Mitsugirly takes great PRIDE in bringing her Spring Break extreme review
Day 5: Grand Turk
Wednesday GRAND TURK DAY!!!! WOO HOO
I was up at 6:45 and ready to go...with my arm asleep and numb and my back aching from the hard bed...but hey at least my room was no longer cold (they claim to have "fixed" it, but I think it was because we were now in warm weather-wink wink).
DING DING DING...GET UP!!!!
I got the crew up, called Kendra to make sure she was up and informed her for the 50th time I would not be waiting on her late butt to get off the ship and we were on our way to the buffet area for breakfast.
Same old, same old for me.
We were due in at Grand Turk at 8am...and we were pulling in at 8am right on time.
Hey, they have a wrecked boat just like Mahogany Bay.
I was really looking forward to this port. It was something new for me, a place I had never been to before, a place I had seen shows on the travel channel about, a place I just knew I was going to like and others on the boards raved about.
We met up with Kendra and Brayden, one last photo of the port and we were heading back down to our rooms to grab our beach bags.
We headed out the door and our room steward wished us a great day, then said "do you have your ID's?" Um, I didn't realize we needed them? He said we did and I rushed back inside to grab them from the safe and off we went. It was at that point that I realize I hadn't even brought my ID or my wallet. I must have left it in my car. Oh great.
Anyhow, we went downstairs to the 2nd floor, which was where Kendra's room was and got in the long line waiting to head down the stairs. We weren't moving at all. We sat there for about 10 minutes before someone yelled "wrong stairs!" We did an about face, which made us first in line and down the hallway we went. Kendra had the very first room at the end of the hallway so her door was basically the easiest room on the ship to get off and on. LOL
We headed down the stairs and off the ship after a quick "ding" of our ship cards.
We had our pictures taken by the photographer
I'm snap happy along the way of course...
The water was absolutely gorgeous!
We hit the beach running...well, not really, but off on a stroll, snapping pictures and looking for the prime real estate we would call home for a few hours.
I immediately knew this was not the place we wanted to stop.
I originally had made a plan to go toward (not to) Jack's shack and find a place for a few hours, then to the conch grave yard, then the last few hours at the pool.
For some reason we hit the very end of the "compound" and decided that was far enough. I'm not sure why. But I looked up and down the beach and...well, it's the same beach, the water was the same, the beach was about the same and well, I didn't feel like walking anymore. This was good enough for us. Another reason I'll tell you why I decided to stop here was most people stopped at the very beginning when they got off the ship. There really wasn't many down this way. It wasn't crowded or anything. I normally hate when they have chair after chair after chair lined up that if you was to think any thought, the person next to you would hear it. But, I felt that this was going to be different...and it was. Had there been another ship in port, I would have probably kept walking as planned.
I liked that the ship was right in front of us. It meant I would get some great pictures of her that day.
Sakari headed out to the water...then I headed out on my raf
Sakari soon noticed I had brought our float from home and out she came to take over.
I didn't have the heart to take it back. She just looked like she was having so much fun on it.
You could tell the party was getting started next door. The music started playing loudly and all the favorite dance songs came on. Sakari started dancing while laying in the float...she's got that rhythm in her.
Something weird we noticed is that the moon was still out.
I noticed that the beach was getting a little more crowded, but there still wasn't anyone really around us and everyone was all spread out. So it was still comfortable and we would remain where we were at.
Now I take my snorkeling equipment with me everywhere I go...even if I'm told that the snorkeling is not good, it's a sandy bottom beach and so on. I have found in the past that there is ALWAYS something to see and honestly, usually those places are the places that I will see my very "first" (as in the first time I've ever seen that fish or animal). I have had great luck with this and I hoped that this would pay off today as well.
Now I do know that others have snorkeled here and found what they called "good snorkeling" in front of the ship. But my definition of "good snorkeling" I think is a little different. None-the-less, I'm snorkeling....and off I went....to encounter this right from the beginning.
the water was beautiful and crystal clear. We were having a good time.
You could hear the parrot fish crunching on the coral.
Anyone know what this is??? It was originally brown...if you dove down by it...it turned white....anyone?
I have to confess that I have never tried my macro underwater setting before and this shouldn't have been the first time to try it out either!!!
I put it on macro, trying to get a good close up, clear picture of this creature (if you haven't figured it out by now, it's an octopus). I guess I didn't realize that the macro makes it zoom in...like ZOOOOOOOM in without having to dive down. Oops. It came out a little too zoomed.
