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Carnival Liberty - Western Caribbean Cruise Journal

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A Visit to Stingray City on Grand Cayman Island
Grand Cayman Stingray City

A visit to Stingray City is one of the most popular activities on Grand Cayman Island. I think this photo shows how much Ronnie and I enjoyed our day on Grand Cayman (and on the Carnival Liberty).

Grand Cayman Stingray City (c) Linda Garrison
Our last port of call on the Carnival Liberty was at Grand Cayman Island. This flat, sandy island is one of the most popular in the western Caribbean. Unfortunately, it's a tender port, which makes getting there and back again a little problematic, especially for those who don't take organized tours. We anchored about 10 am, and they immediately started boarding the thousands of us on tours into the large tenders provided by the port (like in Belize). The organization was good. We were in the main lounge at our 10:30 appointed time and waited until our tour was called at 11:15--not sure what the hold up was since we were supposed to be on the bus at that time. Those not on tour had to obtain a free tender ticket to use after all the tour groups were ashore. So, many of them didn't get ashore until after noon.

Ronnie had never been to Grand Cayman, so we went on a short (3.5 hour) tour to Stingray City, a shallow sandy area where Southern Stingrays come to get free food. I booked us on the Allura catamaran since it provided a shuttle back to the tender dock after the time with the stingrays. (All the other tours took you to a beach for a few hours, and neither of us cared about that since we had beach time in Roatan).

We got very lucky with this tour. It was all adults, and there were only 14 of us. The captain told us that the day before they had 62 on the tour! We rode a small van to the Grand Cayman yacht club, noting how much more prosperous this banking mecca was than Belize. Our small group boarded the nice Allura catamaran, and motored about 45 minutes out to Stingray City, arriving about 1 pm. We were in the water with the stingrays about an hour; petting, kissing, and watching them gracefully swim in the shallow water (about 3 feet deep) around us. Note--kissing one brings you 7 years of good luck. I've been pretty lucky since I kissed one in 2010, so decided I better do it again. Of course there were a dozen other boats on the sand bar and hundreds of people.

The Allura had a fresh water rinse, so we washed off the salt and had a few glasses of water or overly-sweet punch. The captain said it would be the only thing we would get free on Grand Cayman. The captain raised the sails on the way back to the yacht club, so we had a leisurely voyage on the Allura back to the dock. We were back on the ship about 3:30.

Other Grand Cayman Activities

Like most islands in the Caribbean, many activities are centered around the water. Guests on the Carnival Liberty could enjoy one of the many beaches and the sparkling clear waters surrounding the island. Or, they could go snorkeling, diving, or take a boat ride. Grand Cayman has an interesting turtle farm that both kids and adults will enjoy. And, you can always visit Hell. Just don't forget to send a postcard back home from there. Grand Cayman also has many shops, so it's a good place to buy those last-minute gifts.

Most of the restaurants were closed, but the ship has pizza, the deli, and Guy's Burger Joint open most of the day and into the night. Ronnie and I hadn't tried this new burger place on the ship, but wished we had before. It was one of the best burgers I've ever had. Carnival has recently partnered with Guy Fieri to put his burger joints on all the Carnival ships. The good thing about Guy's is that it is free, and the burgers are better than Johnny Rockets. They are smashed out thin, but are still huge. The buns are buttered and steamed on the burgers. They even have a short video playing that shows how they are cooked.

After the late lunch, we went back to the cabin. I took a much-deserved nap, and Ronnie went out exploring for a while on the ship. Before long, it was time to get ready for drinks and dinner. Of course, we had to have our daily sushi before meeting some cruise friends for drinks, enjoying the people watching along the promenade. It was "cruise elegant" night. We saw about four tuxedos, mostly worn by couples getting their photos made, and probably only about a third of the men had on some type of jacket.

The six of us enjoyed a nice dinner. Ronnie had a seafood sampler (tuna tartare, shrimp, and salmon), escargot, and grilled shrimp. I had the seafood sampler, a Caesar salad, and the fish. We both had baked Alaska for dessert. The waiters danced on the small platforms scattered throughout the restaurant as they had done a couple of other nights. It was a fun evening.

Since I had a nap, I was ready for the show that featured the two singers and twelve dancers (eight girls and four guys). It was as good as expected, and the theater was almost full. Walking along the Promenade around midnight, we weren't surprised to see many people still in the bars and clubs. The comedy club was full, and the disco floor had several people dancing. It was a fun last night before our final sea day and then home.

Our last day on the cruise was our second sea day. It was another beautiful day. What good weather we had on this cruise! Guests gathered by the pool and outside on the decks to soak up the sun before heading home.

As you can tell from this review, my husband and I had a great time on the Carnival Liberty. I loved this itinerary since it included many diverse opportunities for adventure and water-related activities. However, those who love Mayan history and culture would also enjoy this western Caribbean cruise. The ship is a good value, has good food, and excellent onboard activities. Add that to the exciting ports, and you've got a memorable cruise vacation!

Carnival Liberty Western Caribbean Cruise Travel Log

As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary cruise accommodation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.

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