Grand Turk officially reopened today with the arrival of Carnival Destiny, the first ship to visit the port since Hurricane Ike wreaked havoc on the island last month.
Port facilities were up and running, even as recovery efforts continue on the rest of the island. Carnival passengers had the options of relaxing on a private beach, drinking and dining at the Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville restaurant, swimming in the on-site pool, or browsing at a variety of portside shops. Many shore excursions were also operational, including the Gibbs Key tour, dune buggy rides, swimming with horses, fishing trips and snorkeling expeditions.
The former hop on/hop off tour has been replaced with a post-hurricane island tour, which allows passengers to see the devastation and recovery efforts on the island. The excursion price covers the cost of the bus; passengers who wish to donate to the United Way's Grand Turk hurricane relief fund are provided with a pledge card during the tour.
While there's no word yet on volunteer opportunities for passengers (as Carnival had hinted in a previous release on Grand Turk), ship staff are participating in beach cleanups on the island.
The next ship to visit Grand Turk is Crown Princess on Friday, October 10.
--by Erica Silverstein, Associate Editor
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Grand Turk Reopens After Hurricane Ike
October 8, 2008