Now didn't I just say that any time I have went somewhere that people say is either 1) bad snorkeling because it's a sandy bottom or 2) you won't see anything there or whatever the excuse is...I ALWAYS find something I have never seen before. This of course would be no exception. This would be the first time I have ever came across an octopus. Go me!!!
I was real happy to see that there were a variety of various corals around the area too.
I think he's smiling at me. Say "cheese"!
Sakari decided to head out to a little deeper water with us so ...like always, it's a must to have your puddle jumper on if mommy is unable to stand in the water to grab you when you need a break.
ANYONE SEE THE FISH?
What about now?
It's a sideways flounder (or flatfish). They are born like any other fish but as they grow, they turn sideways and their other eye moves up to the top so both eyes are facing up. They blend in with the sand and try covering up with the sand and you'll sometimes only see the eyes sticking up. You really have to watch for them but I have noticed that I have been finding these fish a lot lately on cruises in various ports. Maybe I'm just getting better at spotting them and they've been there the entire time, or there are just more now that when I first started cruising.
We made him move so I could get a better picture.
Now one thing I noticed this time around that I hadn't seen before when they were swimming is that it had a knife like (as in the looks) fin that stood straight up when it felt threatened. It was the first time I had seen that fin on one of these fish.
One last snorkeling picture and it was time to go...and only because I just love these little guys. They are not afraid of you at all when in the water and you will find them in ANY water when it's a sandy bottom. They will follow you and swim around your legs and they come in all sizes.
So since we were on a time schedule that I had previously chosen prior to the cruise in order to fit everything in. It was almost time to move on. It was about 1/2 hour early, but the kids wanted to go to the pool. So off we went heading that way.
I decided to go ahead and take some pictures of the port and shopping area while I was at it.
I almost forgot...the kids found a donkey on the beach and had to go over and say hi to it while we were still on the beach.
I'm kinda almost shocked that Brayden had enough guts to go up to it and touch it.
So here we are making our way to the pool. It was a really beautiful resort type pool. Normally I don't go on vacation to go to a pool and I usually only go to a pool if the port is one of those I really don't care for and it's located at a resort (like Jamaica). But it's sometimes nice to relax in fresh water and get all that salt off your skin. The kids like it too, so it was a good decision.
We didn't have many choices for a spot around the pool that had any shade. Most places right by the pool were taken already and the shady spots were taken as well. The only place we could find that would accommodate us it an area under the tress, but yet on rocks. Oh well. It would have to do. For the most part we would be in the water.
This was the pool area over by the surfing. I never did see anyone on it, but they could have been while we were at the beach. The pool area was HUGE and had many different parts to it, several connected pools and bridges. Super nice and easy to spread out and not be crowded.
Of course Sakari could hardly contain herself and off she went.
Kendra working on her shade tan and discovering that the port had free wifi...oh know, she was rubbing it in to her bf back home how nice the weather was here today. They were telling her that it was nasty, cold and raining back home. That rain would later turn into a storm where my car would get messed up that night...while sitting inside one of their (Kendra and bf's) car shops. Sigh.
This would be one of the few times that you will see several pictures of my hubby in the water...any water recently actually unless we are on an excursion snorkeling or swimming with the sharks. He normally doesn't "just swim" to be swimming. He has "bad ears". He has seemed partially death (which I always said was selective hearing) and he constantly has ear infections...like nasty pussy ear infections. When he goes in the water, they get worse and hurt. But last year he went to a specialist, which told him some time when he was younger (determined by when this problem first started) that he had busted both ear drums and he said they had become badly infected and he was actually missing parts of his internal ear drums and would need reconstruction. They put him on a lot of medicine, cleared up the infection, told him to wear ear plugs (even when showering) and he should be good to go until he was ready for reconstruction. He's 100% better now and was actually playing in the water with the kids this cruise.
Me taking a picture of Kendra taking a picture of me. See how that works? Gotta sneak in a picture of the whale tail.
Like I said, I was on a time schedule and it was time for us to pack up and head to the conch graveyard in search for a few good conch's for Sakari's display back home. She cherishes each thing she gets and can tell you exactly where she got them and she doesn't allow anyone in her room to touch them (but will bring them out for show and tell to friends and family when she wants to show them off).
We packed up, Kendra was being slow, Brayden even slower. I told her we would slowly stroll to the shopping area then onto the beach and it was up to her to catch up. I was taking pictures along the way of course.
