Visiting Grand Cayman on a Disney Cruise (Excursions Review) (2023)

If you’re looking for a unique and exotic vacation spot, consider George Town, Grand Cayman.

It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world, and it’s easy to get to if you’re sailing on a Disney Cruise!

The Disney Cruise Line review below follows my family’s 5-night Western Caribbean cruise on the Disney Magic. On Day 3 of our cruise, we stopped in George Town, which was our first time visiting Grand Cayman.

In this trip report, I will walk you through the tender process in Grand Cayman. We will also discuss tips for packing and preparing for excursions on the island.

If you are cruising with Disney Cruise Line, you can also read all about Pirate Night at the bottom of this article. This festive themed night took place on the same evening as our stop in Port Grand Cayman.

So, continuing reading below for information and tips on making the most of your Grand Cayman cruise excursions!

Port Grand Cayman Map

Before we get started discussing Grand Cayman, I wanted to note that you can find the beginning of my Disney Western Caribbean trip report where we set sail here:

  • Disney Cruise Concierge Trip Report

On this Western Caribbean itinerary, we visited two ports of call: Grand Cayman Island and Castaway Cay.

Now onto Day 3 of our trip: The night before our scheduled stop in Grand Cayman, our stateroom host placed port information in our cabin.

This included a detailed map of the George Town cruise ship port, which you can see below.

Visiting Grand Cayman on a Disney Cruise (Excursions Review) (1)

We also received information on safety precautions you should take while in port. We left our passports in the safe inside our stateroom, but we took our Key to the World cards and driver’s licenses off the ship with us.

Visiting Grand Cayman on a Disney Cruise (Excursions Review) (2)

You need your Key to the World card any time you get on or off the cruise ship, even on Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island in the Bahamas).

Grand Cayman Cruise Ships Tendering

In addition to the information about the port, our stateroom host left a Disney Cruise Line letter explaining the Grand Cayman tendering process.

At the time of our sailing, Grand Cayman did not have a dock at their port. (I believe they are planning to build one in the near future.)

Because of this, the ships visiting Grand Cayman must anchor offshore. Then small boats (called tenders) pick up passengers from the cruise ships and transport them to the shore.

Visiting Grand Cayman on a Disney Cruise (Excursions Review) (3)

You can read the letter pictured above for Disney Cruise Line’s full procedure for tendering. My experience was a bit different because we had upgraded to Concierge Level in Miami.

One of the benefits of cruising Concierge is that you get priority tendering. This was a huge bonus for us since we were traveling with our toddler who isn’t quite known for her patience.

Visiting Grand Cayman on a Disney Cruise (Excursions Review) (4)

Our Concierge Hosts had given us instructions to meet in the Concierge Lounge at 8:00 AM. So, after eating breakfast in Cabanas, we headed to the lounge for the hosts to escort us to the tender boats.

There were towels and sunscreen on the sun deck of the Concierge Lounge. We had already grabbed towels from the pool deck after breakfast, but we did use the sunscreen provided.

Then, the hosts led us all down to Deck 1 where the tender boat was waiting.

(Video) Grand Cayman Stingray City Excursion & Port Shopping! | Disney Dream Cruise Vlog 2022

Shore Excursions in Grand Cayman

After booking this cruise, I browsed through the Port Adventures that DCL offered and noticed that most of them weren’t toddler friendly. A lot of the excursions had age requirements that were far older than a one-year-old.

Some of the Grand Cayman shore excursions offered on this cruise were as follows:

  • Stingray City Sandbar
  • 2-Tank Dive Tour
  • Dolphin Swim at Dolphin Discovery
  • Starfish Beach and Mangrove Forests
  • White House Beach Getaway
  • Dolphin Observer and Turtle Farm
  • Kittiwake Snorkel Sail
  • Private Boat and Family Adventure

Luckily, we are beach people and just really wanted a nice place to hang out for the day. Since Grand Cayman is a safe, easy island to tour, I felt comfortable just grabbing a taxi in port.

