Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay

Published: May 18th 2013
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15/5/13 Grand Turk

We were up early as we were excited to get off the ship and explore. Grand Turk is a tiny island, a British Colony and former pirate hangout. From the balcony we could just see the tip of the island and it is very flat, with white beaches, green palm trees and sea every shade of blue and green imaginable.

After disembarking we walked along the pier to the ‘welcome’ building which is basically a duty free shop, then out into a plaza surrounded by jewellery and souvenir shops. We visited the memorial to the astronaut John Glenn whose Friendship 7 space capsule landed in the sea just off the island. There was a replica of the capsule, a pretend astronaut and a small rocket with some information boards.

We had a quick look in Margaritaville, a kind of resort for the cruise ship with a swimming pool and sun loungers and a very loud man with a microphone shouting ‘whose here to get wasted?’!! Then the horrendous music started pumping out at ear shattering volume, nice.

Quickly exiting we found the taxi rank and for $5 each we jumped in a minibus with four other people to visit the town. The couple from Florida were on their way to a private resort which they had pre-booked for today ‘where we get to use all their facilities and restaurant’ – we only had about 3 hours free time left here. As we stopped in the tiny town the two elderly black ladies were asking the driver if he was going to be giving the tour and when he would take them back to the ship – I don’t think they quite grasped the fact they were only in a taxi!

The town was pleasant enough, the main road followed the crumbling sea wall and lots of the original frame houses from the 1800’s had been relocated along it with plaques telling you who had lived there and what the buildings used to be used for.

We found the library and the post office (where we bought, wrote and sent cards for the kids). An old bloke came shambling along looking worse for wear and asked us for money for food. We gave him a dollar and he was delighted, I got the impression not many people do this let alone stop and talk to him.

A lady asked us if we wanted to try island rum and people just seemed really pleased that we were English, saying things like ‘your Brits just like us’. There were a few souvenir shops and a small craft market which we looked around.

We took a taxi back to the port area, it was mega hot and constant sunshine and as there was nothing much to see it didn’t justify walking back (!!). The taxi driver told me Grand Turk gets lots of tourists apart from cruise ships as it is the number one spot in the Caribbean for diving. They don’t have big hotels though (which is great) and the weather is hot and sunny all year round.

We decided to brave Margaritaville so we could have a quick swim before getting back on the boat and despite picking the area furthest from the DJ we still couldn’t hear ourselves talk and got unwelcome glimpses of the ‘shake your booty’ competition. The pool was packed with people dancing in it but we managed to find a space. All I can say is the water was lovely!

Back on board and the ship soon set sail and the sea sickness kicked in (must remember to take the tablets more regularly). Sat on the balcony watching the island slowly recede into the distance and the water turn from turquoise to a deep blue.

The sea got choppier and the boat seemed to be rolling all over the place, moving around was a case of one step forwards and two sideways, according to Howard it was nothing but it was the closest I came to throwing up.

Eventually the tablets kicked in and we went to eat. Having discovered we can’t get in the dining room as despite it being ‘casual cruise attire’ jeans and t-shirts are barred we were stuck with the buffet, very disappointing. The food is ok it just isn’t that interesting or varied.

No films were shown tonight as some baseball game was being shown instead (an Debbie you have to pay to watch movies in your cabin $10.99 per film no matter how old!). So we ended up in the casino, the first dollar was soon lost but then I moved machines and had two decent wins in a row and ended up winning $15! As the money doesn’t come out we had to summon help and got an account set up linked to our room card, you then add your winnings to it or use it to get more playing credit (a great but potentially expensive idea).

After adding the winnings to the card we then had to go to the cashier to get the money. Once the cashier found out we were from the UK he asked what part and then discussed Middlesbrough Football Club with Howard. When he realised how much I had won he couldn’t stop laughing and saying’ don’t spend it all at once’. I told him this was the most I had ever won and that set him off laughing again, clearly he is used to much higher rollers than me!!

16/5/13 Half Moon Cay

Didn’t rush to get up today as this is a private island owned by the cruise line and literally just a beach day, unless you fork out the big bucks to do the water activities which we hadn’t. This also meant you had to wait to get off the ship.

So after breakfast we headed to the theatre where all the rest of the non-excursion and non-VIP plebs had to wait for a tender (smaller boat) to take us ashore. We were given a sticker no.48 to wear and were told to go up to the 2nd level of the theatre to wait, which we did. The place was packed and when the numbers 24-29 were called we realised it was going to be a long wait.

As one lot went everyone got moved to a different section of seats and Howard calculated it would be at least another 1 ½ hours before our turn. Meaning by the time we got to the island we had better join the queue to wait for our turn to get back before the boat was due to sail. This sent him into a right mood and we left. Why on earth they haven’t devised a faster way to get people off I don’t know, it was crazy. So we went to the pool instead, where despite it being a much older crowd around it they were still belting out the disco tunes at full blast. We stuck it out until lunch and then it was back to the balcony (we are certainly getting our money’s worth out of this balcony on this bloody cruise).

Later that night faced with the prospect of tonight’s entertainment – FUN-HOPPIN’ (meet our entertainment staff to have FUN hopping around the ship’s bars and lounges) I kid you not, we headed back to the casino and this time I won $21!!!!!!!! No idea how, couldn’t make any sense of the machine but my eyes were glued to the flashing cash display that kept going up and my heart was going crazy in time with the beeps! I managed to spend the rest of the night winning and losing $6 and so finished again another $15 up! I like this, I think I could develop a taste for gambling, good job there is only one more night to go!

17/5/13 Nassau, Bahamas

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2 Day Three - Grand Turk (13)2 Day Three - Grand Turk (13)
2 Day Three - Grand Turk (13)

There go some of our shipmates!

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