And you can read about all of the wedding planning here!
All caught up? Great, we're ready to continue on with Day 9 of our awesome honeymoon cruise:
Sorry there are no pics of the first part of this day! I erased them all accidentally! BUMMER!! see my explanation near the bottom of this post.
MAY 10, 2011 - GRAND CAYMAN DAY
We were both awake before the alarm went off, and we threw on some clothes and headed out to the front deck to see if we could see land and take pictures.
Back in the room, Tim ordered room service coffee, and I went out on the balcony to see if the swimsuits were dry. They were! (and they hadn't blown away!)
Room service came within 20 minutes and Tim drank his coffee while we both took showers and dressed for a beach day in Grand Cayman.
We weren't really in a hurry that morning, so we took our time getting ready and packing our beach bag.
Around 9:00, we made our way to deck 0, and we were boarding the tender in no time. The tender is a small boat that took us to the island from the ship, since there are no large docks for the ship to pull up to.
It was a beautiful day! The sky was blue and there were white cottony clouds. I was anxious to see what Grand Cayman was all about, but the tender took several minutes to fill up and move away from the ship.
When we got off the tender, we thought we would look for a taxi to take us to "Royal Palms", which I heard was a nice area to swim and hang out on Grand Cayman's beautiful 7 mile beach.
We headed into the crowd of people at the port, and I noticed there were people holding signs that were offering to take people by shuttle bus to different areas of 7 mile beach. We found a man with a sign for Royal Palms Beach. We asked him how much for the ride to Royal Palms? He told us it would be $5.00 per person, but he could take us to a much better beach than Royal Palms. Since I hadn't really researched Grand Cayman (we wanted to "wing it") we took his word for it and waited for the shuttle bus.
Within a minute or two, the man asked us to follow a lady who would take us to our shuttle bus. She took us around the corner and asked us to wait while she gathered more people.
We waited about 5 minutes, and then we followed the lady and a few other people to an old minivan. This was just a little odd, because the entire parking lot was full of people getting into nice new shuttle busses, and we were escourted to an old junky minivan. We all got in, filling the van, and the lady closed the door.
Then she walked away.
The van was running and the air conditioner was blowing. It wasn't really hot in there, but after 5-10 minutes of sitting in a mini-van full of people, I was beginning to get impatient. We obviously weren't waiting for more people to fill the van, we were stuffed in there as it was. While we waited in the minivan, we saw many busses filling with people and taking off in different directions. Tim and I were beginning to wonder why we were sitting in a minivan. Just as I was beginning to formulate a plan for Tim and I to get out of the van and go look for a taxi, the lady came back and asked us all to get out of the van and follow her to another shuttle bus.
This was getting really tiring, but we decided to give this lady one more chance to get us to a beach. She directed us to one of the newer shuttle busses. There was a man in the drivers seat, and as soon as we were on the bus and seated, we were off! Finally!
The steering wheel was on the wrong side of the bus, and the bus was going down the wrong side of the road, but I was getting used to this by now. On the way to the beach, the driver (I don't remember his name!) told us interesting things about Grand Cayman.
We reached the beach in about 10 minutes, and we were let out at a beach house type place with a bar, tables, an area with small gift items for sale, and a lot of beach chairs. I don't remember what this area of 7 mile beach was called.
We left the bar area and went toward the water, which was just on the other side of the bar area. We walked along the shoreline looking for a place to call home for a few hours. We soon came upon another beach area that looked a little less crowded (there was no bar here, and no buildings) There was a tent where we could rent chairs and an umbrella. We decided to stay.
We paid $35.00 total for 2 lounge chairs ($10.00 each), 1 umbrella($10.00), and snorkle gear for me($5.00).
The woman told us to find a spot on the beach, and a young man followed us with our chairs, our umbrella, and a shovel. When we found a spot, the young man set up our chairs and dug a hole for our umbrella.
For the next 4 hours, Tim and I relaxed on the beach and swam around in the water. I snorkled quite a bit right by the shore, and I found a lot of small seashell and coral pieces, which I put into baggies in the beachbag to take home.
