check in advance.
Crystal Caves is a relatively new excursion offered in Grand Cayman. If you’ve visited caves in other island destinations, like the Crystal Caves in Bermuda, you’ll find that these are similar.
Because of that, I’d probably recommend going on one of the more unique Grand Cayman excursions, unless you really want to see the caves. They are beautiful, but there are so many other great things to do as well.
The excursion includes three different caves. You’ll have to drive to the caves. While you are able to purchase timed admission on your own, you can usually book an excursion which will take care of the all of the details for you.
Cayman Turtle Centre
The Cayman Turtle Centre (formerly known as the Cayman Turtle Farm) is one of my favorite Caribbean attractions. It’s the largest land-based attraction. It offers lots of family-friendly things to do and can be a fantastic place to spend the day. This is a Cayman Islands Government owned and operated facility.
Activities and attractions at the Cayman Turtle Centre include the following:
- Sea Turtle Breeding Area
- Butterfly House
- Cayman Street (which showcases traditional Cayman homes)
- Predatory Reef (where you can see sharks and other predators with an underwater viewing panel)
- Turtle Lagoon (a gentle lagoon area where you can actually swim and snorkel with sea turtles)
- Breaker’s Lagoon and Turtle Twister Waterslide (the largest freshwater pool in the Cayman Islands where you can swim and cool off)
- Turtle Wading Pool
If you are purchasing tickets to the Cayman Turtle Centre, you’ll find two separate options for tickets – the Turtle Safari and the Turtle Adventure. I recommend the Turtle Adventure because it also includes access to the turtle and breaker lagoons. You can visit this destination on your own, or book an excursion through the cruise line.
Regardless of how you book, you’ll want to pack bathing suits and dry clothes for your day. We do recommend booking through the cruise line so that you won’t have to worry about the details.
Swim on Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman
Seven Mile Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Grand Cayman, and is absolutely beautiful! It’s one of my favorite beaches ever, with mild waves, white sand, and nice clear blue water. If you just want to enjoy some beach time, an excursion at Seven Mile Beach is a great option.
During our excursion to Grand Cayman, I decided to book a day stay at a hotel we’d already visited on a prior Cayman vacation (the Westin Grand Cayman). Because I was familiar with the island, I felt confident booking on my own.
During our day stay, we had a hotel room and could use the pool and beach throughout the day. It was a great way to get some time on Seven Mile Beach and have the opportunity to shower before returning to the ship.
You’ll also see various Seven Mile Beach excursions offered through the cruise line. That may be a better option if you want the security of being on an official excursion.
Rum Point is a beach area located on the North side of Grand Cayman. It is a bit of a drive, although we’ve been on excursions that included both Rum Point and Stingray City. Rum Point is where the Mudslide drink originated, so you’ll want to try one while you are there.
Since my last visit, Rum Point Beach has had quite a few renovations, expanding some of the food facilities. When I was there, it offered a water sports rental center, a food stand with a bar, changing facilities, and a gift shop. There’s also a restaurant, called Solis Restaurant.
Beach chairs on Rum Point are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Cabanas, day beds, and loungers are available to rent for the day. Coolers or cooler bags are not permitted on the property.
Walk Around the George Town Port
If you don’t have an excursion booked but still want to get off the ship, you can always walk around the port area. Just beyond where you disembark the tender, is the port.
There, you’ll find a variety of different souvenir shops, offering gifts, rum cakes, jewelry, clothing, and more. There are also restaurants, bars, and museums within walking distance. Just remember to keep track of time and leave plenty of leeway to tender back to your cruise ship.
Other Things To Do In Grand Cayman on a Cruise
Depending on your cruise line, you may see some additional excursion options in Grand Cayman. These may include kayaking, a submarine tour, a city tour, glass-bottom boats, scuba diving, cooking classes, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions
The shops and restaurants near the port are walkable from the cruise terminal where the tender drops you off. If you need transportation for your own excursion, taxis are readily available. There’s also a public bus.
The best way to book cruise excursions is through your cruise line. By doing that, you won’t have to worry about your tender time, and won’t be responsible for transportation. Book your excursions in advance, because there is typically limited availability and you will see the best excursions sell out.
While US dollars are widely accepted, the official currency of the Cayman Islands is the Cayman Islands dollar (CI$). As a cruise passenger, it’s recommended to just use US dollars instead of exchanging cash.