Kendra and Brayden never did catch up so off we headed on our own to explore.
They were everywhere and so many to chose from. Now I'm sure we probably didn't make it all the way to the end. I was told to head that way and go to the tip that goes around the edge. We came to this part way before what I would think would be the tip of the island where you have to turn and it was good enough for us. If we couldn't find something we liked here, we had issues.
I also found the cutest little little sea urchin (the kind that is round like a dome and don't hurt you). It was hollow so I scooped it up and took it with me. I do remember packing it, however when I got home to unpack, I could no longer find it??? I'm still wondering what happened. It was in the suitcase the night I put them out. It's like it vanished.
We picked out 3 conch shells and started to head back toward the port.
On the way back, we discovered what a nice area that side of the dock was. It hardly had anyone over there at all and there was lots of shade and also a small swimming area roped off too. I think if I ever return, I will head to this area for the day if I don't go on an excursion somewhere else. It was really nice.
You could tell they had weddings on the beach there.
Sakari loved this whale and was excited to take her picture with it and explore it.
We had great memories and souvenirs of the conch graveyard and headed back to the port for a little more swimming fun before getting back on the ship. We were hot from the walk and very thirsty. We got back to find Kendra and Brayden still swimming and they had claimed stake to a new spot right beside the pool with an umbrella.
We parked it beside her and the hubby was off to get us some expensive drinks....and possibly some fries to munch on.
He returned with this scrumptious thing..which was a dirty banana, dirty monkey, dirty something...I don't know but it was the best!!! However, I guess they do things differently in Grand Cayman. They had the drink and then a plastic shot glass filled with liquor inside the glass. The hubby said "they said to take this shot and chase it down with the drink". Um...no. That would probably knock me on my arse. I'm a lightweight. I'm not a big drinker. So I poured it into my glass and stirred it up and it was just perfect!!!
He let me know he bought those 2 drinks and an order of fries and it was a whopping $25! YIKES!!! They charged for the items, taxed them, added gratuity and then added another fee. Geesh AND he went up to them. It wasn't pool side service either that we're talking about. No wonder everyone says to get out of the over priced cruise compound.
Meanwhile, Kendra was telling me the reason that she wasn't able to catch up with her was because Braydens shoes were missing. His BRAND NEW, just bought the day before the cruise, Nike slip on sandals were gone. She had looked everywhere but knew that they were on his feet when we arrived there and now they were gone.
I'm glad Kendra still had energy to spare to flip the kids in the pool because this momma sure didn't. All I wanted to do was relax.
Sooner than later, I was talked into participating in the flipping flip program for tots.
I escaped for awhile and decided to walk up these steps to see where it lead to.
Could it be leading me to some secret beautiful hideaway?
Heck no, it was the darn parking lot.
Kendra and I decided to head to the shops for a quick visit. I always buy a tee shirt with the name of the place on it at each port (well, until I have one from that port and then I just pack it and take it with me again when cruising) and I also always buy a refrigerator magnet for Sakari.
We hopped from shop to shop looking for that perfect deal, scored some and we were done.
Back to the pool to get the kids and gather out things. Our beautiful day was over and it was almost time to get back on the ship.
Brayden was complaining about his feet being hot and the concrete was burning them. Of course I understand, but there wasn't anything we could do since he no longer had shoes.
We took every route we could find that had shade and out to the beach.
When we made it out to the beach GASP...can you see that line to get back on the ship?
It was crazy long. Would you look at that line????
Now I had read about this before and knew the plan of action was to hang out at the beach, in the shade, until the line dies down, then head down the pier to the ship before everyone was completely on the ship.
It seemed like others had this plan too.
While we were standing there I hear this lady arguing with another lady and her son. We stood around long enough that we got the just of the conversation. The lady who was yelling had her sons sandals stolen back at the pool. The lady she was yelling at had a son that had them on his feet. She swore up and down that she bought those and the lady told her there's no way and gave her the exact size and everything and made the boy take them off. The other mom kept saying "no, my boy no steal em, I bought em for me son. Those my boy shoes" The son was saying "just let her have them mom" and you could TELL that the mom was lying and the son was embarrassed because he had someone else's shoes on.
Well of course this interested Kendra since the same thing happen to her. When the angry mom told her that she had went to the police and filed a report, the mom actually walked away leaving her son there with the shoes on his feet with the angry mom. REALLY? If you are so innocent, why would you leave your son there to deal with it alone? The boy removed them and gave them back and said he was sorry. Sorry? For what? Are you admitting they are not your shoes and you stole them? Of course you are.
