March 29, 2011- Carnival Valor – Grand Cayman

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Not much exciting to report for the Grand Cayman day. Been here several times, most recently in July 2010 on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas. Today’s plan was to go to a resort for a day pass at the Westin Casaurina Grand Cayman. Family would hang out at the beach and I was going to work, as I could purchase internet for far less than the forty cents a minute that cruise ship internet costs. Getting to land in Grand Cayman means tendering, which are small boats that hold about 350 passengers. Its not a long tender to Cayman, but it can take quite a while to get that boat filled. Finally the boat was packed and we got on our way. There were three Carnival ships in GC including the Legend and the Destiny. With the Valor, that probably put about 10000 people on land for about 6-7 hours. GC is not very big, and it’s a great place for diving/snorkeling and visiting the sandbar, otherwise known as Stingray City. Other highlights include the turtle farm and Hell. (And yes, you CAN send someone a postcard from Hell!)

We had pondered how we were getting to the Westin for our beach break, and it was either bus or taxi. We were looking for a taxi when a bus pulled up. Since the bus was there, and it was cheap at $2.50 per person each way US, we hopped in. Told the driver where we were going and it wasn’t too long until we got to the Westin. Having never done a hotel day pass, I was kind of skeptical that it worked, however I was checked in within a couple of minutes and given a room. The family headed to the beach and I booted up the PC to check email and do paperwork. After a little bit I decided to go out to the beach, and it was really nice. Was glad I did what I did as our slice of beach was only populated by Westin guests, and it was not crowded at all.

After a few hours we decided to hop the bus back to the ship, but only after I got some diet Coke. Disney offers complimentary soft drinks—but they’re pretty much the only cruise line that does, so none of us had had any soda for a few days as I was not paying $6 per day per person for a soda card on Carnival. Went to the liquor store across from the Westin and I spent about $20 on soda. The 12 pack of diet Coke, and four 20 ounce bottles was $19.19 US. Still cheaper than drinking soda on the ship though.

As we were walking to the bus stop a bus came by but it was packed. However they made room for the four of us and we were at the ship in about 15 minutes. After this easy experience navigating the GC bus I would do it again. Back on the ship we headed to the Lido for pizza. Carnival has really good pizza—when they can keep it around. There was a line, and no pizzas, so they were making them as fast as they could. We finally got our pizza and headed inside to sit down.

Not much going on for us that afternoon, so basically we  watched TV in our stateroom and wandered around a while until our 6pm dinner. After dinner we all went to the Eagles Lounge for the family comedy show. When the show ended DH and I headed to explore the lounges while the kids went up to the Lido and watched a movie on the JumboTron. Its stadium seating on lounge chairs on the Valor, and it’s a great place to watch a movie. DH and I ended up in the Casino where I was impressed with his ability to play roulette. OK, so there’s really no skill involved here, but within a few minutes he was quite a bit ahead, which made up for the money I lost in the penny and nickel slots earlier. We sat in the Promenade bar area and listened to the band (from Cocoa Beach, FL) and noticed the lack of cigarette smoking. From there we went to Lindy Hop, which is the piano bar. There were people smoking in there, but it wasn’t bad. Having enough of what was going on in there we headed over to the Karaoke lounge (Paris Hot) for a while. I’ve got a few songs I do, and I got on the list and sang. Not much participation for karaoke, and they were auditioning for the guest show on the last night. (The songs they use are not part of the ones I usually sing, so I skipped it.) Finally we headed upstairs around 1am and the kids were asleep.

Next up: Roatan, Honduras. Island tour there with a private driver.

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