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Home > Member Reviews > CapnJackVA's Port Reviews of Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay, Freeport

CapnJackVA's Port Reviews of Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay, Freeport
Carnival Pride cruise in July 2013
Member Name: CapnJackVA
Cruise Date: July 2013
Embarkation: Baltimore
Destination: Bahamas
Member Review: CapnJackVA's Carnival Pride Review
Grand Turk
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+

Since we had been to Grand Turk before, we elected to make it a beach day, but stay away from the Cruise Center. Based on recommendations from TripAdvisor.com, we walked up the beach about 5 minutes north to Jack's Shack, a bar/grill/diving operation on the beach. We signed up for their free rum tasting on the web page. We had a really pleasant chat with the young lady behind the bar, checked our email on their free wi-fi, and then had a couple of quiet hours on the beach. We later learned that location is a favorite of the crew since it's away from the hustle and bustle of the cruise center.

The line was long getting back on the ship. Because of the way the pier is built, the ship could only use the front gangway, resulting in a long line to re-board the ship.



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Half Moon Cay
Port Rating: 2.0 out of 5+

Carnival Corp's operation of this private island leaves much to be desired. You have to tender onto the island. There were only three tenders in operation for 2,600 passengers. Since we didn't book an excursion at this port, we waited until after breakfast to get a tender number. Big mistake. We had to wait over another hour before we could board the tender. Tender operations were confusing as well. The crew did a poor job of managing the line up for the tender. Two of the tenders were two decks tall, and you entered the tender on the top deck. However, the door from the ship was a lot lower than the tender's deck, so you had to crouch down to walk out of the "rabbit hole." So two strikes for the port -- slow tender service, and a mismatch between the tenders and the cruise ship sizes.

Strike three was the lack of beach chairs once we got land-side. We walked as far as we could along the beach but could not find any open chairs. My DW went to the hut where you rent floats, etc., and had them bring more beach chairs. The chairs finally arrived about 15 minutes later. Given that the Carnival Pride pulls into this port every other week, you would think they would plan better to accommodate the fact the vast majority of the 2600 passengers would want to lay on the beach!

I was disappointed that there was nothing in the website, the excursion pages, etc., about water sport activities. When DW and I walked around the island, we did find a water sport center, including personal water crafts available for tours. But by the time we learned about it, it was too late in the day to book.

Tendering back to the ship was just as poorly managed. Again we had the rabbit hole getting back onto the ship, and had to time going through the portal to the swells of the tender. I felt sorry for anyone who was over 6'2".


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Freeport
Port Rating: 3.0 out of 5+

The cruise terminal is in an industrial area, and any trips to beaches, shopping, etc., require a taxi ride. There is a small shopping area at the cruise terminal, but it was mostly souvenir shops, and two bars (Senor Frog and Sparkey's).

We did not take an excursion at this port. We did wander around the shops at the dock, and eventually ended up sitting at a bar (Sparkey's) in the shopping area. Drink prices were moderate. Free wi-fi if you buy drinks. Then we headed back on board for lunch, and we sailed away.

I know that the Captain needs to make it back to Baltimore in time, but arriving at 7 AM and needing to be back on board by 1 PM is not enough time at this port. Maybe if we were in port for a longer period of time we would have taken an excursion.



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