We are also arriving at Grand Cayman via cruise ship in September, 2006. Which hotel/resort is free for cruise passengers to access the beach and have facilities. Are most of the hotels close to where the ship docks and if not, what is the best means of transportation to get to the beach? There will be 4 adults and 2 children in our party so any helpful information would be appreciated. This will be our first GC trip and I am really excited about it! Thanks so much!!
All the beaches in Cayman are public and accessible to anyone. That means that you are free to walk along the beach and stop and swim wherever you like. Or, you could lay your towel down on the sand wherever you like. However, only hotel guests may use the beach chairs in front of their properties as well as their facilities.
I think that the only hotels that really welcome cruise ship passengers are Comfort Suites and the Hyatt Beach Suites. Comfort Suites is “free”, as long as you buy food and/or drink at Stinger’s Bar which is poolside at the hotel. My understanding is that the Hyatt will sell you day passes, but they are pricey — I think $70 per person, but they include a credit towards food and drink, I believe. If you do decide to go to Comfort Suites, they have a beach, but I don’t believe they allow cruise ship passengers to use their chairs on the beach. You would be allowed to use the chairs around the pool, and the pool itself, however.
Anyway, you can go to a beautiful beach at a beach facility called Royal Palms, which is absolutely free. It has a great bar and serves lunch (you can see the tables and chairs on the web cam at the top left of this page) and they have facilities and lots of water toys to rent there.
You probably need to take a cab to get there from the cruise ship terminal.
There are other beaches that would be fun, like cemetary beach or Smith Cove, but there are no facilities there.
Hope this helps,
I appreciate the information so very much. We will probably check out Royal Palms since I have read many posts recommending them. I just wasn’t sure if there was a cost involved to go there. Thanks again and if you think of any other useful information I would certainly appreciate it.
Well, the only other thing that I would have to suggest, is the same thing that we tell EVERYONE. You really should get to Stingray City. It is absolutely a MUST DO when coming to Grand Cayman and is something you just can’t do anywhere else in the world.
The trips arranged through the ship are very expensive and crowded. We recommend booking directly through Soto’s Cruises which is $30 US per adult and $25 for children 4 to 11. You could sign up for the 9:30 a.m. trip – they would pick you up at the cruise ship terminal (for free) and their two snorkel stop trip only takes two hours, so there would be plenty of time for you to spend time at Royal Palms afterwards. Soto’s will even drop you off there after the snorkel trip. Then, just take a cab from Royal Palms back into town to do a little shopping before getting back on your ship.
I don’t know the times you are in port, but this is what usually works well for people. Soto’s is especially popular because they never take more than 20 people and give really personalized service. You do need to make a reservation ahead, which you can do on-line and you will have to pay in cash.
Since you asked for suggestions, I just had to urge you to go to Stingray City!
Hope everything works out!
You have been a lot of help and I appreciate it so very much. I don’t mean to seem dumb, but what exactly is Stringray City? I have seen it mentioned in some of the posts, but am not familiar with what it offers. It will by myself, my husband, two children (ages 7 and 10) and my in-laws who are in their late seventies and early eighties, so they will not be able to do alot of walking, but would really like to see as much as we can since we will only be there such a short time. Our ship is scheduled to be in Grand Cayman on Monday, September 18th from 7:00 am until 2:00 pm. Your recommendations are very much appreciated since this is unfamiliar territory. What are the highlights that you think are a must for first time visitors and the best means of transportation to do it in the shortest amount of time? Thanks again!!
It should be fine for everyone. They will pick you up at the dock and drop you off so the inlaws will have no problems. If they choose to go into the water it is shallow, if not they can easily stay on board and just enjoy the ride.
I’m happy to help and there’s no such thing as a dumb question here
Stingray City is probably the most popular tourist attraction in the Cayman Islands except for snorkeling and diving or just enjoying the beach. Anyway, you need to go to the Stingray City section on this forum and “read all about it”. The link for that is
Stingray City offers young and old alike the opportunity to get up close and personal to a whole flock of Southern Stingrays in their natural habitat. There is a “deep” part of Stingray City where the divers go – it’s only 12 to 15 ft. deep, but most people experience the Stingrays at the shallow sand bar. The water is only waist to chest deep, so you don’t even have to know how to swim or snorkel……..it sounds scary, but it’s not at all. The Stingrays are actually quite tame and of course, they love to be fed. The crew on the snorkel boats (remember, we recommend Soto’s) will help you and bring you a Stingray to touch if you like. It is really a remarkable experience.
Now, the biggest problem that you will have is that your ship leaves at 2:00 p.m. That is a BUMMER! Since Grand Cayman is a tender port, you also have to allow the time needed to take the tender back to the ship. You can’t just walk back on like you can in ports where there is an actual cruise ship dock. It’s very possible that you will have to catch the tender back to your ship at 1:00. That would allow enough time to do the Soto’s Stingray City trip, since it will be done at 11:30, but will leave very little time for anything else…..even the beach, which is what you wanted to do in the first place…..
So, do some reading here…..lots of trip reports have pictures of Stingray City in addition to the ones in the Stingray City section.
Good luck with your planning!
Have fun in your vacation…Make the most each day!!!
All Sandals Resorts allow sth day/night passes, not just for cruise ship passengers and other people, but also for offsite guests present at the wedding. Never they go sth It’s just any Sandals Resort congestion problems is no problem.
No Sandals in Grand Cayman