Thursday, October 17, 2013

My Caribbean Vacation - Day 11 - Grand Cayman Day

Click here for DAY 1DAY 2DAY 3 , DAY 4, 
DAY 5 , DAY 6 DAY 7 ,  DAY 8,  DAY 9
or DAY 10

Also, HERE is my tour of the Carnival Victory

DAY 11 - GRAND CAYMAN DAY - Tuesday Sept 10, 2013 

We woke up at 6 the next morning, and of course we went out to the balcony to see where what the morning had in store for us.
It looked like it had rained during the night. We hoped our Jamaican friends were getting plenty of their "liquid sunshine".
We watched the sun come up, and we both took a few pictures. It was another beautiful morning!

We took showers, and got ready for our day.
We went up to the Lido deck and found Hector, and I got my omelet.
Good Morning Hector!!

We ate on our balcony as we watched our approach to Grand Cayman.

As soon as the ship came to a stop and put the anchor down, we were swarmed with boats.

Christina and I left Carlos his tip and a nice note. We grabbed our backpacks and headed down to Deck 0 to get on a tender boat.

Of course we saw Ari on our way to the elevators,
Say hi to Ari!!!

 Of course, he wished us a good day in Grand Cayman as we passed by his cart in the hallway.

Today Christina and I were going horseback riding on the beach. It was called a "swim & ride" so we were actually going to go in the water on the horses.

We didn't book the Carnival horseback riding excursion, we booked this one on our own.
When we were reading about the Carnival excursion, the rules said we would have to wear jeans and tennis shoes. Yuck. Who wants to wear jeans and tennis shoes on a Caribbean island on a hot day??

Also, we couldn't find much info about the Carnival horseback riding at all. During our planning stages of the cruise, we wanted to know specifically WHERE on the island we would be riding, and we had a few questions. We couldn't seem to find any of the answers we were looking for.

So, we looked around on our own for horseback riding in Grand Cayman. We ended up finding a ranch called "Pampered Ponies" and they had a website with a lot of info about their horseback riding excursion. We emailed them and asked questions. Lori emailed back and answered all of our questions.
We could wear shorts and flip-flops!
We would get a 2 hour ride (longer ride than Carnival's excursion) and we would be able to swim with the horses in the water!

I altered a map of GC so you can see where we were.
The black X shows where the cruise ship is anchored.
The black arrow is the general area where the Carnival Horseback riding excursion is.
The red X is where Pampered Ponies took Christina and I to ride. We were in an area called West Bay.

Grand Cayman has a very fast tender boat system. They know what they are doing. They had several boats to take us to and from the island. We were on the tender in no time.

We went down to the bottom floor of the tender, and the boat filled up pretty quickly.
Christina is ready for her Grand Cayman day!

Our Canadian balcony neighbors happened to get on the same tender we were on. They came over and sat behind us and we talked to them on the tender ride.

When we got off the tender, we walked through a few of the port gift shops.
There is a small Harley Davidson store in the port area, and we stopped in there to shop. 
We got a few things and then we made our way out onto the main street.

We walked down the street about 10 blocks and found a really big Harley Davidson store, we stopped in there to cool off and shop some more.  

A pic of the streets of Grand Cayman

We didn't have too long to shop and walk around before we had to meet up with our driver to take us to Pampered Ponies.
Our designated meeting spot was in front of this restaurant, called Casanova's.

Christina and I were at the meeting place on time, and so was our driver. She was a sweet little lady, and we chatted with her while we waited for another family that had also booked with pampered Ponies that day.

We waited a few minutes and Christina and I asked her if we had time to get a bottle of water while we waited.
The lady (we don't remember her name!) told us where to go, and we walked a short block to a convenient store.
As we walked down the street, a chicken ran across the street right in front of us.........I swear I have never seen a chicken cross a street before in my life. It was funny, and prompted us to ask each other "Why did the chicken cross the road??"
At the little store, we were surprised to find WATA, just like we found in Jamaica!

We each bought 2 bottles and we walked back to where our driver was waiting

We stood there waiting and talked to the driver for about 25 minutes or so. The other family never showed up.

Christina talking to our driver. She was full of neat info about Grand Cayman.

After a while, we left and headed to Pampered Ponies. Christina and I were secretly happy that other family never showed up. We were excited to have a "private" ride.

It took about 10-15 minutes to drive up to the ranch. We drove right past our driver's moms house, and she pointed it out and honked as we drove by.

