Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Cruise Day 4: Georgetown, Grand Cayman

We awoke on Day 4 to the sounds of the crew getting the tender dock ready for our day in Georgetown, Grand Cayman. I was really looking forward to this day---it's unlikely we would ever get back to Grand Cayman. We pushed our way through the crowd waiting for the tenders and headed up to breakfast. We were in no rush, as we had no excursions booked for the day (although I really wanted to do one!). We were a little surprised when we looked out and saw that we were one of FIVE cruise ships docked off shore! It's not a huge island, so we were a little worried about what we'd fine on shore.
The tender over was pretty quick, although we were on an open boat and it was quite hot in the sun. Our ship is the one in the far back---it looks far away, but it's an optical illusion in the picture. While we were waiting to unload we watched a large red jogging stroller roll backwards and off a 5ft wall onto the lower dock. No body on the upper pier seemed to notice, but the boat crews did try to 'catch' the stroller but weren't quite quick enough. After a minute, the parents did come over. There was no baby in the stroller. Many times we saw this same family during the week, and rarely was the baby in the stroller. They were constantly struggling with the stroller, esp. in the elevators--they often had to wait a long time to get an empty elevator. I couldn't imagine taking something like that on a cruise vacation. I know by the time our kids are ready to cruise we will be long past babywearing, but man, that was one very good example of how much more convenient---and safe---babywearing is!!The ship in front is a Carnival Cruise ship---the only cruise line that puts a spoiler on the stack, LOL!
We started walking to the left once out of the dock complex. One of the first shops we found was a Dairy Queen. Despite being hot, Rob wouldn't go in. Then there was this cute little "Ye Old England Bakery". I really wanted to check it out, but Rob wouldn't go in. LOL. He's not too adventurous sometimes. We noticed something on the fence next to it....
A chicken on the fence! We were having trouble figuring out the map---I don't think any of the maps provided by the cruise ship on either cruise were very useful---and before we could figure out where on the map we were, we were actually OFF the map! A north arrow and a scale would have made this geography grad a little happier!
It soon became apparent that chickens ruled the roost here. They were everywhere, including this little parkette where people were sitting and eating lunch.We walked around the 'off map' area for a little bit, winding our way along the shore and then inwards and back towards the main section. It was interesting, the juxtaposition of poor living next to a wealthy financial institution. You hear of Grand Cayman being a financial hotspot....but there doesn't seem to be much trickle down effect.This 'little' fella is a blue iguana. There is reportedly only about 30 left on the island. I think the statue is life size---a preschooler posed for a picture sitting comfy on his back before we took this.
We went in a post office and I bought a postcard to send to my parents. I forgot to ask them on Sat. if they ever got it. We got the change in Cayman money, which looked alot like Canadian money because of the Queen on it!

We walked around some more, being a little frightened of the traffic on the 'wrong' side of the road. Horns honked a lot, even when there didn't seem to be any issue. There were a lot of SUVs and nice (expensive) vehicles. We stopped at a little shop to see what the "Hole in the Floor" was and talked with the shop owners for a bit. They told us that everyone has at least one car as there are no limits on vehicle ownership like on some islands, and there is not any reliable public transportation. As well, although the island is small and flat, it is very rural and rugged, especially after a hurricane. He said they had not had much damage from Hurricane Paloma, but the smaller sister island did. When a hurricane comes, they just board up shop and pray he said. As well, he mentioned that in the high season, there could be SEVEN cruise ships docked off shore!!!
We continued our walk up the other side of the town, along the shore. We noticed that many vehicles had these little mirrors on their front quarter panels. Some of the vehicles were right hand drive, but a lot were left hand drive too.
The strip right near the dock is like most of the other ports---lots of shopping for jewellry. Not too interesting for Rob!
Another shot of our ship (the one at the back). And another shot without the interesting cars...As we walked back towards the downtown, we found this area of tidal pools.Most of the pools were puddles, but there were a few neat spots where the rocks had openings above the water line so the waves came in and spewed up through the holes. One tide pool was quite large and a couple kids were swimming in it.On the other side of the dive shop that was right here is a little narrow inlet. I forget the local name of it. I mean, it was narrow! You could enter at the closed end near the shop, and wade/swim out through the tiny opening into the ocean proper. You can just make out a person snorkeling on the left side of this picture: We headed back towards the dock and the only taste of local cuisine I got was a can of cold, but slightly out-dated Diet Coke. Rob was still suspicious; after all, it was cold because of the ice in the bucket....We bought the kids some stuff at Del Sol---the store where everything changes colour in the sun, but nothing has a price tag, and another smaller shop with the same type of stuff. We finally found our dock, and headed back out. Do I look hot? Oh, it was hot. But a nice hot, LOL.Bird's eye view of one of the tenders.After we got back we went for lunch and then some quiet time in our room ;)

