Caribbean Cruise Destinations: Turks And Caicos Islands
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
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
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 FlowRiderÂ® during this expanded session and with the flow fence taken down, you'll have more space to surf! Feel the excitement of the FlowRiderÂ® 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
A cruising guide to the Turks and Caicos Islands. Includes major cruising ports in the Dominican Republic.
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.
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
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.
- Universal Currency Converter
Check out the current exchange rates before you sail.
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- Foreign Entry Requirements
Different situations require different documents. Please become familiar with the specific document requirements for the country(s) you are visiting. More information on these documents can be found here.
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- U.S. Department of State Travel Warnings
Get the latest U.S. Department of State travel warnings at this site.
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