On our second visit to Grand Cayman we decided we would take advantage of the opportunity to swim with the sting rays. Cruise ships offer this as a rather expensive shore excursion, on a boat jam packed with cruisers.
From experience we knew we could probably do better on our own. We went online and found a local tour guide to take us for the same trip, for about half the price, and with a much smaller group of people. Also, she threw in a couple of extra features which were not on the cruise ship's excursion.
Pictured is the young lady who met us at the dock. Our ride was a van with a handful of other passengers. The van took us to a boat piloted by two very knowledgeable young men who provided us with a most excellent adventure.
Even for those who do not book their shore excursions in advance, at George Town you will find many local guides waiting for the ship and offering their services at reasonable prices. We've used such local guides many times at different ports and have been very satisfied with the services they have provided.
Karen and I have visited Georgetown, Grand Cayman twice by cruise ship. Once we were on the Empress of the Seas, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and the next time we were aboard the Zenith, Celebrity Cruise Lines.
Cruise Ships, though somewhat luxurious, just happen to be the least expensive way most travelers can visit many ports in the Caribbean and around the world. Transportation, lodging and meals are all included, and a cruise will have several different ports of call within a single voyage. To Fly individually to the same destinations, pay for transfers, room and meals would cost several times more than the cruise.
I have seen a few folks here on VT be critical of travel by cruise ship - too crowded and too touristy. They have a point, but they overlook what is a major fact of life for most of us. Cost.
We choose a cruise not for the amenities of the ship, but for the ports at which it will land. Once in port, most of the crowd can be left behind for a few hours by a creative traveler who goes his own way. Actually, the time spent on the ship can be lots of fun too. Even with a couple of thousand people on board we have seldom had a problem in finding private nooks where it seemed that no one else was around but us and the deep blue sea. If you're more gregarious, you can make friends on board too.
If you haven't tried cruise travel, give it a whirl. You may be pleasantly surprised. If you still hate it, then sail your own yacht next time.