I like being up on the open decks when we leave ports, and Rob likes to swim, so it's a good deal. It's great being alone together, but sometimes you just need to be alone, too.Grand Cayman, like Cozumel, is very flat. Very, very flat. Not my type of place, LOL.Flat. The topo map for this island would not interest me very much!It was interesting to see the other ships there. I'm not sure why this Crystal Cruises ship looks like it's listing. By itself, it looks like a good size ship, but next to us, it was teeny-tiny. The Crystal ship was next to the Carnival shipThe Carnival ship (and I think the Celebrity ship) used 'proper' tender boats, the other 2 ships used their lifeboats as their tenders. The Celebrity ship was next to Carnival...We had just found out at the Crown & Anchor's "Captain's Welcome Back" reception the night before that Royal Caribbean had bought Celebrity.Next to the Celebrity ship was a Holland America ship. They were quite a distant from the dock, and were using the lifeboats for tenders. I'm not sure that I would like that!Last year I took a great picture of Rob kissing the mermaid in the Schooner Bar, but this year it didn't turn out as great, LOL.This was our night to see the ice show, and it turned out to be the last show for this cast. It was really good (a few falls though), but I think last year we were 'wowed' more because we were stunned at what they could do on such a small rink. The ice show was still great, and the best part was when the pirates 'stole' a little kid, probably not even 3, from the front row and took him for a ride in the pirate ship.The props and costumes are fabulous, and there were guest artists---jugglers on ice. No good photos, but I did take a video. I just can't figure out how to post videos.
We missed a live music show featuring all the live musicians on the ship, unfortunately, had to go to dinner. It was 'Surf Night' and everyone at our table enjoyed at least TWO lobsters...except for me, LOL. We heard all about the swimming with the stingrays excursion, which sounded interesting but not worth the cost (in my opinion). I had wanted to visit Hell, but didn't know enough about it when we were looking at the trips.
There was Big Band Dance Music at 9:45, but we were still in dinner.

After dinner we went for a deck walk. Almost every night the front helicopter pad deck was closed. This night though was extremely windy. I think this was the night that the relative wind (what the wind actually feels like taking into account the ship's speed) was around 55-60 mph. We went up to the top open deck and it was incredible. You couldn't use any of the sliding doors to go inside because they had been locked, to prevent gusts of wind from blowing in when opened. I could feel myself being lifted a few times. Although, I don't think I was wearing that dress that night...maybe that was the next night. Most nights were pretty windy!

There was a nice full moon...(that little white circle in the black sky)...

We popped back into the room so Rob could change and then headed out to the "Love & Marriage Game Show". This is a hilarious version of the Newlywed Game, but using one newlywed couple, one 'medium wed' couple, and one 'olden wed' couple. The newlyweds were from South Africa and England, and the old couple were from Wales, so it was interesting. Even though the questions were the same as last year, the people are different, so the game is also different. A little racey, LOL, but definitely a good time!

I thought this was the midnight buffet night, but it's not on that day's "Cruise Compass". I thought I took this picture at the midnight buffet, but I guess not, LOL. I don't know what time we got to bed, this picture was taken after midnight!

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