Originally we had pre-purchased the snorkel and stingray combo. ($29). Even though I had checked with my PCC to make sure the stingray experience was still available after Sandy and she confirmed this, it was not and I found the cancellation when we boarded. We decided to snorkel anyway and purchased this "excursion" for..$29! The white buoys were hard to see to find the "treasures" though I found some on my own. I would suggest bringing your own snorkel and mask. My husband had never snorkeled before and there was no one there to give him a brief lesson as I apparently could not make him understand how to use the snorkel and mask properly. No refunds for him! The best variety of fish is way out by the big rocks and I did get some nice pictures. I was also stung by a jellyfish that I never saw, and the lifeguards had vinegar on their stands for me to use. I was disappointed that the stingray part being cancelled was not announced before the cruise to those of us who purchased it so we could have time to find another stingray encounter to enjoy at another port.
After docking we experienced the organized chaos of everyone trying to find their tour operators. Our driver found us and off we went on a 30 minute ride (with running commentary) up through the winding hills with jungleicious views. We stopped at the base to get our safety helmets before being driven to the entry point of the White River. We donned safety vests and were ushered into the river with a tube. It was refreshing and invigorating and our group consisted of all age groups (must be able to swim!) The guides were great and the flora was beautiful. I am not physically active and did not need to be. This was a relaxing journey with a few rapids but they were very manageable. At the end of our hour tube experience we ended back at base. The photos were pricey but worth it as they took the pics of our most fun moments. They had a small bar and gift shop. They also rent lockers which we used while we tubed. I highly recommend this excursion!
Because we tendered and had purchased this excursion, we met in the Stardust and had only a brief wait until we were on the tender cruising for the dock. Another brief wait and our guide met us and escorted us onto a full sized air conditioned bus. It took approximately a 1/2 hour with the guide giving us detailed information about Grand Cayman. Every home we went by was in pristine shape and you could really feel the pride of ownership on the island. We arrived at the Turtle Farm and were met by a guide who immediately showed us the large pond and other turtle tanks which housed different types of turtles. He explained the conservation efforts of the farm and really took his time to educate us about sea turtles. At the next portion of the tour we were able to hold young turtles and could use our own cameras to take as many pictures as we wanted. Once we were done with the babies, we were on our own! There was an aviary, a predator tank and my favorite, the yearling turtle lagoon where we could don a snorkel and mask (also included in the price) and snorkel through a fish filled (and turtle filled ) lagoon. I never saw a turtle but my daughter saw 6. The lagoon meandered around large rocks and coral all the way to the glass partition which separated us from the predator tank. It was like snorkeling in the ocean but calmer. I finally found that after following one or two fish near the man made beach, the schools of fish were next to the glass at the predator tank. So, don't waste time trying to get underwater pics in the water near the beach but go to the glass separator under the bridge and there are fish galore! It was also interesting to take pictures of the fish and in the background through the glass was a nurse shark that was about 10 feet long! I was glad that the glass was so thick! After snorkeling, we had lunch at their restaurant. Myself, my husband, and 2 daughters each had a drink (alcoholic), and simple food. I saw that the prices were up there even for the light lunch we had, but was a bit taken back by the $109 bill! The food was tasty but I thought it was very overpriced. Apparently some of the excursions from other ships had lunch included and I would have preferred to pay for lunch upfront. The gift shop was huge and decently priced but I did not buy anything. I also loved the wild lizards and the chickens that ran around the place. I would recommend this tour. I want to add that after we left our driver drove us to the town of He (double hockey sticks) where I was able to send a postcard to myself which was fun. It was a quick stop but we did see the reason they named it H*e*l*l which was behind the shop. We went back to the ship a different way so we could see more of the island. We got back to the pier with plenty of time to shop. and explore the waterfront a bit. It is a beautiful Island and when I win the lottery I would want to live there!
This was a once in a lifetime experience for myself and my family which included my husband and 2 daughters (23 & 20). We stood on a waist high platform and were able to kiss and touch Marina, our dolphin. It was 40 minutes of interaction and education that was priceless and we will never forget it. What was unfortunate was the price of the photos. $29.95 for one, $69.95 for 3 and $120 for 8. There were great individual pics of each of us but no package for 4 photos. We just could not afford them. I would suggest one person of your party (or two) go in the next group so they could take pics from the balcony. An unforgettable experience that will last in my memory but not on my wall.