Very soon we arrived at the ranch.
We could see the horses saddled and waiting for us

A man came out and introduced himself to us. His name was Bing, and he was going to be our guide.

Bing was not very talkative. We really weren't sure what to think of him.
He was very serious and kind of quiet.

We asked if we could leave our backpacks at the ranch while we rode and he showed us where to put them.
He brought one horse out and helped Christina get on.
They had little stairs we could use, so it was really easy to get on.

Christina on her horse "Summer", while Bing went to get my horse.
We could see the ranch was on oceanfront property, HOW COOL!! I wouldn't mind waking up to this view everyday.

And then Bing helped me on my horse, "Moonstruck"
I'm on a horse for the first time in many many years. I think the last time I rode a horse, I was a child.

When we were ready, Bing led us out of the ranch on a trail.

Surprisingly, we didn't go right onto the beach, we went out on the street in front of the ranch.
Our 3 horses clippity-clopped down the street.

After a block or two, we came to a dirt road, and we walked along that road for a few more blocks
Bing turned around and checked on us every three seconds. Really, he rode kind of sideways and watched us behind him as much as he watched the front.

At some point, we turned  off the dirt road and onto the beach. I found out later this stretch of beach is part of  Barkers National Park. The clouds that were coming in looked pretty dark but it wasn't raining and we kept going

When we got to the shoreline we walked along the beach for quite a long way.

It was a really nice ride. I was surprised at how peaceful and relaxing it was. The ocean looked awesome with the storm rolling in, and the horses were calm and walked along the edge of the water. 

We stopped and Bing took my camera and got some pics of both of us

After we took pictures, Bing helped us off our horses. Then he tied the horses to some small trees that were there and began taking the saddles off. Christina and I looked at each other with wide eyes. We were both unsure about riding bareback into the ocean. We mentioned to Bing that we were both a little nervous about the bareback part and he assured us that we would be fine. 
Since he was just about done taking all three of our saddles off, we shook off our fears went along with it.

The skies were really getting dark by this time, but it still wasn't raining. 

We took off our flip flops and I gave my camera to Bing. He had a little plastic bag with him that he was putting his stuff in while we went in the water. He put my camera in the bag too, in case it rained and we left the bag and our shoes on a log on the beach.

There happened to be another little set of stairs there, and Bing helped us onto our bareback horses.
He showed us how to hold the mane, and told us to hold the reins very loosely and not to pull on the reins at all when the horse was in the water.

We followed Bing slowly off the beach and into the water. The horses were so gentle and they walked very slowly and carefully. My worries of falling off Moonstruck's back while he walked on the sand were gone very quickly.

We walked the horses out into the water and it was pretty shallow water for a long way out. We were far from shore and the horses were still touching the ground.
Bing pointed out a stingray swimming in the water near us. I had never seen a stingray before.
I was in the water up to my waist by now. It was really nice and enjoyable. The water felt great, it was a hot and humid day.
I could see why Bing had told us not to pull on the reins in the water. Moonstrucks nose was inches above the water as he walked along the bottom. If I had pulled on the reins, his nose whould have been pulled down and under the water. I was very careful not to pull.

As we went out further from shore, the waves were getting bigger and bigger. The clouds were also rolling in right above us.

Moonstruck decided he didn't want to go out any farther and he turned back toward shore.
Bing told me to turn him around, and I tried a few times (without pulling). Moonstruck did not want to go further out to sea. He was going back to shore.
I decided the horse was probably right, there was a storm rolling in and we shouldn't really be going out to sea. At that point I just let him walk slowly back to shore.

Christina and Bing followed us back out of the water and Bing jumped down and helped us off our horses.

Bing sat down to have a smoke before he saddled up the horses. (Christina and I left our smokes back at the ranch in our backpacks! Darn!)
We talked to Bing while he smoked. We started asking him about himself and about Grand Cayman and he opened up a lot. He was really nice and we had a very nice talk with him on the beach.

He told us he was from Jamaica (JAMAICA!!!) but he had been living in Grand Cayman almost 20 years now. He said he used to come to Grand Cayman to shoe horses every few weeks, and somehow he just ended up staying there.
We talked about Jamaica, and he told us about the corrupt government. He was very passionate when he talked about the government problems there. He said he loved his country, but he wouldn't dance with them at their Independence Day celebration every year. He said he would not celebrate that holiday until things changed.

