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Caribbean Cruise Destinations: Turks And Caicos Islands

Updated on September 18, 2011

Turks and Caicos: A Large Gift In A Small Package

Grand Turk Island is world renowned as a diving and snorkeling jewel, with its incredible aqua-blue waters. It also features magnificent beaches, and a large variety of fishing and water sports activities.

Just a few hundred yards from shore, the continental shelf suddenly drops off to a depth of 7,000 feet, creating some magnificent coral reefs, making Grand Turk one of the top five diving destinations in the world.

The cruising industry is a major economic asset to the country since the Grand Turk Cruise Center (developed and run by Carnival Cruise Lines), as the largest private employer on the island, is a major source of income. The Center, along with its support staff and cruise excursion operators make up approximately 80 percent of the non-governmental jobs in Grand Turk.

The Center itself is somewhat of a tourist attraction. The Margaritaville Cafe, at 17,000 square feet of space, is the largest stand-alone Jimmy Buffet franchise in the Caribbean. The Amoeba-shaped pool behind the Buffet's place is open to the public and features a swim up bar, a slide, cabanas, and a great view.

This lens is one of a series that the author is providing on over twenty cruise destinations in the Caribbean. Each lens will include general information on the destination, suggested shore excursions, and video and photographic illustrations where appropriate.

Map Of The Caribbean Islands

Map Of The Caribbean Islands
Map Of The Caribbean Islands

Effects on Cruising In Grand Turk Due To Hurricane "IKE"

Grand Turk Island was devastated by Hurricane "Ike". Eighty-five percent of the homes on the island were either damaged or destroyed. This created a temporary halt to this island as a cruise stop.

However, the Grand Turk Cruise Center, operated by Carnival Cruise Lines, was quickly repaired and has been Re-Opened No damage was done to the cruise ship pier, and minimal damage was done to the retail and restaurant complex. Carnival has committed to spending millions of dollars to help bolster the cruise industry superstructure there.

The Cruise Center opened in 2006, and since that time has become one of the Caribbean's most popular cruise destinations.

Sunset Viewed From Turtle Cove

Sunset Viewed From Turtle Cove
Sunset Viewed From Turtle Cove

Some Suggested Shore Excursions

The Turks and Caicos have many shore excursions that will keep you entertained and busy. Like all destinations you can only choose one or two within the time you have available.

Remember that you can always see the rest on your NEXT cruise to Grand Turk. I am listing a few of the shore excursions listed by Carnival cruise lines below. The full list of twenty plus excursions can be found HERE.

You can click on the links for each excursion and it will take you to the Carnival Cruise Lines site which will give more detailed descriptions of each excursion.

  • Blue Water Fishing 3 Hours Come aboard and feel the thrill and excitement of big game sport fishing. Have your lines set and rigged to target such species as Yellow Fin Tuna, Mackerel, Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, Blue Marlin, Sailfish and sharks.

  • Certified Scuba4 hours Experience the amazing blue waters and pristine coral reefs on this amazing certified two tank dive. Get a close look at the third largest barrier reef in the world which makes Grand Turk, a diver's paradise.

  • Gibbs Cay Beach & Stingray Adventure 2 Hours Explore an uninhabited island and have a close encounter with stingrays on this exciting combination excursion. Explore the beautiful coral reef and its colorful inhabitants that lie approximately 50 yards from the beach. Play with the friendly stingrays in the shallow water right off the beach.

  • Grand Turk FlowRider Deluxe
    1.5 Hours Enjoy more time on the FlowRider® during this expanded session and with the flow fence taken down, you'll have more space to surf! Feel the excitement of the FlowRider® experience, as a thin sheet of water is sent at high speed up a pre-formed and cushioned wave platform while you try to stay on the board; even those who have never tried body or knee boarding will find this to be an exhilarating experience.

  • Horse & Carriage Ride 1.5 hours Have a fun, whimsical, narrated, historical tour of Cockburn Town and the countryside by horse drawn carriage. * Enjoy the sites and sounds of Grand Turk's quaint, Bermuda-style town and the area just north of town.

