Holland America Port of Call: Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

If there's one thing that can totally throw you off cruising around the Western Caribbean, it's setting your clocks back! Upon arriving in Grand Cayman we had to do just this. Which isn't too difficult to handle, but then it happened to us again
the next night. On the main deck of the ship near the middle area (I'm sure there's a proper ship name for 'middle of the ship') near the elevators are giant monitors that tell you the position of the ship, the current local time, weather forecast and all the other need-to-know info if you truly need to know. But I never thought to check this. When our cruise director announced the time change, we flipped our watches back and never thought about it again. I guess we could've checked our room phone too for the correct time, but that never occurred to us. Hey, we were on vacation! Who cares what time it is. You'll see where I'm going with this a bit later...

Today's port of call was Grand Cayman. I'm not sure what I expected. I remembered always hearing about people who vacationed in Grand Cayman and the diving and string ray swimming they did there. The way they presented it, it always felt like the 'it' place to take a proper vacation! Pulling into port, my initial thoughts were that it didn't seem as fancy as the other ports we'd been to. The main priority of the shoreline is to get the boats and tenders in and out of the island as efficiently as possible. I guess it wasn't about presentation here like Grand Turk was. Grand Cayman is more lived, so to speak. Stepping off the tender, you go through a small covered area where
you're bombarded with excursion options, then there you are! Streets and shopping everywhere! You're in the thick of it all immediately. My first inland impressions were of scattered hints of a North-Eastern coastal town. Complete with the brightly coloured buildings and traditional sign posts painted in white and blue indicating the maritime heritage trail around the area. It was extremely hot the day we arrived, and the streets were busy and full. It was a bit overwhelming. We struggled our way across the street through the traffic and took off shopping.

The stores inside are incredible. If you're looking to drop some serious change, this is where you want to do it. The selection is abundant and filled with the greatest amount of designer watches I'd ever seen

(amongst a ton of other jewelry and sparkle)! And every store feels this way. We toured around a bit. I tried on a pair of $5,000 dollar earrings at Milano. Hey, this wasn't my intention! The sales lady noticed my citrine ring that I'd purchased in Grand Turk, which she assumed was a yellow diamond (hah), offered us some very welcomed bottled water and had me decked out in five grand worth of the most gorgeous yellow diamonds I'd ever seen. After I found out that these clearly out-rivaled my great Grand Turk ring price of $115, I quickly discarded them out of my ears and away we went. We
also scored a collector island map print for..., well, I'm not sure why. They like to give you gifts if they think there's a chance you could spend some money.

Our walk around was pretty tiring, so we grabbed a nice overpriced cocktail at the Green Parrot, then jumped back on our tender for the ship to spend the afternoon there. Our included itinerary with the travel company called for a culinary demonstration at 6pm, so after a quick nap on the ship we headed down to the Culinary Arts Center. Because of the time change, and

our culinary event actually staying at the traditional time before we flipped our watches back, we were an hour late for our cooking demonstration. Which was disappointing. But they were just starting to cook the crab cakes when we got there so we were able to join in for the best part. I still haven't figured out how we missed the demonstration. I believe now the ship schedule stays the same even though we sailed through time changes. Perhaps. But the crab cakes were amazing! It was a nice treat!

We also chose to dine in the main dining room this evening. After much persuasion by me. Mom prefers to wing it on the Lido deck, but I love to check out the decadent menu options each night. Okay, so that's only part of the reason. My other two parts included the very cute main dining room guy who I chose to nickname 'Ashton' because he looked like Ashton Kutcher. That was our name for him for our cruise. :) And the other part included the amazing dining attendants we had at our table every night who were just awesome! Absolute rock stars! They quickly learned our preferences and had our table set just for us every night by the time we got there. Balsamic vinegar and wine for the bread, and extra caesar salad dressing for mom (a gravy boat worth), and red wine for me! Our wine attendant loved to keep my glass
topped up. After about the third time of him trying to top it up I politely declined, saying I was good. To which he replied "Oh, but you don't have to drive anywhere". Well, this is true. Okay, I'll take another glass. "It'll help you enjoy your night" he said. How did he know?!! :) I really miss our dining room crew.

I was really looking forward to the next morning though. We'd be stopping in Costa Maya, Mexico. To see the Mayan Ruins! I'd never been to Mexico before and I always wanted to see the Mayan Ruins so this was a huge day on my list!

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