We also talked about Grand Cayman and the economy and employment there. He said Grand Cayman is an expensive place to live. He said it is such a small island, there is nothing to do. He said a lot of people drink alcohol to pass the time.

Bing began to saddle our horses while we were talking and then he helped us get back on them.

Another group of horses came down the beach toward us. It was the family that was supposed to be with us on our ride. They had gotten confused about the meeting time, and they were an hour late for their ride.
It wasn't raining yet, and they were going to go ahead and do their swim part of the ride.

It really looked like it was going to rain any minute so Bing kept my camera in his bag and carried it all the way back for me. That was so nice of him!

As we walked back along the beach, it did start raining lightly. Then it started raining harder, and then it poured. I was already wet from the waist down, so I didn't mind too much. It was really kind of nice plodding along the beach in the rain. There was something enjoyable about it. Just like the day before, we were pretty much done with our excursion, so the rain wasn't a big deal.

We went back the same way we came. First we walked along the beach for a long way. Then we took a path and went on the dirt road, and finally the paved street.
As we were walking back, different cars would slow down and honk and wave at us. After about 5 or 6 cars did this, I asked Bing if he knew these people. Yes, he said he did know them.

Back at the ranch we got off the horses right as the rain stopped.
We said goodbye to Summer and Moonstruck, and Bing tied the horses up.

He gave me back my camera, totally dry! I would have been in trouble if it wasn't for Bing bringing a bag and carrying it back for me. It's not a waterproof camera. Thanks, Bing!!!

We asked him if he would take a few pictures with us and he was happy to.
Bing is smiling! Such a big change from the very serious guy we started with:

Christina and I really enjoyed our ride. It was so peaceful and relaxing. It was just the opposite of the crazy day we had in Jamaica the day before, but Christina and I both agreed it was just as awesome of a day. Horseback riding in Grand Cayman was perfect, and just what we needed.

We gave Bing a really good tip, I think we each gave him $20, and we thanked him for showing us a good time.

Right about that time, Lori came out and introduced herself. She was the owner of Pampered Ponies.
She showed us where we could change out of our wet clothes and told us she would drive us back to the port when we were ready.

While we were still there, the other family came back from their ride. They decided not to do the swim part of their ride after all and they were back early.

Our horseback ride lasted 2 hours and we were on the horses for a distance of 2 miles total. The cost of the ride was $200.00 for both of us. I reserved the ride using my debit card, and Lori didn't charge my card until we were back from our ride. I highly recommend this excursion if you are looking for something relaxing to do in Grand Cayman. Their website is HERE (Pampered Ponies)

Lori drove Christina and I back to the port in her pick-up truck and we enjoyed our conversation on the ride back. We asked her to drop us off a few blocks from the port at a restaurant called Rackam's.

We loved this place!
It was on the waterfront, but we were able to sit under the tent thingie, so we had shade. It wasn't really sunny, but it was hot and humid. It was cooler under the tent.

We could see our ship out there waiting for us while we ate. 

We could see the tender boats loading up passengers and making trips back to the ship

We felt so calm and peaceful after our ride. I remember thinking that as nice as our ride back in the rain was, it felt SO good to be in dry clothes.

We had a couple of visitors while we waited for our food.
This guy didn't look like any bird I had ever seen. He hopped onto our table looking for food.

And this reptile thing came a little too close for my comfort. He was hanging around the other side of our table where I couldn't see him. I was afraid he would run under the table and up my leg. I felt much better after he moved on.
He was about 2 feet long with his tail.

Our food came.
Christina got a chicken roll-up, and she said it was very good

And I got a spicy chicken sandwich
It sure was spicy! My sinuses were clear after I ate it. It was good, but not the best chicken I ever had.

Of all of the places I had eaten jerk chicken on this vacation;  Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay, Jamaica, and Grand Cayman............... this one was the worst (sorry Rackam's!)
Jack's Shack in Grand Turk was the best. Half Moon Cay second, and Mystic Mountain third.

I really did like the restaurant, Rackam's, and I would definitely eat there again if I'm ever in Grand Cayman.

After we ate, we settled the bill and walked the 2-3 blocks back to the port.
When we got into the port area, we walked into the Harley Davidson store again and I decided to buy a few things  to take home for Tim and I.