When we got hungry, we walked over to one of the food vending trailers nearby and ordered hot dogs, chips, and bottles of cold water.
It was a beautiful day on a beautiful beach, and Tim and I had a very nice time. I will admit though, our beachday at Grand Cayman wasn't quite as nice as either of our 2 beachdays on Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay the week before. We had been spoiled at Jack's Shack (Grand Turk) and on Half Moon Cay, and this beach wasn't even close.
I'll give a few examples of why I say this:
1. The sand wasn't as fine or as nice in Grand Cayman as the beaches in Grand Turk or Half Moon Cay.
2. The seashells were more abundant on Grand Cayman, but they were smaller broken pieces.
3. The Grand Cayman beach was a little dirty with litter. There was an apple core, a straw, cigarette buts and
other trash to navagate through when walking from the lounge chairs to the water.
4. Although our hotdogs and chips were good, we enjoyed our meals at Jacks Shack and at HMC much better.
5. The snorkle gear at Grand Cayman wasn't as nice, and didn't work as well as the gear that Carnival had for me in the cabana on Half Moon Cay.
So although Tim and I thought our day on 7 mile beach was not quite as nice as our other 2 beach days, we still had a very enjoyable time in Grand Cayman. The view out over the ocean was beautiful and peaceful and we both spent a long time staring off at the ocean. I think Tim was doing pretty good at relaxing by now!
I think this was due to lack of planning on my part. I left a few port days for us to "wing it" (Nassau & Grand Cayman) because I was being accused of micro-managing our entire trip. It turns out, the port days I researched out and planned for Grand Turk, HMC & Jamaica were our favorite days. I'll keep this in mind for next time.
After we had been on the beach a while, Tim and I were walking back to our chairs after a dip in the water and we noticed Norma and Brian were sitting in some lounge chairs just behind us! We hadn't planned this, or even spoken with them about our Grand Cayman plans, and now we end up on the same beach, about 20 feet away from each other! Quite a coincinence! When Norma and Brian arrived the beach, Tim and I were in the water so we hadn't seen each other at first. We talked to them for a few minutes and I reminded Norma about the chocolate buffet that would be set up on the ship the next day. I also asked if she and Brian were planning to go to the Past Guest Party? I was really looking forward to this! Norma said yes, she and Brian were planning on going, and we agreed we would look for each other at the party later that night.
Around 1:45PM, Tim and I took our last swim in the ocean. We knew this was REALLY our last swim in the ocean, as there were no more port stops between here and Miami.
We collected sand in our baggie, and packed our beachbag. We told the lady in the tent we were done using our chairs and umbrella, and I handed her back the snorkle gear.
Tim and I s l o w l y walked down the beach and back toward the bar where we would look for a shuttle bus back to the port.
We found a shuttle bus waiting for us, and we got in. We talked to another couple for several minutes while we all waited for the driver to fill the bus with more people. The couple we talked to were sailing on the Carnival Valor, which had pulled into port that morning just after we did. Their daughter got married on the ship the day before, and they were having a nice time.
It wasn't long before our driver jumped in the bus and drove us back to the port.
We got off the bus and noticed there was a Harley Davidson store right there in the port area. We walked over and took a look around. Tim picked out a shirt, but I didn't. I had bought 2 the day before in Jamaica so I was happy. We looked at their magnets, but we didn't really like the choices. We paid for Tim's shirt and went next store to the gift shop to look for a better magnet.
The gift shop was crowded, and we inched our way around the store until we came to the magnet display. We picked one out, and inched our way over to the cashier to pay.
Before long, we were back out in the sunshine, and we walked around the port area a little bit and took a few pictures. Sadly, pictures I no longer have......
We finally decided it was time to head back to the ship, and we reluctantly walked toward the area where we were to board the tenders.
Just before I boarded the tender, I thought about how the next time I step foot on land, I'll be in Miami. I was a little sad thinking about how we had just finished our last port stop (5 altogether on this B2B) and our cruise was almost over. I was glad there was still another sea day before it would end!