Visiting Grand Cayman on a Disney Cruise (Excursions Review) (5)

**Note that Disney Cruise Line did offer a few beach excursions, but I wanted the freedom to return to the ship whenever we pleased.

I had also read that the beaches are all public and free, so we decided to just do the beach on our own.

Our Concierge Hosts enthusiastically agreed that this was a super easy and great way to spend the day. They told me to request to be dropped off at Royal Palms.

In my head, I envisioned quickly hopping in a cab, requesting Royal Palms, and being driven directly there.

This is NOT what happened, but I will detail our actual experience below.

What to Pack in Your Day Bag

As mentioned above, we had towels for each family member to take to the beach. We also took a backpack with baby supplies like diapers and wipes.

In addition to these necessities for our toddler, I packed the following in our day bag:

  • Snacks– You are allowed to take pre-packaged food off the ship. I brought Lara Bars with us on the cruise, so I put a few of these in our bag.
  • Water Bottles– We grabbed water bottles from the Concierge Lounge before leaving. You could also take your refillable water bottle with you.
  • Beach Toys– We brought a few Barbie dolls and toys for my six year old and one year old to play with on the beach.
  • Sunscreen– I packed extra sunscreen to take to the beach so that we could re-apply it throughout the day.

We also had our Key to the World cards and our driver’s licenses as instructed.

George Town Grand Cayman

The Concierge Hosts escorted us down to Deck 1 for debarkation in Grand Cayman. There was a tender boat already waiting to pick up passengers.

We swiped our Key to the World cards to get off the ship, and then we walked on to the tender boat.

Tender Boats

I’m not sure how many people each boat holds, but it has seating both upstairs and down. So, a lot of people fit on each tender.

Once the boat was full, we pulled away from the ship and headed toward the shoreline.

This whole process took maybe ten minutes- so not long at all. The ride on the tender boat goes by really quickly and is so scenic.

Visiting Grand Cayman on a Disney Cruise (Excursions Review) (6)

We stepped off the tender boat and right into the Grand Cayman cruise port. The port featured little stands set up selling merchandise and excursions.

We walked toward the exit to where the taxis were located. These taxis actually looked like mini buses and held maybe 20 people a piece.

Grand Cayman Taxi

We walked out of the port gates to the taxi area. There were TONS of taxis (mini buses) waiting. I stopped and asked a gentleman for a cab to Royal Palms like our Concierge Hosts had recommended.

He said to follow him, and he showed us to his minibus. Before climbing on to the bus, I asked again if he was going to Royal Palms.

He said yes, so we climbed on. Since no one was in the cab yet, we went to the very back.

Visiting Grand Cayman on a Disney Cruise (Excursions Review) (7)
(Video) A quick visit to Grand Cayman during our Disney Cruise | George Town + Sharkeez Bar & Grill

And we sat- with no air conditioning- and an impatient toddler. The driver of the taxi left to gather more people who wanted to go to the beach.

As we watched out the minibus window, we realized that all the drivers were trying to fill their taxis up before leaving the port.

And by filling them up, I mean PACKING people in. Our taxi looked insanely full to me at one point, but the driver added more people so that we were elbow to elbow.

I timed this whole process for this exact post, and we were sitting in the taxi for 30 minutes before our driver finally drove off.

Visiting Grand Cayman on a Disney Cruise (Excursions Review) (8)

I say all of that to give you this tip: Choose a taxi that is almost full if you can!

If you are not able to find a taxi that is about to leave, hopefully this post at least gives you a heads up on what to expect.

Beaches Near Cruise Port

Our taxi driver drove our bus load of people through town for a short drive (about 15 minutes) before we reached our destination.

He pulled up in front a beach shack that said Calico Jacks and had us all pay him as we exited.

It was $6 per person for the ride. The driver initially told me I owed for four people, but my husband told him that our one year old didn’t take up a seat since we held her.

