Jennifer and Dave's Western Caribbean Cruise Adventure
Dates: May 10-21, 2002
Transportation: Northwest Airlines (from Detroit Metro Airport), Avis, and Tiffany Town Car
Ship: Disney Magic (Inaugural Western Caribbean Cruise)
Resort: Dolphin Resort
Parks: Kennedy Space Center, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios, Pleasure Island
Restaurants/Eateries: Orbit (KSC), Fischer's Seafood (Cocoa Beach), Flamingo's (Radisson), every restaurant/eatery aboard the Disney Magic, The Dolphin Fountain, Chevy's (off-property), Bongo's Cuban Cafe, Restaurant Marrakesh, Palio, Yorkshire County Fish & Chips, and 50s Prime Time Cafe
Background: This was a R&R trip (relax and research) for Kennedy Space Center and the Disney Magic. We also spent three nights at Walt Disney World just for the fun of it.
|Day Five - Tuesday, May 14, 2002
One of the delightful things about an outside stateroom is the ever-changing scenery outside your window or verandah. On Tuesday morning, we awoke at 7:00 am to watch Grand Cayman slide slowly into view. Unlike other ports, the ship must dock off-shore and passengers "tender" in on watercraft. This gave us a wonderful opportunity to observe the island from a distance.
We breakfasted in Topsiders Buffet (Deck 9, Aft) and discovered what would become our favorite breakfast spot. It was exceedingly convenient to just take a tray and fill it with the foods you wanted. Even better was the selection. I found plenty of healthy things to eat like fruit and cream of wheat cereal. Dave enjoyed the usual breakfast fare of eggs, breakfast meats, and pastries. Near the cream of wheat was a "mueslix bar" where guests could create their own healthy cereal. Juice and coffee were also provided. We dined outside on the deck, enjoying the fine weather - sunny and breezy.
After breakfast we returned to our stateroom to get ready for our shore excursion. We'd booked the Stingray City Snorkeling and Discover Cayman Tour, which was to meet at 9:45 am in Off Beat (Deck 3 Forward). We put on our swimsuits, sunscreen, and then our t-shirts and shorts. We were ready!
After meeting in Off Beat, getting our stickers, and waiting just a few minutes, all guests who booked this shore excursion walked together to Deck 1. We presented our Key to the World cards (so the crew knew we were going ashore) then boarded the tender. The tender is a small boat that ferries guests to and from the shore. This tender was double-decker and held 300 guests. There were no seats, but there were large life preserver lockers to sit upon. The tender filled up quickly and we were off to Grand Cayman. On the way we met two fellow PassPorter readers who we chatted with a bit.
On the dock at Grand Cayman, some representatives handed us a small card
welcoming us to the island. Attached to the card was a cloisonne pin of a sea turtle
labeled "Cayman Island." What a nice surprise! The card indicated that this
token was presented to us in honor of the Disney Magic's inaugural cruise to Grand Cayman.
The tour guide pointed out various sites as we drove along West Bay Road. Eventualy we came to "Hell" (Devil's Hangout). This is a little tourist trap, oops, I mean popular tourist attraction. It's named for a wicked-looking pit of black, dagger-like, volcanic rocks. There's a small shop here where you can get "Hell" postcards and send them out with "Hell" postmarks to claim you've really been to hell and back.
After going to Hell (sorry, couldn't resist), we boarded the bus again. This
time Dave and I boarded early to ensure we got real seats, not aisle seats. As we waited
for the rest of the guests to board, we amused ourselves by watching the chickens wander
around outside the bus. We saw chickens almost everywhere on Grand Cayman. Finally, the
bus was moving again - we assumed we were headed for Stringray City, so we were surprised
when we pulled up at the Cayman Turtle Farm. But the driver assured us that Stingray City
was our next stop.
Back on the bus we headed towards water and the boat that would take us to
Stringray City. We all boarded a small, double-decker boat that went to the shallow waters
of the northwest corner of Grand Cayman's North Sound. Stringray City is just inside a
natural channel which passes through the barrier reef. Stingrays gravitated here after
local fisherman would dump their "offal" (spare fish parts). The stingrays are
free to come and go as they choose; there are no fences or borders. Divers discovered that
the stingray were friendly and would let you feed them by hand. Now it's one of the most
popular destinations for snorkelers and divers. The water is just chest-high and
visibility is amazing.
Back on the boat we headed to shore. From there we boarded the bus and made our
way back to town. We made one more stop at a shop selling rum cakes. I didn't get off the
bus, but Dave brought back a couple of rum cake samples. They were actually quite
delicious. Soon enough we were heading back to the dock and boarding the tender to return
to the ship. All in all, the shore excursion took about four hours. We enjoyed it, but we
probably wouldn't repeat it. Still, we didn't feel it was a waste and we have good
memories of the day.
Next: Day Six