Our next port of call was the Caymans. Money, money, money, money…Sung to the tune of that one song, of course. If one had money, this would be the place to put it. Grand Cayman has branches of 40 out of the 50 major banks worldwide. 55% of the total GDP comes from financial services (1.2 billion), and the rest is pretty much tourism. Because of this, the island is pretty “Americanized”, with a Hard Rock Café, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, and Burger King right off of the pier. While on the excursion, our tour guide attempted to give us a tour of Georgetown, and pointed out nothing but Burger Kings, Wendys, KFCs, and the Ritz Carlton Hotel.
We chose the Turtle Farm and Island Tour excursion for the day. The Turtle Farm was great for kids (and most folks), but I had serious issues with a few things: 1) It was a turtle mill. They harvest eggs and control the temperature to produce males and females on demand. I get having a safe breeding ground, but why not let nature run its course naturally? 2) They served turtle soup in the onsite restaurant and I was just waiting for one of the kids to put two and two together—the little turtle they’re holding and loving in their hands is on the chopping block for turtle soup tomorrow.
Other than that, it was a neat experience. Various pools had turtles of different ages and visitors can pet and hold the younger ones.
In some of the larger pools, visitors can actually get in with the turtles.
For an additional charge (included in our excursion price, but not in general admission), visitors can swim with larger turtles in meandering lagoons. Matty was asleep by this time, so we didn’t do this part, but another family that we befriended had a 6 year old and a 10 year old that loved it.
We ate at the onsite restaurant (no turtle soup); Eric had a jerk burger and I had a chicken wrap. It was good, but a tad overpriced. We also hit the giftshop, and while I’m not a big souvenir person, I couldn’t resist getting Matty a little turtle to entertain him on the bus ride back to the ship.
Of course, this wasn’t needed; Matty made a little friend who played with him the whole way.
Matty was free for this excursion as well, and was definitely the youngest. There was a little boy and girl on our tour about 4 years old, though. They were hilarious—they were more excited about seeing a chicken on the side of the road than they were about the whole experience. Then the little boy’s leg must have fallen asleep, because all the entire bus hears is, “I’m broken! I’m broken! Mommmmmmy, help me!” Kids are hilarious.
We also made a stop in Hell. Yep, Hell.
The town of Hell, Grand Cayman is on the way to the Turtle Farm, so tourists can stop to send a postcard. Yes, we sent the grandparents a postcard from Hell. I’m pretty sure it said something along the lines of being hot as hell, too. Aren’t we so witty…
There’s no pier large enough for cruise ships in Grand Cayman, so this was a tendered port. The tendering process was a little chaotic, but nothing too bad—mostly people not paying attention to the fact that excursion ticket holders get off first. The worst was waiting for the tender after the excursion, when we were exhausted and just wanted to get Matty down for a nap in bed. No worries though, just as we found our seats, his friends from dinner saw us and started screaming his name across the plaza and ran over and made faces off the side of the pier. Good times.