Depends on the weather---
most of the time it's pretty easy--
but I did stay on the ship once -- only because the swells were so bad that it was taking forever to load the tenders - most of the shore excursions were cancelled----looking at another ship across the way---made it a no brainer to stay on board-------
cheers--I do enjoy Grand Cayman-- looking forward to going there again on the Conquest----Margaritaville here I come---the stingrays are a must IMHO--and the rum cakes aren't so bad either
I've just returned from Carnival Freedom's western cruise. We were tendered over from ship to shore at Cayman but the process took only a few minutes. There are many tenders available so it's not as if you have to wait a while for one to show up.
Not sure your itenerary but Grand Cayman was my least fave port on our six day cruise. If you're not into snorkling or diving it offers little other than the few shops near the dock.
I was on the Valor in January and there were four other ships in port with us. We were unload3ed at Royal Waler terminal vs North.South landing, which threw me off. It is nice at Watler as there is shopping in the same compound and it is not that far, the parking lot ends right where the Tortuga store is, and that is right beside the North landing!
The tenders take forever to load and unload, that is where time is wasted.
If you are on an early tour you'll be off early. Howeever, do plan on a good 30 minutes to get on a tender and get off.
2007 Victory & Triumph
2008 Conquest & Liberty
2009 Valor, Freedom, and Splendor
2010 Glory and Liberty
DW and I have been to the Caymans several times. I always enyoy it. Try the turtle farm excursion and the butterfly farms also. I know, it doesen't sound like fun but I was surprised it was. While you are there in Grand Cayman don't forget to visit the post office in Hell and get a post card. The last time we were there I sent some friends back in the states a "postcard from Hell". I love the Cayman Islands. Enjoy.
I agree with cutiecat you have to try a rum cake. I've been to Cayman several times and will be there again in Jan. 2010. We are planing on doing StingRay city (for the 3rd time), Hell and a stop at Tortuga for cakes. I really do like the Caymans myself but some folks don't like what I do so each to their own.
Tendering has been easy for us on all of our stops there in the past. Although on one cruise we missed Cayman completely due to very rough waters. They could not run the tenders that day so we just had an extra day at sea. You just have to be prepared as mother nature has her own plan.
We found the process easy each time we went. I need bilateral knee replacements and had a very easy time getting off and on the ship. Each time we went the weather and water were perfect though so I can't answer if it was rough how it would be?
The stingrays were a must see and do... even if you are not really a swimmer the water is so shallow and beautiful not to mention you get to play with the stingrays in their territory on their terms.. it was GREAT!