Seven Mile Beach: Grand Cayman

7milesbeach

Writing about cruising with kids gives me a chance to look back at our photo from our latest cruise 2 years ago to the Caribbean. After 2 years, Seven Mile beach is still Miss J’s favorite memory for the whole trip.

I had done a lot of planning on that trip and we booked an excursion for the swimming with sting ray later on that day in Grand Cayman.

However, we arrived early in the morning which gave us a couple hours before our meeting time. So we decided to take a taxi to the beach. At $4 per person, it wasn’t bad to get there. It was early in the morning so the beach was pretty empty.

7milesbeachjump

We got dropped off at the Reef restaurant on the beach. We were so early that the restaurant was still closed. We walked along the beach to find a good spot. We found a shade spot and even before I could put everything down Miss J and Mr. Z were already running off to the wave.

7milesbeachsand

The sand was so soft that I feel like I just walk on soft carpet. The wave was not big so it was perfect for them to play in. We picked a great spot with shade so I could imagine taking a nap while Mr. Rojo helped build sand castle with Mr. Z.

They simply just enjoyed jumping the wave, play with the sand and relax on the beach. I think we could have just stayed there the whole day and it would still be one of the best day of the trip.

When it was almost time to head back to our meeting spot for the excursion, we stopped by the restaurant to order a drink. The restaurant had shower so it was convenient for us. I couldn’t imagine riding a boat the whole day with sand inside and out our bathing suit. :)

I’m so in love with the beach there. I know we will have to come back and spend more quality time there.

Check out other travelers’ Photo Friday at Delicious Baby.

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Carnival Cruise – Day 5 – Grand Cayman

Here we were in Grand Cayman. We woke up early than usual today. I had packed what we need for the excursion today the night before. I knew that we would have little time to prepare. I’m glad I did. After quick breakfast, we headed down to get our tender ticket. It was so easy. I thought we might have to wait for a while. But we got the ticket and they told us to head down there right away. The time zone was a bit confusing for me. I didn’t bring my brain to work during vacation. But basically, Cayman Islands is 1 hour behind the ship time.

When we got of the tender ship it was around 8am ship time. So it was still 7am local time.. Way too early for anything to open. I had booked an excursion with Captain Bryan. The meeting time was at 10am local time.. We had about 2-3 hours of free time. So I had to change my plan. Originally, I was planning to go on excursion first and then check out 7 miles beach afterward. With so much time on hand we decided to go to the beach first. I’m glad we did.. I will tell you why later..

We took a short walk to check out where we were supposed to meet and then headed back to the port area to catch a taxi to the beach. The ride was quick and not that expensive. $4 per person. They dropped us off at The Reef Restaurant. We walked to the beach area and were in awe. The beach is so beautiful and it was so peaceful. Got there early enough we felt like we own this private beach. In the beginning, the kids were afraid to get in the water. They just played with the sand and the wave. But soon enough, we all were in the water trying to catch some waves. The sand was soft and fine.. We could have stayed there all day. Next time, I wouldn’t bother book any excursion.

After about 2 hours, we packed up with a lot of resistence from the kids. I was sad to leave as well but was also excited for our next adventure to the Sting Ray City. We rinsed off at the restaurant and caught a taxi back to the meeting place. Now that we got accustomed to the time, we started to worry if we would get back on-time. The schedule for this excursion was from 10:30am-1pm so it means we would get back 2pm (ship time).. Very close to the last tender time of 3:15pm.. I was glad we did the beach first since I don’t see how we can fit the beach time after the excursion. So they were several fellow cruisers who were worried about the timing as well. They were talking about leaving earlier so we could get back sooner.

We got on a bus around 10-ish and headed to the pier. I guess it was the loading/landing site for all boats to Sting Ray City. The reason we picked this excursion with Captain Bryan was for the sail boat. And he didn’t disappoint us at all. The crews were very nice. The boat ride took about 30 minutes. It was a nice relaxing ride. Once we got to the Sting Ray location, we saw several boats from various companies. At first we planned to just take turn going into the water. But the water was shallow enough that we took the kids down with us. We still had to hold them but it’s manageable. Miss J was afraid in the beginning. But later on she felt clamer. I got to kiss one of the sting ray. They said I will have good luck for 7 years. We will see about that. :) The sting rays swam all around us. It was an amazing experience. So much fun.. The skin was as soft as velvet. It wasn’t what I expected. After 30 minutes in the water, we headed back on the boat and headed to the snorkeling sites. The excursion included 2 snorkel sites. I wasn’t too impress with what I saw though. There weren’t as many fish as what we saw in Cozumel. I guess it was more for diving than snorkeling.

Then it was time to head back to town. Mr. Z felt asleep on the way. I would have done the same way if I didn’t have to hold on to him. It was so nice. We had such a great time there. The water as blue as the clear sky above.. We got back on the bus around 1:30pm local time which means we had about 45 minutes to get back to the port. The bus ride was very stressful for us since we kept checking our time. The bus arrived at 2:14pm.. Got 1 minute to spare. But when we saw the line for the tender boats, we started to feel panic. We didn’t know if we will make it to the boat. But then we realized that most people in line were also on the Victory. We made it! But we didn’t get a chance to pick up any souvenir at all.. Not even rum cake or my Hard Rock Cafe pin. Well, guess we have to come back.

Once we got on the ship, we took shower and planned to take a quick nap before dinner. Guess what.. We all slept till the next morning. We were that tired.. We didn’t even make it to dinner that night. What a fun day in Grand Cayman!

Carnival Planning – Grand Cayman

Next stop on our itinerary for the cruise is Grand Cayman. After looking at several excursions I think it’s hard to not try Stingray City. My hubby is a little bit iffy about it after the crocodile hunter incident. But I have heard that it’s very safe for these stingrays as they are tame.

Now, whom to book the excursion with. The obvious choice is through the cruise line. But then the downside is it’s more expensive than independent reputable local tour operator. Also it will be larger group and that won’t be fun snorkling with lot of people around you. So I have looked at a few local tour operators.
1) Captain Marvin – Looks like he is a very reputable one and has received a lot of great reviews. The one thing I have to make sure is timing on the booking and arrival of the ship. Looks as though we will be on the same timezone. The ship will arrive at 7AM. and the earliest time is 8AM. But will that be enough time for us to tender to port? Or we can opt for half-day trip which will push the time back to 9:15 AM. The price is only $5 difference and we will get more stops and extra half an hour.
2) Buccaneer Catamaran – This is another highly recommended tour operator. The plus side for this tour is they meet at 10AM.

Well, my unable-to-decide skill will keep me waited for a while again. Hopefully, I will be able to make my choice soon. Till then at least I know where I will be going. Just the matter of with whom.

Oh! tips from experience cruisers. Shop in Grand Cayman and don’t forget Coconut Rum Cake. Hmm.. I like this tip!