Ohana Means Family: The Disney Difference
Day 5, Part 1: I Enjoy Long Walks on the Beach
So, if you read my last post and looked at the “Next Up” I’m sorry for jumping the gun on that one, we still have one more day to go through until I get to that post! This morning is our morning in Grand Cayman!
When we woke up, we decided to start off with breakfast at Lumiere’s. The boat had already docked at 7:30 am but since we didn’t have an excursion planned, we decided to take our time and have a nice breakfast first. For breakfast I had the french toast and pineapple stack which I really liked and Dave had the Eggs Benedict which he preferred over the Eggs Julia he had at Palo.
After breakfast, it was time to tender. This was the only port we had to tender at, the ship was able to dock at all other ports. For tendering, you go to the Buena Vista Theater (movie theater) and obtain a ticket. They then seat you in rows to determine groups for the next available boat. When the next boat arrives, they escort the group down to the debarkation and collect tickets as you board the boat.
Now, we went later than most people and also did not have an excursion to get to, but I felt this process was pretty smooth. We did wait a bit in the theater, but didn’t mind much. They do check to be sure you are not carrying any fruit or meat products off the ship, if you try to, you could get hit with a hefty fine!
The tender boats can be quite rocky so my advice here is 1.) If you have been taking seasickness medication, or get at all seasick on boats, take your meds before leaving for Grand Cayman 2.) if you are on the taller side DUCK when getting on and off the boat. As the boat rises up and down against the ship it can make it awfully close to having you hit your head if not actually do so.
When we got on the island, we first walked into downtown to get some free wifi from Margarittaville. We then looked for a way of getting to the beach and found the taxi/vans that other people had mentioned in forums and trip reports. We knew it wouldn’t be the nicest way of going, but we attempted it anyway.
I can tell you right now, people do not exaggerate about these. They pack them to the brim with people (think sardines) and wait until every single seat is filled in order to leave. When we got on, the van was relatively full but still waiting. After a few minutes, a large family got so fed up that they left. Then it was a longer wait until their seats, and the ones we were waiting to fill, were filled.
When we finally got going, the driver told us there were two options for tourists going to Seven Mile Beach. You could go to Calico Jack’s (formerly Sea Grape) and pay just the taxi ride ($5 per person). Or you could go to Royal Palms, pay the taxi ride ($4 per person), the entrance fee ($2 I think) and chair rentals. The driver convinced us all we wanted to go to Calico Jack’s because there is no entrance fee, there is a restaurant and facilities, and it is much less crowded than Royal Palms. She also wouldn’t really take no for an answer, which made us believe they had some sort of deal with Calico Jack’s.
When we first got there, it wasn’t terrible. Yes, there is a small bar/food place, and facilities. The water is clean. However, when we started walking down the beach looking for a spot to put down our towels, we were told we had to keep walking farther away from the chair rentals. The beach was very narrow without much room for people to spread out.
By the time we got to an area where the staff were “ok” with us sitting, the surroundings went from “ok” to definitely sub par. The beach was dirty, including bags of beer cans and behind us was this lovely construction site you can see in back of the above picture. The beach also got very crowded, very quickly. I realize for some a beach is a beach and that’s fine if that’s how you feel. However, we felt there were nicer public beaches (albeit with more seaweed and less blue water) along the Connecticut shore line (despite the Long Island Sound) or the Rhode Island Shore than we experienced at Calico Jack’s.
We decided it wasn’t for us and wanted to leave. But we did NOT want to get back on that taxi again. Besides, we could see the boat, so we figured it would take about as long to walk back as it would to wait for the next taxi, wait for it to fill up, etc. So we opted for adventure.
Our walk along the water was beautiful. Of course, we were walking along many private beaches, but no one bothered us as long as we kept walking. Mind you, I would not have tried to swim or sunbathe on any of these beaches as many of them had a no trespassing sign for their beach part. The way the signs were worded, though, the water and water line seemed fair game. It was nice to walk where the waves were breaking and enjoy the sun. We even saw some aquatic life swimming around. Most of the beaches were empty, except one more that was packed which we assumed was Royal Palms.
There did come a time, however, where we could no longer walk on the beach and needed to make a move. Our only option was to walk through a swanky resort toward the road. We decided confidence was our best bet, so we walked straight through the lobby and the resort and ended up at the road. From there, though we thought we were close, it was another at least 45 minute walk. There were also no nice shops or anything to look at, we walked on narrow (or no) sidewalks, and some parts were a bit shady. In total it took us 2 hours to walk from Calico Jack’s to get back to the dock. Definitely not a walk I would do with kids, but the walking along the beach made the rest of the walk worth it for us. Then again, we live in New York City and are used to walking a lot to get anywhere!
If I went back to Grand Cayman Again, I would either book an excursion or stay on the boat. Seven Mile Beach wasn’t any nicer than sitting by the pool on the ship where we could get cheaper drinks and free food all day.
Next Up: Back to an Empty Boat!