The driver quickly agreed and just had us pay for the three of us who took up seats.

Visiting Grand Cayman on a Disney Cruise (Excursions Review) (9)

We walked through the shack and right onto the beach where we saw people renting out chairs with umbrellas.

We paid $20 for two chairs and an umbrella, and we were given wrist bands to show that we had paid.

The beach in Grand Cayman seems to have eroded pretty badly, but I had read about this before our trip.

The lounge chairs we rented were probably only two feet from the water because there wasn’t much sand/beach space at all.

Even with the erosion, this beach was AMAZING and probably the most beautiful beach we had ever seen!

Visiting Grand Cayman on a Disney Cruise (Excursions Review) (10)

The white sands and ocean floor were both soft, so we didn’t need water shoes. The shallow waters of the ocean were the prettiest color I have ever seen!

It was crystal clear and SO warm…even in December! I don’t think I even needed to get used to it. I just walked right in, and it felt incredible!

I will note that we didn’t see any marine life. So, if you’re looking for a place to snorkel, this may not be the right spot.

The beach area we initially stopped at was a popular spot, and it started to get a little busy. This is because it was the first place you came to when you entered the beach.

Also, I think we may have been the first cruise ship to arrive in Grand Cayman that day.

The people who rented the chairs had told us to grab ANY set of blue chairs we wanted. So, we noticed further down the beach there were more chairs.

(Video) Disney Cruise Vlog 🚢 Quiet ship in Grand Cayman! Day 4

↓↓ Visit My Etsy Shop ↓↓

Visiting Grand Cayman on a Disney Cruise (Excursions Review) (11)

It was much less busy at this end, so we took our things down there. We were right beside a resort called Seafire.

I had never heard of Seafire prior to this trip, but now I really want to stay there! They had a huge sandy beach area with loungers and cabanas. It all looked really upscale and clean!

As I was admiring Seafire, I realized I didn’t see a mention of Royal Palms anywhere. Well, this is because we weren’t at Royal Palms.

I was kind of annoyed because I had specifically told the driver twice that that’s where we wanted to go. Still the beach that we were on was beautiful, so it all worked out in the end.

George Town Cruise Ship Dock

We spent a few hours enjoying the beach, and then we decided to head back to the ship. I wanted to grab lunch on board before putting our one-year-old down for a nap.

So, we walked back up to the beach shack, and a lady approached us asking if we wanted to go back to the port.

She told us she had a FULL bus and that we could leave immediately. Since we sat for 30 minutes to get to the beach, the option to get on an already full bus sounded much better.

We washed the sand off in the outdoor showers and headed to the taxi.

**Note that there were also restrooms here that my husband said “weren’t bad” for public restrooms.

Visiting Grand Cayman on a Disney Cruise (Excursions Review) (12)

The driver then pulled away from the beach, and we took the 10-15 minute drive back to port. The driver dropped us off in a big parking lot near the gates to the cruise port.

Here, we had a really pretty view of the ships anchored offshore.

A couple security guards stood at the entrance to the port and just asked us to show them our Key to the World cards to enter.

They didn’t ask for ID or anything. We then strolled over to the signs for the Disney Magic. I believe there were signs posted for the other major cruise lines too.

We showed our key cards again and walked right onto a waiting tender boat.

Visiting Grand Cayman on a Disney Cruise (Excursions Review) (13)

The tender had plenty of seats for us to choose since it was fairly early in the day to return. Most of the Disney Magic passengers were still enjoying the island. It pulled off to take us back to the ship without waiting to fill up with passengers.

Once back on the ship, we went through security on Deck 1. Then we headed up to the pool deck for lunch.

Disney Cruise Pirate Night

We ate lunch at Cabanas, and then I took our one year old to the room for a bath and nap.

My husband and six-year-old spent a little time at the pool enjoying the water slide before coming down to the room too.

We were really grateful for our balcony again because we enjoyed sitting on it this afternoon in Grand Cayman.

