My wife Liz and I hopped aboard the The Caribbean Princess for a nine day Caribbean Cruise out of Brooklyn along with my Mother and her fiancee Hal. The Cruise Ports includes stops at: Bermuda, San Juan, St. Thomas and Grand Turk. I was a nice nine day cruise with beautiful weather except for San Juan and a great ship.
Princess likes to give the big ship feeling without it being overwhelming which is hard to do when the ship can accomodate 3,070 passengers. Princess managed to give us a relaxing cruise where we didn't feel rushed. The ship was very nice with 4 pools, several restaurants, a spa, various lounges and clubs, shopping and more. The Piazza area was their version of a centrum through the middle of the ship with retail , dining rooms, clubs and bars surrounding the area. The staff aboard were very nice and attentive. I enjoyed that this line attracts an "older crowd", less children and less of the party puking variety twenty somethings that other cruise lines tend to cater to.
We chose this cruise in particular due to the time of year and my Mother's work schedule. Since we have Elite status on this cruise line we enjoyed priority boarding and access to special lounges, free laundry services, free internet, discount coupons, free wine tastings, special captain's events and a 10% discount on shop purchases aboard the ship.
The shows and entertainment were great fun and we enjoyed the Movies Under the Stars. The food in the dining room is not as good as Royal Caribbean in our opinion but there were several nights that "Wowed" me. We did like that there were plenty of quick food options such as burgers, hot dogs, pizzas, sandwiches and pastries that were not from the buffet. The drink selection and prices were very good and we enjoyed the variety of themed lounges as well as pool bars.
This was a great cruise and we were very happy to sail Princess. We look forward to our next cruise with them which we have already booked while onboard.
The Emerald Princess was a great cruise ship to sail. We enjoy cruising; it is a relaxing way to travel from island to island. Go to sleep at sea and wake up in a new port....no worries. Our last port of call on the Emerald Princess was Grand Turk; which is one of our favorite islands.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
arriving by cruise ship
Nowadays the most common way people reach Grand Turk is by cruise ship. Those ships mostly belong to Carnival Corp - which means Princess, Carnival and Holland America. The reason is simple: the company has invested a lot of money to design and build a fancy cruise terminal with retail shops, restaurants and bars, a swimming-pool and a recreation area. More money was invested after hurricane Ike badly damaged the terminal badly on 6 October 2008.
The place where ships dock it's at the southern tip of the island, but because grand Turk is only about 7 miles long, it really doesn't take too long to reach Cockburn town. A good idea is to take a taxi into town and then walk all the way back to the ship - along the beach until Goverenor's beach, and then it's 20 minutes more along the road.
black diamond taxis
There's no public bus on Grand Turk, though if you are on a carnival Cruise, they will operate teir own buses - about 6 dollra per person for a circular route and a few stops here and there. Buses run every 15-20 minutes and you can hop on ad off as you wish. It may be convenient moneywise but you won't leave any money to the island - so my recommendation is to avoid it.
You can get anywhere you like by taxi.. large black taxis (Black Diamond Taxi) with flat rates which will take you into Cockburn town for about 6 dollars per person, from outside the cruise terminal. Drivers are very nice and will tell you a lot of interesting facts about the island... it's only a 10-15 minutes drive into town, so expect themn to speak very fast.
getting in by plane
Getting by plane to Grand Turk is not exactly easy. While there's an airport - JAGS McCartney International Airport - there are no longer international flights operating to the island. It's located 1 mile south of Cockburn Town and it's named after James Alexander George Smith (JAGS in short) McCartney, the island territory's first Chief Minister.
The last one was by Spirit Airlines in July 2008. Since then, if you want to fly to the island, you need to fly to Provinciales (Turks and Caicos) and from there take an inland flight operated by Air Turks & Caicos. There are several a day and the duration is 25 minutes. Check http://www.skyking.tc/ for more details.
Taxi, Ship, or Airplane
The original mode of transportation on the island - the horse - has resulted in semi-wild horses and donkeys who roam freely about the island. The horses are reported to be descendents of the original Spanish Conquistador horses. And of course people would have gotten here by ship.
For quicker transportation to the island, there is an international airport (photo 2 and 5) but mostly planes go to Providenciales. A domestic flight from there to Grand Turk will probably be about $150 per round-trip.
Spirit Airlines - Offers direct service between Ft. Lauderdale and Grand Turk.
American Airlines - Three trips daily between Miami, Florida and Providenciales (Provo) in the Turks & Caicos Islands.
Turks and Caicos Airlines - Meets ALL incoming Provo flights to take passengers to Grand Turk. Other local airlines also offers flights between Provo and Grand Turk.
Local Transportation: We went to the taxi rank (photo 3) but it would have been $8.00 to go out to the lighthouse. There were also dune buggy or 4x4 safari vehicles available for tourists who come by cruise ship (photo 4).
Taxis are readily available but may be expensive. Cars, scooters and bicycles can be rented as well. Anyone with a valid driver's license from their home country may drive on Grand Turk. Driving is on the left-hand side of the road.
- Road Trip
Explorer of the Seas
We were travelling on the cruise ship Explorer of the Seas. Grand Turk was added to our itinerary last minute much to our delight. It was the first time the cruise company had visited this port. The ship docked at port and we walked onto the beautiful island....very easy.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
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