Let's Walk to Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman!
Your adventure begins here...
Arriving in Paradise
I sailed away for my first cruise in January of 2015 on the Disney Magic alongside my beautiful wife Carissa (a little over six months following our wedding) for our honeymoon. I had little idea of what to expect, but from the pictures and stories about other cruises I had heard about, I simply assumed that every port we pulled up to during the trip would feature a stunning beach at the forefront.
Grand Cayman is a port that requires tendering-- a relatively easy process where guests must board a small boat that will ferry them to the shores of the island. Due to the coral sea life just off the coast, it's impossible for the giant cruise ships to pull directly up to the port. Since these shuttles are in abundance and come often, my wife and I didn't have to wait long before climbing aboard and departing the beautiful Disney Magic for the paradise of the Grand Cayman Islands.
The Journey Begins to Seven Mile Beach
In preparation for arrival, we had seen that we could pay to take an air conditioned bus directly to a part of the beach reserved specifically for Disney Cruise Line (DCL) guests. Being newbies to the entire world of cruising and newlyweds with limited spending money, my wife and I decided to make the hike to Seven Mile Beach, the white sand paradise of Grand Cayman.
**See the table at the bottom of this article for all Grand Cayman Port Adventures and their associated costs.
Although it's only a one and a half mile walk to get to where Seven Mile Beach starts, I can tell you from personal experience that it felt like a lifetime. As shuttle after shuttle passed by on the nearby road, the sun seemed to get hotter and the towels we were carrying seemed to gain extra weight.
Would you take the hike to Seven Mile Beach?
Sneaking Onto Private Beaches
Seven Mile Beach is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: seven miles long. If you're looking to make it all the way to the public beach, your journey isn't over the moment you see the white sand-- the public area is nowhere near it. After the mile and a half hike, my wife and I were tired of walking... so we did what anyone else might do: we decided to sit on the first beach we saw, which was clearly marked for private beach club members only.
For over an hour, the sun, sand, and surf were absolutely amazing. I'm the kind of person who gets sunburned easily, so the tree behind us providing a shady spot to sit under and read was the perfect place to relax and take in the sights of the beach. Unfortunately, it wasn't destined to last long.
We were soon after approached by a man who worked at the private club, who explained that he was "going to pretend he didn't see us, but club members would soon be complaining" and that we needed to move on. From the way he immediately identified us as cruise ship passengers, I'm guessing he deals with this happening often.
Would you try sneaking onto a private club beach?
Kicked to the Curb
With the combined mistakes of assuming the beach was closer than it was, walking a mile and half to get there, and then getting kicked off of the private beach we'd collapsed onto after refusing to walk another step, I'll admit it-- Grand Cayman ended up being my least favorite port. We ended up walking up the beach a little, finding an area that was technically "public" but wasn't the most comfortable place in the world to spend the day (see the picture at right).
Follow that up with the mile and a half walk back to the port in direct sunlight (three miles total), and I couldn't wait to get aboard the Disney Magic where all of my needs would be immediately met. Disney didn't let us down-- the second we walked through the security to where the tendering boat would meet us on the dock, Disney provided us with cold wet towels and a variety of ice waters (lemon, cucumber, watermelon) to quench our thirst. On that particular day, the sight of the Disney Magic had never looked better.
When I visit Grand Cayman in the future (and to all of you who are planning a visit via DCL in the near future), I would suggest the following tips:
- Grand Cayman is full of stores, restaurants, and plenty of downtown areas waiting for you to traverse with quick access from the dock. If you don't have a lot of extra money, consider simply exploring the nooks and crannies of the island's culture instead of heading to the beach.
- If the Seven Mile Beach keeps calling your name and you have the money to take the shuttle, it's definitely worth it. Taking the air conditioned shuttle (which can be booked via the Port Adventures desk on Deck 3) will deliver you to Disney's private section of the beach. The best part? Lounge chairs and soft drinks are included.
- Don't try to buy a shuttle ride from a local on the island. They will offer to shuttle you around in a van, but it costs significantly more than Disney-- and you'll be delivered to a public beach (not the private one owned by DCL). When we were on the island, locals offered us a one way ticket for $50 (as opposed to the round trip for $36 that DCL offers).
Disney Port Adventures in Grand Cayman
Grand Cayman Island Tour
2 Hours, All Ages
$39 (adults) $29 (children)
Boatswain's Adventure Marine Park
4.5 - 5 Hours, All Ages
$92 (adults) $72 (children)
Stringray City Reef Sail & Snorkel
3.5 Hours, Ages 5 & Up
$60 (adults) $47 (children)
Nautilus Undersea Tour & Reef Snorkel
3 Hours, Ages 5 & Up
$52 (adults) $43 (children)
Shipwreck & Reef Snorkeling
2.5 Hours, Ages 5 & Up
$39 (adults) $31 (children)
Seven Mile Beach
4 Hours, All Ages
$36 (adults) $26 (children)
2.5 Hours, Ages 5 & Up
$42 (adults) $28 (children)
Island Tour & Snorkeling with Stingrays
4.5 Hours, Ages 5 & Up
$72 (adults) $56 (children)