My six-year-old was exhausted from the beach and liked relaxing on the verandah with us.

(Video) Grand Cayman Cruise Port Guide: Tips and Overview

Visiting Grand Cayman on a Disney Cruise (Excursions Review) (14)

Once our one year old woke from her nap, we all took time to get ready for Pirate Night. Our stateroom host had left Mickey pirate bandanas on our bed for us to wear on Pirate Night.

My husband and I don’t typically dress up on Pirate Night other than the black and white outfits I pack.

Visiting Grand Cayman on a Disney Cruise (Excursions Review) (15)

For this trip, a friend of mine made my girls pirate Elsa and Anna dresses that were really cute.

You will notice that some people go all-out in their pirate outfits, some are more low key, and some don’t dress up at all.

So, no matter how you and your family choose to dress on Pirate Night, you won’t look out of place.

Pirate Night Dinner

Once we were dressed and ready for Pirate Night, we had time to meet a few characters in their special pirate gear.

Then we walked up to the Concierge Lounge to grab our “free” glasses of wine for dinner.

Our meal on this third night was at Animator’s Palate again.

Visiting Grand Cayman on a Disney Cruise (Excursions Review) (16)

We had seen the special Sorcerer Mickey show the previous night at Animator’s Palate, so on Pirate Night we had different entertainment.

The servers came out to dance and sing in a pirate themed show toward the end of our meal. They also got the kids excited by letting them get up to dance around the dining room with them.

Pirate Show and Fireworks

Later in the night, the Disney Cruise Line crew members put on a pirate show on the pool deck. I was sound asleep by the time the show started, but my husband and older daughter went to watch.

Basically the entertainment crew and characters dance and sing on the stage on the pool deck.

Visiting Grand Cayman on a Disney Cruise (Excursions Review) (17)

This isn’t the best photo from the show, but hopefully you get the gist. Notice that people bring glow sticks and glow jewelry to this show.

The show then ends with a fireworks display that my daughter really enjoyed!

**Quick Tip- It is MUCH cheaper to buy your glow sticks before your cruise and pack them in your luggage rather than buying them onboard.

Final Review of Port Grand Cayman

Despite our unpleasant taxi experience in Grand Cayman, we really enjoyed this beautiful island and found it to be one of our favorite cruise ports.

The Pirate Night dinner and entertainment were really fun as always.

You can find Day 4 of my trip report at the link below:

  • Review of Disney Cruise- Very Merrytime Christmas Sailing

Thanks for following along!

Do you have a favorite excursion in George Town Grand Cayman?

Comment below to share your tips!

(Video) Grand Cayman | We Did it !! first cruise ship back !! | Disney Magic | Day 3 Vlog Part 1


1. Port Guide: Grand Cayman - Everything We Think You Should Know Before You Go! - ParoDeeJay
2. Tips for Cruisers to Grand Cayman - from a local!
(Evan Pyle)
3. Day 3 of our Disney Cruise | Grand Cayman 7 Mile Beach & Formal Night
(Kimberly Ottman)
4. CRAZY FUN Port Adventure Excursion on the DiSNEY CRUiSE LiNE | Review
(Disney Cruisers)
5. Cruise Line Excursions: 6 You Should Take And 6 To Avoid
(Tips For Travellers)
6. A Week Vacation in Cayman Island - Top Things To Do and Best Tours and Travel Adventures
(Caribbean Lifestyle by J-irie)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Arline Emard IV

Last Updated: 03/08/2023

Views: 6258

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (72 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Arline Emard IV

Birthday: 1996-07-10

Address: 8912 Hintz Shore, West Louie, AZ 69363-0747

Phone: +13454700762376

Job: Administration Technician

Hobby: Paintball, Horseback riding, Cycling, Running, Macrame, Playing musical instruments, Soapmaking

Introduction: My name is Arline Emard IV, I am a cheerful, gorgeous, colorful, joyous, excited, super, inquisitive person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.