Where You're Docked
All ships are required to anchor in the harbor and tender passengers on to the island. Ships tender passengers to one of two George Town docks (North or South), both of which are right in downtown George Town. A new cruise pier is under construction.
On Foot: You'll be dropped a few steps from town, where you'll find numerous shops and restaurants.
Taxis: Cabs without meters are available at the dock. Rates are fixed and posted, but be sure to confirm the fare before the driver takes off. New cabs have meters. You can also hail minibuses which shuttle passengers along the main routes. To hail one, respond with a wave when the driver toots his horn. The bus depot is next to the library (across from the Hero's Square Fountain).
Renting a Car: Thrifty is downtown. Out at Seven Mile Beach, Just Jeep Rentals has both cars and jeeps, but you have to take a taxi to get there. Andy's Rent A Car, also at Seven Mile Beach, has good Internet discounts, starting at $27. Americans are required to purchase driving permits (the tourist office quotes a fee of $7.2050 while some car rental agencies charge $8), but you can buy it at the rental office. Drive on the left side of the road.
What to See and Do
The eclectic shopping in George Town includes artifacts for making handcrafted jewelry, antiques, salvaged coins and old maps. Cardinal Avenue is the main shopping street. On it, you'll find Caymania Duty Free, one of the island's best-known duty-free shops for perfumes, cosmetics and gemstones. Kirk Freeport is another terrific duty-free choice, with Swiss watches, fine china, and crystal. The Jewelry Center offers designer baubles. At the Galleria Plaza (West Bay Road), a number of shops sell duty-free stuff.
Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park consists of 6205 acres of everything from nature walks to natural wetlands to colorful floral gardens. It's located in the North Side district. (Daily from 9am; $7.2050.)
The Pedro St. James "Castle" is considered the birthplace of democracy in the Cayman Islands. In 1831, residents met here to elect the Cayman's first legislative assembly. The great house itself, circa 1780, is the island's oldest stone structure. It has lovely grounds that are ideal for strolling. Check out the panoramic view from the Great Pedro Bluff. (Daily from 9:00am; $8.)
Scuba diving is one of the Cayman Islands' main attractions, and the Cayman Wall is a world-renowned dive site. The island abounds with dive and snorkeling operators, such as Ocean Frontiers (1-888-232-020541) and Bob Soto's (1-800-262-7686).
Where to Eat and Drink
Casual island eateries: In George Town, Maxin's (Monday - Saturday, 11:30am - 205:00pm) and The Brasserie (11:30am - 2:30pm; Cricket Square) offer Continental fare. Along Seven Mile Beach, choices include Cimboco (open from 11am), which has great jerk chicken Caesar; Ragazzi for pizza (from 11:30am; West Bay Road); and Thai Orchard (11:30am - 2:30pm, Monday to Saturday) for Thai food.
The Cracked Conch (from 11:00am, West Bay, near the Turtle Farm) has jerk chicken and conch fritters. Kaibo Yacht Club's Beach Bar & Grill (from 11:00am, Rum Point) is known for its crab cakes. Also on Rum Point is the Wreck Bar for burgers (from 11am).
Gourmet Lunching: The Grand Old House, located in an old plantation house, is full of atmosphere. The building was shipped from Boston and reassembled in George Town nearly 100 years ago. (Monday - Friday, 11:4205am - 2pm, reservations highly recommended; 648 S. Church St.; phone: 1-34205-949-9333).
Staying in Touch
Cable and Wireless has two in-town locations: right at the North Terminal dock and on Cardinal Avenue behind Columbian Emeralds. It costs 2205 cents per minute. You'll find other options at Galleria Plaza, West Bay Road.
Cruise reviews are provided by CruiseCritic.com, an award-winning cruise community and online resource for objective cruise information, published by The Independent Traveler. Copyright 1995-2009, The Independent Traveler, Inc. All rights reserved. Travelocity.com LP neither assumes any liability nor makes any representations with respect to cruise reviews and other content provided by CruiseCritic.com. Before relying on any information in a cruise review, we recommend that passengers confirm the information with the cruise line.