Kendra walked over and talked to the mom that got her sons shoes back and told her about Braydens shoes being stolen that day. Kendra knew if she seen another kid with those shoes on, she would be doing the same because not only were these shoes new, they are the style that was just released and she'd know them. But, she had no such luck in finding them before the cruise was over.
At one point the ship sounded the horn. It was past time for the cruisers to be back on the ship. I guess he was angry people were still sitting in the beach chairs. However, getting up and getting in the long line with the hot blazing sun wasn't going to speed things up.
Once things died down, we headed for the pier.
By the time we caught up to the line, it was still long and still waiting out in the sun for a good 15-20 minutes.
We watched people still swimming.
Yep, they were watching us come back. Yes, it was later than what we were supposed to be on the ship, but yet I guess you can't make them check you in any faster...or can you? Hey Carnival, what about having MORE than 1 place to get back on? That's a thought. Having on 1 entrance wasn't the greatest idea. Then my hubby says "What do you want them to do Kim? Have you swim out past the dock to get into that other door?" Ok, so maybe he had a point. So 1 check in spot it is then. Although I was really hot at this point so swimming over past the pier edge to another entrance onto the ship would have been an option I would consider at this point.
Once again, the ships horn sounds. I think they were getting impatient.
We made it back on and up to our room. Our sailaway was to be at 2:30pm and I think we ended up leaving at 3pm.
Goodbye Grand Turk...until next time.
As we pull out of Grand Turk, I reflect on my thoughts of this place I had waited years to visit.
I have seen pictures of this place. I had watched a show once talking about it was one of the most gorgeous places in the Caribbean to go. I did not think so.
Yes, it was nice. Yes the water was beautiful and a decent beach, but it did not blow me away that's for sure. I have been to much better and prettier beaches.
Was it because I stayed within the beach area at the compound? Maybe, but I hardly doubt it. Looking down the rest of the beach, it pretty much looked about the same just more spread out and probably less crowded...although I didn't really feel our area was too crowded to begin with. Does a crowd make that much of a difference? Well to some it may, to me, not really. I'm not referring to the people, the crowd, the food or anything of the kind when I talk about how I felt about the place itself. I'm referring to the surroundings, the atmosphere, the beauty of the place. It just wasn't what I thought it would be...that's all. Maybe I hyped it up to be more than what it actually is and I set my expectations too high. I'm really not sure.
The port itself and the pool was extremely nice, but like I've said before, I really don't go to a port for the pool. However, it made for a nice "free" change in things for the day and the kids loved it. So I think having it there was a good thing!
Now since this cruise was a VERY expensive one, one of the things we had decided on very early was we were not going to do anything that required us to spend more money...as in an excursion either by ship or on our own. Maybe that's what it was. Maybe we just didn't get out and see the place to change my mind about it. I know I had originally wanted to head down to Bohio for awhile. I'm not sure if being there would have changed my mind, but I had picked that place for the snorkeling. Maybe another time.
I can say that I LOVED the area to the right (when getting off the ship). Had I actually stayed in that area the entire time, I might have felt different about the place as well. It just seemed prettier over there with more landscaping and such. If I return (which I do hope to do some day) I will probably either 1) get off the compound beach or 2) stay over on the other side and experience it some more.
Would I go back? Absolutely!
I hope you enjoyed my Grand Turk review. Now on to the rest of the day on the ship...:)
We headed back to our rooms, took showers and out to my balcony to "whale watch" LOL. Now I know it's whale season...well the END of whale season at the time we were on the Pride and I know that a good place to spot them is around the Grand Turk area. I looked and I looked and I prayed and.....nothing. Ugh. I had really hoped to see something. To this date I have never seen a THING from my balcony other than some flying fish. How disappointing. Everyone always says they see dolphins from their balcony and so on, but not me. Sigh
We headed upstairs to grab something to eat...once again, nothing open. Double sigh. We were back to picking between pizza or the deli. At this point I was beginning to get a little disappointed in this buffet schedule versus my schedule. It just didn't click.
To satisfy my craving for a variety of foods (buffet) I had both the deli AND pizza! So there!
My first shot at the pizza and it wasn't burnt and it was ok. Not the best, but it would do.