I got this salt and pepper shaker set. We have been using it for a few weeks and we love them!
Most expensive salt and pepper shakers I have ever bought. I think I paid $30.00 for them. YIKES!
They are a good souvenir from Grand Cayman and something we use daily, so it was worth it.

I also bought a set of wetstone coasters. $25.00 for two coasters. YIKES again, but what the heck!
We each have one on our desk at home and we use them daily.

We walked into a few other shops, and I posed for pictures with all of the pirates

At this point we were stalling. We knew this was our last island, and we wanted to stay as long as we possibly could. 
The port area was very empty. Almost everyone was back on the ship by now. 

We still had 30 minutes or more before the last tender back to the ship

We finally went through the gates and out toward the tender.
Taking pictures and stalling some more

Back on the ship, we stayed out on the balcony for sailaway.

We could see Rackam's, where we had just ate lunch (with the blue tent roof)

In keeping with the peaceful and calm mood for the day, this is how we watched our ship sail away from Grand Cayman.

We stayed on the balcony for awhile and then we got dressed for dinner. 
We were slow to get ready tonight, and by the time we got to the dining room, we had just missed the singing and dancing. They did the Macarena tonight.

Here we are again in our favorite booth in Donovan and Joyce's section

After we ate, we still had an hour before they were going to do the Macarena again in the dining room. Christina and I wanted to see it, but we didn't want to sit there at the table for an hour.

We had an idea, and we asked Donovan if we could leave for an hour and come back for dessert and the Macarena. Donovan said that would be fine with him. I have never heard of anyone eating in the MDR twice in one night, but we were going to do it.

We told Donovan and Joyce we would be back in an hour, and we left.

Christina and I out in the lobby after dinner

We went up to the casino bar on deck 5 to have a smoke and see what was happening up there. 

The usual band was playing, people were milling about. There was always something going on in this area. 

While we were there, we ran into our friend. This was the guy we met yesterday when we were getting back on the ship from Jamaica. He was also the one that played in the Adult Quest Game Show we watched last night.
We told him how funny he was last night. We hadn't expected him to play, but we were glad he did.
He said his name was Brad, and he introduced us to his friend Zack.
The four of us talked for a while, and Christina and I remembered we had to get back down to the MDR for dessert and the Macarena.

We were all enjoying each others company, so Christina and I invited Brad and Zack to come down to the MDR with us for dessert and the Macarena.

They agreed to come with us.
In case you're wondering, we made sure Brad and Zack knew we both had men at home and we were just hanging out with them as friends. Of course, they might have had different intentions, we would have no way of knowing what they were really thinking. In the end, Brad and Zack turned out to be two really good guys. We spent some time with them through the rest of the cruise, and they were both very honorable and decent 100% of the time.

The four of us went down to the Atlantic Dining Room and we checked in with the hostess. She seemed to be expecting us (well, she expected 2 of us) and she took us back to our regular table.

Awww...........Christina and I couldn't believe it!! Donovan had set up our table for us with flowers around our water glasses!!! It was really beautiful, and we appreciated the thought behind that.

Joyce had made us little hats too. They had our dessert menus out for us. The table looked so nice.
Except they weren't expecting 4 of us.
Donovan was surprised we brought friends with us, but he quickly set 2 more places and the guys sat across from us at our table.

Almost as soon as we sat down, the lights flickered and it was time to do the Macarena!
Christina and I made Brad and Zack get up and dance too

All four of us danced and made a lot of noise back there, it was quite fun!!

When it was over, we all sat back down and ordered dessert. I was really full from dinner, so I ordered fruit.

While we were waiting for our dessert to come, the bar server came around with the shots. Before I knew it, there was a shot of something in front of me. I have no idea what it was but I really wanted the glass it came in. They guys said I had to drink the shot if I wanted to keep the glass. So I drank up! 
Thanks for the free shot and the cool shotglass!

When our dessert came around, we ate and more shots appeared! These shots were like $8.50 each and I was beginning to wonder why on earth these guys with such good intentions were buying us these expensive shots??
I must not have been that worried about it because I drank that up too!!!

My very awesome glass shot glasses!

Donovan and Joyce spent some time with us at our table. 

Donovan made a hat for Brad

And Brad modeled Joyce's hat for us too

Notice Zack trying to stay out of the photo above? He was hard to capture on camera.
I did, however, get his one of zack later on:
I would definitely describe both Brad and Zack as funny, maybe even goofy. But hey, we're on a cruise right? Even Christina and I were acting pretty goofy as we kept doing our own version of "Hey Baby" complete with song and dance. 

