The description above (and the one in the Carnival “Fun Ashore” brochure) is quite a colorful description of this shore excursion. The “stop” at the Air Force Base was merely a drive by. We did stop for a minute at the replica of the Friendship Seven Space Capsule. There was not a stop at a museum. We did stop at a beach for 20 minutes, and we did go to “downtown” where the “colonial buildings of the 1800’s in their majestic beauty” consisted of a few stores (mostly closed, since it was Good Friday), a public restroom in a yard full of trash, and a burned-down library. We did not “sample luscious local cuisine.” We did spot a few horses and donkeys “basking in the rays of the sun.” We did stop at Salt Cay Town, where we heard about the salt trade, and the staff poured some salt water on us to make us healthier and younger-looking. The high point was the “Circle of Life” which was an area where the guides displayed sea creatures mentioned above, and guests were able to hold and touch them. This was amusing and a nice photo opportunity. The “Hummer” golf-carts were fun to ride in, and the staff (Romeo and Lisa) was friendly and kept asking if we were having fun. It was somewhat interesting to get a look at the island, but we felt that this was over-priced for what is actually included. I’m not sure it would have made much difference if we were there on a day other than Good Friday – there’s not much to see on Grand Turk.
The tour took us from one end of the island to the other viewing government center. The downtown area such as it is. We traveled out to the light house which is very historic but in need of a paint job. Our guide went over the history of the islands in detail and wa very knowledgeable.
Our driver was wonderful, helpful, informative. My main complaint would be the light house portion- there was an additional fee to just get on the light house grounds which were blah IMO, No admittance into the light house or buildings. Another minor complaint would be there was not enough time at the stops for shipping photos. Our driver was wonderful with my 90 yr old mother.
We traveled the entire length of the island in an open-air bus. The guide was very interesting and the stops he chose were interesting. We stayed long enough at each stop to be able to fully enjoy them.
We walked off the pier and found an independent excursion. We paid $25 pp (Ships price was $50pp) and had a 4 hour tour of the island. We did need to walk just past the cruise property to board the trolly. We traveled on a trolly type vehicle where we were given a guided tour of the island. The tour guide was a local to the island and was a wealth of knowledge. We had 3 different stops where we were able to shop local items and we also visited the light house at the opposite site of the island! Highly recommended!
Tour was informative and very nicely put together. Learned the history of this beautiful island, about the culture, and at the end was treated with local cuisine. I would take this excursion again 100%
Walked off the HAL Oosterdam on 1/31 and into the cruise line built village of the typical retail shops & a Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville.
Spotted a person for the Island Trams Limited behind a kiosk. For $25 per adult, they offered a 2 hour tour of the island. We were told to go to the beach and find the meeting place & pay. About 1/2 hour later we were told to walk out into the parking lot & then outside the village compound. Found the waiting open-air trams after about a 10 minute walk. We were each given a bottle of cold water. Slow drive, past a replica of John Glenn's space capsule Friendship 7, then into downtown Cockburn Town. Stopped for 20 minutes near the Turks & Caicos National Museum (but not enough time to visit it) Went past the many salt ponds and the unique Turks Head Cactus. Our driver told us that there was a 40% excise tax to bring a car to Grand Turks & gas was $6 a gallon. Most of the buildings were boarded up or very 3rd world quality.
Next a drive to the north end of the island to visit the Lighthouse which has a $3 entrance fee. No one on our tram paid to go in. The highlight of our tour was the wild donkeys that came to be feed. The donkeys used to be used to pull the salt out of the ponds, but they were let loose after their services were no longer needed. And they have definitely multiplied! They are everywhere, they even manage to open gates and get in residential gardens.
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