After we left St. Augustine and made it down to Tampa, we set off our on cruise. We traveled on the Carnival Paradise down to Grand Cayman and Cozumel. We opted for a cabin on the main deck with port holes. We don't spend a ton of time in our room when we cruise, so we prefer to have the little port holes rather than a big window or balcony.
Our first day was out at sea, so we actually arrived at Grand Cayman on the second full day of the cruise. What I didn't realize until the day before was that Grand Cayman is surrounded by a reef, so we had to dock out at sea and take a smaller boat with other cruise guests to actually get onto the island.
How beautiful is that?! The island was just stunning. For our excursion, we took a submarine boat tour (not exactly a submarine...but a boat with an underwater cabin with windows. They made very clear that the boat was not intended to be submerged.) This lasted for about 45 minutes to an hour, but we got to see lots of the reef, a couple of shipwrecks, schools of fish, and a few really unique fish. I would definitely recommend this to someone who wants to see the reef, but not go snorkeling (or who is pregnant and unable to go snorkeling).
Once we got off of the boat, we had a city tour where we saw lots of local landmarks, beaches, and the Rum Cake Factory. Apparently this is a big deal, but I didn't try it, so I can't tell you that. I can tell you though that our tour guide was awesome and the weather was perfect!
And finally, our last stop was the Turtle Farm where we got to learn about the turtles and some of the wildlife, and even hold some of the smaller turtles in the pools. There were smaller pools where kids could get in with the turtles, but I wasn't taking my chances on that. I didn't have a towel, or a swim suit and knowing me, I would have definitely fallen.
Hubs was awesome at catching the little guys swimming around!
And finally, just before we got back on the boat, we snagged a photo at the port. (Tip - to avoid standing in the long line to get back on the ship, just sit in the shade while the line passes in front of you. When it gets to the end, stand up and get in line. You'll be on the last boat in, but you won't be exhausted from standing in the long line...That was hubs idea and it was brilliant.)
We really loved Grand Cayman. It was clean and beautiful and the people were so friendly. It is one of my favorite places we've been.