We got on the tender and headed up to the top. We were one of the first few people on this tender, and we knew it would be a few minutes before we would be full. We knew by now that shuttle busses and tender boats only travel when FULL! We spent some time people watching and taking pictures of Grand Cayman from the tender while we waited.
When we boarded the ship, Tim and I headed straight up to deck 10. I had promised myself I was going to go down the waterslide at least once on this cruise, and Tim and I thought now might be a good time to avoid the crowds. Plus, I was still in my swimsuit.
Our timing was perfect and there were only 2 or 3 other people in line. The slide was fun, and I'm glad to say I did it! Tim took pictures of me at the top of the slide, and also at the bottom, but unfortunately, I lost those pictures too. These pictures were in the huge batch of Grand Cayman pictures that I accidentally deleted, never to see them again! Yes, I'm kicking myself, but I told Tim we will just have to have a do-over on the cruise, so I can re-take the Grand Cayman pictures. The cool thing is.........he AGREED!!! So maybe it was a good thing I lost my Grand Cayman pics after all??
After the waterslide, Tim and I went back to our room to take showers and get dressed. We then took our big cups and went up to the lido deck to fill them with ice water (me) and lemonaid (Tim).
We walked back to the adults only -serenity deck, and we smelled the food cooking at "The Grill". Mmmmmm.....food! I ate a whole plate full of french fries (I sure did!) and I also had an ice cream cone. I generally don't eat whole platefulls of french fries and ice cream at home, but I was on vacation! I think Tim had Chicken nuggets and french fries. We ate, relaxed, and people watched. The serenity area was my favorite area of the ship. I loved to sit back here. I'm pretty sure Tim agrees with me.
Around 3:00 PM, we walked back to our cabin so we could get ready for the past guest party at 5:15, and then dinner in the MDR at 6:00.
We took our time getting ready, and around 5 we grabbed our invitations and went to the Paladium lounge.
When we got there, the party was in full swing! There were hundreds of people and the room was full! The lights were very dim, so we made our way down the aisle and found 2 seats towards the center of the room. We didn't see Norma and Brian right away but after awhile, Tim spotted them way over on the right side.
There were many many waiters walking around handing out drinks and little snacks. It was pretty dark in the room, so I didn't always know what I was eating. Most of it was good, especially the chicken salad on crackers. I drank 2 drinks while we were there, one rum and punch, and one straight punch.
After a while, we saw a short movie about how Carnival cruiseline got started and we all cheered for the ships we had sailed on when they showed them on the screen. After the movie, our cruise director Noonan came on stage and thanked us all for sailing, and then introduced our Captain and a few other Officers.
Tim and I left a little early because we didn't want to keep Achmed waiting in the MDR. We walked up to the dining room and we were again happy to see our cozy little booth by the wall, and Achmed waiting for us with coffee for Tim, and ice water and hot rolls for both of us.
That night I ordered a fruit plate for my appetizer and blackened chicken for my meal, which was very good. Tim had a salad and fish.
Again, Tim and I were both stuffed and we left before dessert. We were back in our room by 7:00, and we spent some time on the balcony watching the sea go by. We also liked to look straight down and watch the wake from the ship. The churning water had a nice rythmic sound and was very calming to watch.
At 7:40, Tim and I walked up to the front deck to take pictures of the sunset. After the beautiful Jamaican sunset last night, we hoped we would get more good pictures tonight.
This bench was out on the front deck:
We were back in our room by 9:00, and I sat down to download pictures from the sunset into the daily folder on the laptop. This is the part where I was given 2 choices by my downloading program, and I obviously picked the one that said "erase everything in this folder and replace it with these new pictures". Unfortunately, I wouldn't realize my mistake until I got home and couldn't correct it.
This is why there are no pictures of our Grand Cayman beach day! So sad!
Ah well......Nothing I can do about it now. And like I said before, now I need a do-over!
Tim and I watched TV, and hung out a little on the balcony that night. We were tired from our time spent in the sun that day, and we were both asleep by 11:30.
Day 10 is HERE!!!