We headed back to the room to rest for awhile. It was a big day of swimming and walking. Then it was time for the Dr Seuss photo session. I knew Sakari wanted her pictures with the characters, however, I hate how they did it. The had, I believe, Thing 1 and Thing 2 and a blank backdrop at 5:15pm. Then you had to wait until 7:15pm for the Cat in the Hat and Sam I Am pictures. Why not just have them all together?? That was a big wait!!!
We headed down for pictures while daddy napped (no rest for me sigh) and they were setting up the backdrops.
Sakari had a few pictures done with the "Things" and another picture done with the plain drop and no character.
Then it hit me...why isn't she dressed up in her Thing 1 outfit for this? I talked to the photographer and ask how long he would be there and we raced back to the room to get her dressed.
All the door slamming, tearing up the place pulling the costume out and getting Sakari dressed and he didn't open an eye...he was OUT!
We headed back down and had her pictures redone.
We then pretty much had to kill time for about 1 1/2 hours waiting on the rest of the characters to come. (I did see the people with the costumes in the bags head in to get dressed and it was (at least 1) of the girls from Sakari's Camp Carnival kids club. hehe
As we waited....
Sakari with her mini Dr Seuss ears and hat (they provided this along with several different props for the kids and adults to use for the pictures...they had the blue hair, gloves, tiny hats, grinch green beard, cat in the hats hat among other things).
At 7:15pm out came the Cat in the Hat and Sam I Am...picture time was back on.
Just a few odds and ends here....
When you purchase pictures, you get a card that they punch to earn free "gifts"
For the first gift, you get a halogen Carnival luggage tag. It has the ship on it and when you move it back and forth, there's dolphins that jump out of the water and a postcard...which happens to be the crappiest picture I've ever seen.
The next gift that they advertise is a cup that you can "personalize" they say...but the catch is, THEY don't personalize it...you have to do that on your own...as in buy a picture that would fit it and put it in there.
The next item I was really excited for...A usb flash drive. So cute.
It comes with all the ships preloaded onto it...but of course they are not updated...or at least the Pride wasn't.
I have to say that the pictures on the ship are OUTRAGEOUS in prices. Any of the pictures you buy with a backdrop in it will cost you $21.99 each. For shots they do around the ship (like when eating or hanging out pool side and the photographer stops and snaps a picture) it is $14.99 and this also includes any gangway pictures.
Back to the room to wake up daddy and drop this munchkin off at the kids club for the night...well at least until pick up at 9:45pm.
We headed to the casino to donate some more money to the Carnival cause.
We played our "normal" liked games with no luck. Win some, put it back in. Then Kendra decides to go off in the corner and play something new. I sit on the slot beside her. She hits the button twice and says "I don't know what just happened but I won something".
I looked around the corner and the screen is throwing money in the air. We all know how you can win $5 on a penny machine and it will appear like you've hit the jackpot counting pennies as if they were dollars and taking forever. But it kept going and going. I'm trying to figure it out. Gosh Kendra, it looks like you just hit for like $193. No wait, $240 no wait...it says 53200. DOES THAT MEAN YOU JUST WON 53 THOUSAND AND 200 DOLLARS??? No wait, it doesn't. LOL She actually won $532.00. Hey not too shabby and I wouldn't live it down the rest of the cruise either.
Her developed Miley Cyrus face...
We picked Sakari up at 9:45pm and headed up to the buffet to see if we could find anything for a late night "snack" (or should I just call this dinner #2)?
Of course the deli and pizza were our choices and we really didn't want that.
I had read that they were having a Mexican Fiesta at the Blue Iguana that night and I sure could go for some Mexican food about now. We would wait until 10:30pm and go to that instead.
I was really looking forward to that. Then it started and all there was really were different types of chips and salsa. Well, I made a meal out of it!
See that bright read orange nacho cheese on my plate?? WELL IT'S NOT NACHO CHEESE!! It's the fire pit from hell I tell ya. OMG! Like seriously. My mouth was not only on fire, it was flaming like a dragon on a hot summer night. Oh EM GEE! I curse you orange sauce. Everything else was super delish! All the chips (homemade and all).
I had 2 plates and it hit the spot...except my spot now had a huge hole in it from the fire.
We headed back to the room and this was our towel animal for the night:
Once again, I packed for the following day at Half Moon Cay and off to bed we went.
***Tonight for some reason when we returned to our room, we had no beach towels. Our room steward had taken our wet ones after returning from GT, but didn't leave us any. This would result in a call to housekeeping and a delivery of fresh towel so that I could pack.***