After a day at sea in the Florida Straits we arrived at our second port of call was Georgetown, Grand Cayman. As Georgetown does not have a wharf capable of handling cruise ships, we were transferred from the ship to the wharf by tender.
The day was a special one for me as it was Anzac Day and our joker / storyteller / onboard lecturer / historian Terry Bishop held an Anzac Day Memorial Service at sunrise. Anzac Day is the Australian and New Zealand equivalent to the USA’s Memorial Day and Remembrance Day in Europe. If you get a chance to sail on a cruise with Terry, make sure you attend his lectures, on our cruise he linked each port to the previous port with some historical fact culminating in San Francisco with an unexpected tie into to our cruise, but will leave that until I post about San Francisco.
Charter fishing boats heading out for the day, they may have been a better option for a bit of fun instead of the SubmarineAs the day was Anzac Day and as I was a member of the Royal Australian Navy’s Submarine Squadron I thought it would be fun to go on the Atlantis Submarine Tour, unfortunately this was not the case. Whilst the Submarine component was not bad, the whole idea of the tour was to dive off the reef adjacent to Georgetown and view the coral and associated sea life. Unfortunately, due to the amount of sea traffic in the vicinity of the reef most of the coral had died, therefore the sea life have left the area and the water is extremely cloudy as you can see in my photos below. This is a real shame and the politicians in Australia should take note that any chance of this happening to the Great Barrier Reef is not acceptable, therefore stop trying to come up with ways to allow more shipping and even dredging anywhere near the Reef!!!
Before my tour I had a few hours so I took the opportunity to wander the streets of Georgetown around the wharf area. This area is a duty free shopping zone, filled with some fairly high-end jewelry and watch boutiques, from what I saw the prices were high, so not a place I would recommend for shipping. One place I did find that was reasonable was a Cuban Cigar store, their prices were the cheapest that I saw throughout the cruise. I had a conversation with the owner and he told me that he regularly purchases cigars from Australia as he is able to get good quality aged and rare Cubans from a supplier there, I was surprised as Cuba is only an island away but even more surprised when I found out I knew the guy who he buys them from. It is a small world.
Of all of the ports on this cruise, Georgetown was my least favourite, but I guess if you were to visit the other areas on Grand Cayman you may have a totally different experience to mine.
GCM-006 ATLANTIS SUBMARINE
Experience the undersea beauty of Grand Cayman during this scenic journey aboard an authentic submarine.
Depart the pier aboard a transfer vessel for the brief ride to the Atlantis Adventure Center, and your Atlantis XI Submarine. Specifically designed for civilian passengers, the submarine maintains sea-level pressure so as to have no ill effects on the ears. She is 65 feet long, 13 feet wide and weights 80 tons, and can carry 48 passengers and three crew members.
Your first sight of the submarine will be as it breaks the surface from its previous trip. Once moored alongside the submarine, you will safely embark its deck via a ramp and enter the air-conditioned cabin through a large hatch. After the hatches are secured and pre-dive safety checks are completed, you will begin your descent. As the Atlantis Class pilot navigates the submarine, you will glide through the clear water and explore Grand Cayman’s Underwater Marine Park to depths of 100 feet. Along the way, you will see an abundance of huge barrel sponges and star corals on the reef, and an occasional stingray or turtle passing by within a few feet of your large viewing port.
After your submarine ride and before returning to the dock, you will be able to watch as the submarine again descends on another excursion, completely disappearing from your sight beneath the surface on its next journey to the depths below.
Following your submarine tour, you will be transferred back to the pier.
Please note: This tour involves a 300-yard walk from the pier to the Atlantis office. Guests must be able to negotiate a 10-step ladder in order to enter and exit the submarine. Minimum height is three feet tall and the minimum age to participate is four years of age accompanied by a parent or guardian. This tour may not be exclusive to RSSC guests.