    * Listen as your guide points out areas of interest, such as the "salt pans" - evidence of Grand Turk's colorful "salt raking" history.

    * Have some free time in Cockburn Town before continuing back to the cruise terminal to round out this excursion.

  • Island Bus Loop "The Guana" Unlimited Time Enjoy riding in an air conditioned bus providing a continual loop visiting various attractions including; Columbus Monument, historic Old Town, the Millennium Clock, and Lighthouse Park. This excursion is "At Your Leisure" and runs continuously all day. You can spend as much time at each of the venues as you like.

  • Sail Grand Turk Beach & Swim 2.25 Hours Sail away in the 78-foot Oasis Sea Passion to a Caribbean beach, along the famous coral reef wall. Relax on deck sipping on our famous Oasis Breezers while listening to the island music and taking in the breathtaking, historic coastline of Grand Turk.

Great Sources Of Information To Help In Your Preparations

The Turks and Caicos Guide: A Cruising Guide to the Turks and Caicos Islands
The Turks and Caicos Guide: A Cruising Guide to the Turks and Caicos Islands
A cruising guide to the Turks and Caicos Islands. Includes major cruising ports in the Dominican Republic.
Birds of the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands (Caribbean Pocket Natural History)
Birds of the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands (Caribbean Pocket Natural History)
A comprehensive ornithological guide introducing both visitors and residents to the bird life of the Bahamas Archipelago and the neighboring Turks and Caicos Islands. The text contains color photographs and information on the breeding birds of the region plus the most commonly recorded migrants that either pass through on their way to other destinations or stay during the winter season. The author emphasizes how to recognize or identify the various species and their plumages, and includes information on how bird populations are distributed throughout the islands. Behavior and habitat preferences are covered as well as calls and songs. Additionally, there are comments about the region's subspecies, especially those that are endemic to the area.
Living in the Turks & Caicos Islands: From the Florida Lottery
Living in the Turks & Caicos Islands: From the Florida Lottery
This is an important look at what it was to grow up in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Mr. Palmer's recollections let us know what it was like before the Islands were developed for tourism. Charles Palmer allows us to see the Turks and Caicos Islanders move from a rural life into today's modern society. I recommend this book for the traveller who wants to know a lot more than where the best rum punch is served. If you're lucky, you may even meet Charles Palmer on the golf course. From an Amazon book reviewer.

Grand Turk Beach

Grand Turk Beach
Grand Turk Beach

Cruise Trip Toolbox - "Know Before You Go"

It is always a good idea to know the basics before you leave on your cruise. The following links will aid you in preparing for your cruise. From currency exchange to travel warnings, it is all here. And, don't forget your passport. Never leave home without it.

It's Your Turn Now. I'd Love To Know You Dropped By.

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Can someone tell me ow to fid out more informaion on the excursins horse an carrriage ride and the The Island bus loop

    • andreaberrios lm profile image

      andreaberrios lm 

      8 years ago

      I really would like to go here on a cruise!! :)

    • LivRiley LM profile image

      LivRiley LM 

      8 years ago

      Have cruised much of the Caribbean over the last 10 years. Cruising can become addictive! =)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Nice lens.

    • sarahrk lm profile image

      sarahrk lm 

      8 years ago

      I love cruising and have stopped in Turks And Caicos. My favorite is St .Thomas.

    • dahlia369 profile image


      8 years ago

      Beautiful place and lens. Blessed! :)

    • franstan lm profile image

      franstan lm 

      8 years ago

      Awesome lens

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great Lens! Be sure to check out Cruise Ship Balcony Deals!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Fantastic lens - it makes me want to travel! Blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • CruiseReady profile image


      9 years ago from East Central Florida

      Nice to see this lens1 I reallylike Grand Turk... been there a couple oftimes when the ship I was sailing called there... third time coming up,

      We were priviledged to be on one of the first ships to stop there when the port finally opened up affter Hurricane Ike. And everyonne in our party saved all their souvenir buying for Grand Turk, because we wanted to do our little part to help an economy that had been hurt by the storm. I have a coupklell of really lovely items on my display shelf as a result.


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