So after we all finished our shots and dessert, we said goodbye to Donovan and Joyce and the four of us went off to find something to do. It was about 9:00 PM and we ended up on the Lido deck, just in time to watch the Caribbean Party out on the deck at 9:30!! 

The Caribbean party started with a lot of noisemaking and singing and dancing. At one point, Katie came past us leading a conga line dance

I wish I had taken more pictures that night. 

We watched from the back as Marcelo, Donkey and Shane (my 3 faves!) danced up on the hot tub platforms and got the crowd dancing and singing. It really looked like fun and I wish I had participated in it. 

Our little group stood off in the back and although we could see and hear, we weren't very close to the action.
Before long, I was handed another shot and I drank up with everyone else! This one came in a very cool shot glass that was blinking red and blue lights. I loved the light green drink inside it, and I was told it is called a "Scooby Snack". It tasted like ice cream!

Ok so this was my 3rd "free" shot and by now I started to figure out what was going on. 
Brad and Zack both had the "Cheers" cards. They both were able to get 15 drinks for free/ per day. Of course they were supposed to be drinking those 15 drinks by themselves, and not sharing with us girls. 
I'm pretty sure there was some under the table tipping going on. The shots kept flowing for the 4 of us.

My cool blinky light-up shot glasses, This picture does not capture how cool these really are:

Christina and I aren't big drinkers. I certainly don't drink much at all. Other than the few drinks I had on this cruise so far, I don't think I had an alcoholic drink since my honeymoon in 2011. 

Well, on this night, the drinks we handed to me and I was drinking them up. 
I found out, at this age I can hold my liquor a lot better than I could when I was young.

When the Caribbean Party was over, I saw Shane walk past us and I said hi to him. He recognized me and told my comment card came to him through email. It was also sent to his boss (Marcello) and the rest of the entertainment team.  I thought it was good to know those comment cards spread so quickly. I had just turned it in the night before. Shane thanked me for writing it. We talked for a brief moment and he went on to wherever he was going.

The four of us sat down at the bar, but we soon moved to a more comfortable table near the bar. 
We must have sat there for hours. There were more shots, there were more drinks. I don't even know what we were drinking, but I had 5 or 6 of them......maybe more........and this was in addition to all the shots.

WE'RE ON A CRUISE!!! We were living it up that night!!
I think we got a little loud out there on the lido deck. Yeah, we were THOSE people. 
We really had a lot of fun! Everything was quite funny!

We weren't obnoxious enough to get kicked off the Lido Deck. Actually, the bar waiters were hanging out with us some of the time. Maybe we were a lot of fun to hang out with?? Maybe it was because the tips were flowing??
I have no idea, but the drinks kept coming. 
At last call, maybe around 1 or 2:00AM the bar servers brought about 10 drinks at one time. We were good for awhile. I was good for awhile.

I have no idea what time we all left the Lido deck, but it was long after the pool bar had closed down.
He he, we closed down the pool bar!!! WOOHOO!!! 

We went down to deck 5 and found the Arctic Nightclub open. We all went in and we couldn't believe how crowded it was. 
We found 4 seats together and we all ordered more drinks. 
It was very lively in the dance club............ loud music, lots of people...........we didn't dance but we enjoyed the music and the people watching. 

We were in the club for about 45 minutes and Christina and I were starting to wind down, we had a long day and we were getting tired. 

The guys walked us back to our cabin and we all said goodnight. 

Carlos had been in our cabin while we were gone and he left us a really cute little turtle. 

It was after 3:00AM when we got back to our cabin that night. I couldn't believe we had stayed out that late but it sure was fun!

Christina and I were asleep within 15 minutes of getting back to our cabin.

The next day was a sea day, so we were glad we could sleep as late as we wanted to, or needed to!
We had two REALLY good days in a row in Jamaica and Grand Cayman. Of course, the whole vacation so far had been full of good days, but the last two days were over the top, extra fun, AMAZING days.
I was really glad the next day was a sea day. I looked forward to some down time.

I slept so good that night, better than any night so far on this vacation.

Day 12 is HERE!


  1. Most vacations should include one day of doing random shots.. especially the free kind :)

  2. It really was completely random, especially since I rarely drink! It was a fun time though.............and the free drinks were AWESOME!!!