George Town (Grand Cayman Island) is a popular cruise port of call on Western Caribbean itineraries. The port city is also the capital of Cayman Islands (a British Overseas Territory). The group also includes Little Cayman Island and Cayman Bra Island.
Grand Cayman is located south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica. Island's population is around 65,000, while in George Town live around 30,000. As cruise destination, the island attracts travelers with its underwater attractions (perfect for scuba diving), beautiful beaches and shopping. Among the largest cruise companies with regularly scheduled visits to George Town are the Carnival Corporation ships (CCL-Carnival, Princess, Holland America, Costa, AIDA), also RCCL-Royal Caribbean (RCI, Celebrity, Pullmantur), MSC, NCL Norwegian, Disney, TUI, Marella.
In December 2018 was announced that Carnival Corporation and RCCL-Royal Caribbean will finance the construction of a new cruise pier project. In late-February 2019, industry's largest companies joined Disney Cruise Line, and in May 2019 - MSC Cruises. Project's financing (~KYD 200 million / USD 240 million) is exclusively private, with no public money used to build the new terminal facilities. Project's financial contributions were not revealed.
Cruise ship companies and selected bidders provided all funds to construct the new/larger berthing facility plus a cargo dock, and for 20 years (until 2039) will collect all passenger fees. The "Cruise Berthing Facility Project" is estimated to support around 500 construction jobs plus local employment and ~USD 245 million in economic benefits.
The world-famous Seven Mile Beach attracts with its crystal clear waters, amazing panorama and infrastructure featuring numerous hotels, seaside bars and restaurants. Among the best-known beach locations is also Royal Caribbean's exclusive beach resort "Royal Palms Beach Club".
Royal Palms is at approx 10-min taxi ride from RCI's cruise ship tendering point. To go there, just exit the passenger tendering area, pass the shore tours area and go into the parking lot from where take a taxi (rates around USD 4 pp). Royal Palms pricing includes
- USD 2 pp entrance fee
- USD 15 per day umbrella rental
- USD 10 beach chair rental
- USD 100 beach cabana rental
- USD 10 per day locker
Watersport rentals (cost per hour) include
- jet ski ($75)
- jet pack ($150)
- snorkelling gear ($15)
- paddleboard ($25)
- seakayak ($25)
- parasail ($80)
- serenity float ($12)
- snorkelling tour ($35)
Royal Palms has open-air restaurant, beach bar, outdoor swimming pool.
Due to the global Coronavirus pandemic, in 2020 (March 31 through September 1) the Cayman Islands officially closed its borders. The policy also affected cruise ships, which were banned from docking at its ports in that period.
George Town cruise terminal
George Town is a tender cruise port. Cruise ships anchor and their passengers are transported to the terminal's pier via the ship's tender boats or local (commercial) tenders. Usually, ship's anchorage is approx 15 min away from the cruise terminal.
Port George Town has 3 tender terminals located along the main shoreline road - South Terminal, North Terminal, and Royal Watler Pier. Tourist offices are available close to the South and North terminals.
Terminal buildings at all cruise ship tender docks are small, shaded areas where passengers are gathered for tours or wait there to be tendered back to the cruise ship.
All cruise terminals are located within walking distance from most of downtown's highlights. Cayman Islands have their own public transportation service. Taxis are also readily available on the island.
(NEW) Grand Cayman Cruise Terminal
In May 2017, the seaport announced a project for constructing a new/larger cruise ship terminal in George Town Harbour. The new facility is all-privately funded (by Carnival, RCCL-Royal Caribbean, Disney, and MSC) and involves a construction company for the new piers building in return for a percentage of annual revenue that the terminal generates (mainly from passenger fees / ~US$8 per person).
In July 2019, for the Cruise Berthing Facility Project (KYD 200 million / USD 240 million), the Cayman Government selected VIPP (Verdant Isle Port Partners) as the preferred bidder. VIPP is a consortium that consists of RCCL-Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Line, plus two construction companies (Orion Marine Construction, and McAlpine). The funding is via capital from both cruise companies plus a loan from CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank. The expected revenue for the companies from the new cruise terminal is ~KYD 333 million (USD 400 million) over its 25-year lifespan, based on estimated ~2 million passengers annually.
The berthing facility includes 2-finger piers built on pilings. The project is supervised by DBFM (STROISERVIS group of companies) specializing in design, financing, building and maintaining. The new facility will be operated by the Grand Cayman port authority company.
George Town tours, shore excursions, hotels
City Tours and Shore Excursions
- Stingray City: the top-rated attraction of Grand Cayman.
- Shopping in George Town: the main shopping street is Cardinal Avenue. There is located the Caymania Duty Free. Great place for shopping is Kirk Freeport – duty free with Swiss watches, crystal and china. You can visit also the Jewelry Center or the shops in the Galleria Plaza (located at West Bay Road).
- Scuba-diving and snorkeling: main attractions of the Cayman Islands.
- The Cayman Turtle Farm: the farm houses around 16,000 turtles. The farm is surrounded by an amazing park. Located at Northwest Point Road (West Bay).
- Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park: is spreads over 65 acres. Located in the North Side district, it works from 9 AM.
- Dolphin Discovery: across from the Turtle Farm in West Bay is the Dolphin Discovery. You have the opportunity to see, play and swim with those amazing mammals.
- The Pedro St. James Castle: islands’ oldest structure made of stones. It is known as the birthplace of the Cayman Islands democracy.
Next are listed the most popular Carnival Cruise Lines tours on Grand Turk, with USD prices per adult:
- jeep tours ($100)
- Tiki Beach all-inclusive ($70)
- combo catamaran-snorkeling ($70)
- mini-submarine trips (from $50)
- snorkeling ($40)
- scuba lessons ($100)
- Island tour ($50)
- Cayman Motor Museum ($50)
- Parasailing ($85)
- 2-tank diving ($90)
- Stingray City Sandbar safari ($50)
- Dolphin Encounters (from $100)
- kayaking ($75)
- Rum Point Beach ($60)
- Boatswain's Beach ($50)
- Turtle Encounters (from $50)
- golfing at 18-hole Championship Course (from $150)
- Sea Grape Beach ($50)
Port George Town cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from George Town, Grand Cayman Island. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.
|29 October, 2020|
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