I am often asked by some of my friends, “Are you going to the Caribbean again?” I often wonder why that is a question at all. From the first time Randy and I cruised to the Caribbean I fell in love with each and every port we stopped in. I love the crystal clear turquoise waters, the white sand beaches, the sound the wind makes as it travels through the palm trees and the sunsets are amazing.
Today we are stopping at one of my very favorite islands in the Caribbean, Grand Cayman. Grand Cayman is one of three islands Christopher Columbus called “Las Tortugas” because of the turtles he found lying off shore.
Grand Cayman is known for its world-famous scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing, sailing and other water sports. We have been here many times visiting the Cayman Turtle Centre, Seven Mile Beach, gone snorkeling off one of its many beaches and visited a town named Hell that features jagged rock formations that can only be conjured up in your dreams of what hell must look like.
But over breakfast, Randy shared that he would like to just get off around 10 am and just walk around town. He wanted to stop in at a few liquor shops to price a few items to stock our bar at home and then stop at our favorite spot for a burger and beer.
And so, that is what we did!
The morning started quite nice with a gentle warm breeze and sunny skies that is until you looked out at the horizon. There in the distance hung a misty curtain that made me feel as though rain was in our future.
After a quick breakfast at the Concierge lounge we made our way down to deck 2 to get onto a tender that would take us to shore. As we started across the bay we noticed a ship not too far from ours and realized that it was the Royal Caribbean Monarch of the seas that had been sold to a ship line called Pullmantur. We have spent many happy days on the Monarch and were glad to see her looking so good.
We actually did stop at a few shops but Randy was disappointed about the prices feeling that the prices in Cozumel or the ship might be better. We turned around and started to walk in the other direction down Harbour Drive towards a little white church that I fell in love with many years ago.
The Elmslie Memorial United Church was established in 1846 by Rev. James Elmslie. According to the literature I picked up in the church the present building was constructed in the 1920’s by Capt. Rayal Bodden. The church has an arched roof, made of mahogany salvaged from shipwrecks and is constructed like the reversed hull of a ship for strength and beauty. There are several beautiful stained-glass windows, a belfry, pulpit, font, and plaques commemorating those lost at sea, teacher, lawyers, island’s first dentist, ministers and other active members of Elmslie.
My favorite thing in the church is a small prayer tree located in the front of the church. Next to this little potted sprig is a basket with tiny pieces of paper and pencils so parishioners and visitors can leave a little note to have prayers said for loved ones. I filled out one of these little pieces of precious papers when I was here last.
Of course, I always like to look for the roosters that run free in the church parking lot. I remember the first time I was here I quietly crept around a number of cars in hopes of catching a glimpse of these beautiful, brightly colored roosters and perhaps a hen and chick. I was always rewarded for my patience. Today too!
We continued our walk stopping at the site of the ruins of Fort George. All that remains are a couple of cannons, the WW II lookout house and several murals commemorating significant times in the island’s history painted by artist John Broad. In front of each mural is a plaque explaining the significance of the mural. I have read them many times but I find myself reading them again and again.
Next stop on our walk through town was the Cayman Cabana Oceanside Restobar. We discovered this fun and friendly spot several years ago and find that we keep coming back. The Cabana is an open-air restaurant/bar that has a great view of the bay. The staff is friendly, the beer is always cold and the burgers are juicy and delicious.
As soon as we sat down in our favorite bar stools, we looked up to see if our names were still visible on the beams. We could not find them so Randy asked for a marker, stood on the stool and wrote our initials on one of the high beams. We looked at each other and wondered if they would be there the next time we come to the island.
No matter, it was time to eat. We ordered the Gourmet Cayman Burger with jerk aioli, crispy bacon, melty cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. (This burger also comes with an onion ring and sautéed mushrooms but we passed on those.) The burger is so moist and tasty. The fries are good too! We washed our burgers and fries down with a local brew called Caybrew.
We returned to the ship relaxing in the cabin until it was time to prepare our evening activities. Cocktails and dinner were great as always sharing stories of our adventures on the island. Then we were off to attend the Crown & Anchor Society Top Tier Event in the Colony Club.
Captain Grønhaug welcomed everyone aboard and thanked us for our loyalty to the cruise line. He then turned the microphone over to other members of the staff after which our Loyalty Ambassador, Juliia introduced the top three cruisers on this voyage. It blew my mind when she announced that the top cruisers were a couple that had spent 2,422 nights on Royal Caribbean ships. Randy and I looked at each other and laughed and said, “We have a long way to go”. Too funny!
Our last stop for the evening was the cinema. Rogue One: A Stars Wars movie was showing and we thought this would be a great way to end our wonderful day. It was.
Tomorrow we dock in Cozumel, Mexico.