Disney Cruise Line and Its Ports of Call LIVE! Guidebook

PassPorter's Disney Cruise Line LIVE! Guidebook
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George Town, Grand Cayman

George Town, Grand Cayman

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In these days of corporate scandals, the Cayman Islands have come to symbolize shady dealings hidden by offshore banks. Cruise visitors find a different pleasure waiting offshore; some of the most spectacular coral reefs in the Caribbean. Whether you snorkel, scuba, tour by submarine, or swim with the fishes at Stingray City, Grand Cayman is the perfect island for watery recreation.

Unusual rock formations on Grand Cayman

AMBIENCE

Of Disney’s frequently-visited ports of call, Grand Cayman seems the quaintest. Visitors arrive at a small pier, adjoining a relatively modest shopping street. We find scattered, freestanding buildings and several outdoor malls. The real action is taking place offshore, where fleets of excursion boats help visitors enjoy the island’s sea life and fabled coral reefs. Alas, Grand Cayman was hit hard by Hurricane Ivan in September 2004, but the island has long been restored—in fact, new buildings and shopping centers have reinvigorated its appearance.

HISTORY & CULTURE

A wayward breeze pushed the Cayman Islands onto the map in 1503, when Columbus stumbled upon these essentially flat outposts. He named them “Tortugas,” for the plentiful local sea turtles, but soon the islands were renamed the Caimanas, after some other local reptilians (either crocodiles or Blue Iguanas, depending on who you ask). For centuries nobody bothered to settle here, but many ships visited to gather fresh turtle meat for their crews. Famed pirates visited frequently, but eventually the islands were ruled from British Jamaica. Still, with the exception of some mahogany-logging operations, there was little development here until well into the 20th century, and its famous banking industry didn’t arrive until the 1950s. When Jamaica voted for independence from Great Britain in 1962, the Cayman Islanders chose to remain a British Crown Colony.

FACTS

Size: 22 mi. (35 km.) long x 8 mi. (13 km.) wide
Climate: Subtropical Temperatures: 78°F (25°C) to 84°F (29°C)
Population: 37,000 Busy Season: Mid-February to April
Language: English Money: Cayman Islands Dollar (= $1.25 US)
Time Zone: Eastern (no DST) Transportation: Walking, taxis, cars
Phones: Dial 1- from U.S., dial 911 for police, or dial 555 for an ambulance
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Top Photo Slice: Smith's Cove on Grand Cayman (℗ 53409) Photo contributed by © Jennifer Marx



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