Cayman Islands Cruise Port & Nearby Activities
Cayman Islands Cruise Port
The largest of the three Cayman Islands, Grand Cayman attracts more than 1 million cruise passengers each year, making it one of the most visited cruise destinations in the Western Caribbean. Cruisers enter the island at George Town Harbour, the island's vibrant seaport situated within walking distance of popular sights and duty-free shops. With its compact size — about 22 miles long and 8 miles at its widest point — Grand Cayman and its spectacular beaches and nature trails are easy to explore in a few hours. If you want to experience active pursuits like diving and snorkeling, venture 2 miles north to Seven Mile Beach, where you'll find Grand Cayman's iconic coral sands and a variety of tour operators offering diving, snorkeling and submarine excursions on North Church Street and Harbour Drive. And if you have more than a few hours to spare, take a trip to Stingray City or Turtle Island to get up close and personal with the wildlife of the island. Here are the essentials you need to know to decide how to spend your time at the Grand Cayman port and whether Grand Cayman should be on your cruise itinerary.
What You Need to Know
- Bring the Family With little crime and a more subdued party scene compared to other islands in the Caribbean, Grand Cayman is a safe and convenient place to travel with kids in tow.
- Expect crowds The Cayman Island's economy thrives on offshore banking and tourism. This year alone, 559 cruise vessels arrived in port, so expect to be sharing the streets with lots of tourists.
- Cover up As a British Overseas Territory, Cayman Islanders, like the British, tend to wear reserved attire. If you don't want to stick out, avoid walking around in a bathing suit outside of the beach.
How To Spend Your Time in the Cayman Islands
Things to Do Near the Port of Grand Cayman
- Harbour Drive ( <0.5 miles) Just steps away from the dock, Harbour Drive is lined with a plethora of shops and restaurants, as well as the Fort George Ruins, where history aficionados can learn about how the island once protected itself against enemy forces.
- Cayman Islands National Museum (<0.5 miles) If you're interested in a longer history lesson, mosey on over to the National Museum, which showcases exhibitions covering the Island's natural, cultural and artistic roots.
- Seven Mile Beach (<2 miles) With its warm white sands, crystal clear waters and picturesque palm trees, Seven Mile Beach is not only the most popular beach on the island, but also one of the most sought-after sandy strips in the Caribbean.
Popular Tours in Grand Cayman
Have a few hours to spare in Grand Cayman? Book a tour through your cruise line, explore Grand Cayman on your own or check out tours available from independent outfitters.
- Stingray City Snorkeling Easily considered one of the most popular attractions on the island, Stingray City is an offshore area populated with friendly stingrays looking to be pet and fed. Numerous cruise companies, including Carnival and Royal Caribbean, and reputable tour operators such as Captain Marvins and Moby Dick Tours offer a variety of Stingray City excursions.
- Turtle Farm Exploration Next to Stingray City, the Cayman Turtle Farm is Grand Cayman's largest attraction. A sanctuary for Green Sea Turtles, visitors have the unique opportunity to learn the ins and outs about the endangered species while actually getting to hold them.
- Cayman Islands Scuba Diving The Cayman Islands are renowned for their spectacular diving spots, with deep sea walls, colorful coral reefs and over 200 diving sites on Grand Cayman alone. There are many diving companies, such as Living the Dream Divers, spread on and around Seven Mile Beach that can set up dives throughout the island.
- Cayman Islands Submarine Tour Beyond snorkeling and scuba diving, the next best way to explore the Cayman Islands' impressive underwater creatures is by submarine. Atlantis Submarines takes visitors 100 feet below the sea to explore the areas vibrant coral canyons and tropical aquatic life that live within.
- Land tour Grand Cayman Land & Sea and Cayman Safari Adventures offer tours to main points of interest across Grand Cayman, including the Cayman Turtle farm and the little town of Hell, as well as off-the-beaten-path places for those who would rather admire the islands cerulean waves from afar.
Restaurants near the Port of Grand Cayman
A major staple of the Cayman Islands' dining scene is seafood. For those looking to sample local dishes, try the conch fritters, fish tea (it's actually soup), and for intrepid types: turtle stew. Here are top recommended places to eat near the Port of Grand Cayman:
Located about 2 miles northwest of Owen Roberts International Airport, 2 miles south of Seven Mile Beach and 25 miles northwest of Stingray City, the Port of the Cayman Islands is easily accessible via car or taxi. Public transportation is also available but not advised if you only have a few hours in port, as wait times vary from 15 minutes to an hour depending on the route. There are also few dedicated bus routes throughout the island.
While you won't find a parking lot near the port, there is street parking available in George Town and around the island.
The best way to get around Grand Cayman is by rental car. There are several reliable companies spread throughout the island, including Cayman Auto Rentals. . To drive around Grand Cayman you will need a Visitors Permit, which you can obtain at the rental car agency with a valid driver's license and passport. And before you hit the road, remember to stay in your correct lane; in this British overseas territory, locals drive on the left.
Taxis can be found across the island, including airport, the cruise port and resorts in George Town. Remember that taxis don't run off meters but rather fixed rates put in place by the government depending on the destination and the number of passengers. The flat rate for up to three passengers from the airport to George Town is $15 (about $19 USD), while the price from the cruise port to Seven Mile Beach starts at CI $8 (about $10 USD).
The buses (often called minibuses) service the entire island and are clearly marked by their route color and number. The central bus station is located a couple blocks away from port, near Edward Street. Although there are numerous stops throughout the island, it's easy to hail a minibus on the street. Fares typically start at CI $1.50 (about $2 USD), with
- Hours: Buses run between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. depending on the day. There is limited service throughout the island on Sundays.
- More Information: Cayman Islands Department of Tourism
Read more about Getting Around the Cayman Islands»
Which cruise companies sail to/from the Cayman Islands?
- Azamara Club Cruises (1 ship)
- Carnival Cruise Lines (13 ships)
- Celebrity Cruises (5 ships)
- Costa Cruises (1 ship)
- Crystal Cruises (2 ships)
- Disney Cruise Line (2 ships)
- Holland America Line (6 ships)
- MSC Cruises (1 ship)
- Norwegian Cruise Line (5 ships)
- Oceania Cruises (3 ships)
- Princess Cruises (4 ships)
- Regent Seven Seas Cruises (1 ship)
- Royal Caribbean International (9 ships)
- Silversea Cruises (1 ships)
Nearby Cruise Ports