Tag Archives: caribbean

Explore the Cayman Islands

Post by Kary

Kiss a Sting Ray and have Seven Years Good Luck!

The Cayman Islands were first sighted by Christopher Columbus in 1503 when he named the islands Las Tortugas due to the large amount of sea turtles seen swimming nearby.  Sir Francis Drake, an English sea captain arrived in 1586 and named the islands Cayman (pronounced cay-MAN) after the indigenous word for crocodile.  This British claimed territory has a rich history and the English influence is everywhere.  It is one of the only British colonies in the Caribbean still in existence.  Today, the Caymans are a haven for water enthusiasts and probably best known as an international financial center with more registered businesses than the 40,000 inhabitants.

 

Grand Cayman - Seven Mile Beach
Seven Mile Beach

 

The Caymans are made up of three islands.  Grand Cayman is the largest island highlighted by the North Sound which is a shallow lagoon protected by a fabulous reef.  It is due to this reef that cruise ships must tender and cannot dock in Georgetown.    Cayman Brac is named for the Gaelic word for bluff as its central feature is a bluff that runs the length of the island into the sea.  The smallest island is Little Cayman and it is the least developed as it has no sources of natural freshwater. 

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Sail Away on a Caribbean Cruise

Sail Away on a Caribbean Cruise

Sail Away to the Caribbean on a Cruise!

Every year our family goes on a Caribbean cruise out of Tampa with Royal Caribbean. It is a great way to relax and have fun in the warm tropical weather. This year’s cruise was 5 nights and stopped in Cozumel and Grand Cayman. It was especially nice because we left while Florida was having a bit of a cold spell, but the weather in the Caribbean was great.

We have been fortunate enough to go on a lot of cruises over the years and have become very loyal to Royal Caribbean due to their fantastic loyalty program, Crown & Anchor Society. You can read all about this program here.

The ship we were on this year was the Brilliance of the Seas. She is a medium sized ship that has great amenities and a fantastic crew. This is our favorite size ship to sail on.  Here is an overview of our 5 day cruise with our tips. We will also have a list of our best tips at the end!

Day 1: Tampa, FL

Brilliance of the Seas in Tampa, FL

We suggest that you head to the cruise terminal around 11am. If you go to early, the ship’s not ready and you have to wait. If you go later in the afternoon, that’s when most other people arrive so you also have to wait. Unfortunately boarding the ship usually requires waiting in a few lines, so be patient and prepared by eating a snack beforehand. Luckily we did not have to wait too long and headed straight to the buffet for lunch.

Check out our tips for first time cruisers.

We always like to take a tour of the ship to see where everything is and what’s going on. It’s good to know where the Guest Services is located, the dining room, and your room. Typically the rooms are not ready until around 1 or 2pm and your luggage should be in front of your door. If it’s not, don’t panic yet! It’s probably on it’s way. When the room is ready we like to unpack and freshen up a little before heading to the Sail Away Party on the Lido Deck!

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