Grand Turk, a part of the Turks & Caicos Islands (Lucayan Archipelago) is also part of the West Indies. The Caribbean region that encompasses numerous islands including the Bahamas is called the West Indies because when Christopher Columbus landed there in 1492 he believed that he had reached to the west of India. Although he was incorrect, the name stuck. This island was one of the captivating ports of call during our cruise on the Carnival Triumph in 2007. It boasts a state of the art 3000-foot pier which can accommodate 2 huge vessels simultaneously including Queen Mary 2.
The waters surrounding Grand Turk are emerald-hued… enticingly calling to sun-worshipers wishing to toast themselves and also beckoning to water babies who love the sea… recognized by displaying impromptu splashing.
The Grand Turk Cruise Center is a first-class facility on nearly 14 acres of landscaped grounds. It has direct beachfront access and has convenient changing rooms, showers and lockers for cruise line guests. There are covered beach chairs and chaise lounges for visitors to the beach and rentals of private cabanas for the day are available.
Those who don’t like the salt water beach have the option of the huge swimming pool that snakes its way around the huge Jimmy Buffet’s Margarita Ville bar & restaurant. The pervasive scent of sunscreen permeated the air, providing protection from the hot, tropical sun.
Typical tourist shops with Jimmy Buffett memorabilia, sea shells, t-shirts, and an array of unique apparel are interspersed with the locally crafted souvenirs. These shops ring the cruise harbor area. There is also a large duty-free shop and shops with high end jewelry. This is where I became acquainted with the jewelry designs of John Hardy which is now a favorite collection of mine.
Continuing past this area, others like us opted to amble towards the main shopping streets of Cockburn Town, just a short walk away. It was like being witness to the passage of time seeing the contemporary shops close to the shore that vied for tourist attention… slowly changing to weathered older buildings that reminded me of Lahaina on Maui.
Duke and Font
Streets are lined with historic 18th and 19th century landmarks that
reflect the Bermudan style architecture of the 17th & 18th century
salt industry era. More jewelry stores abounded with imaginative
items in every price range although some locations oozed visions of
Other attractions of Grand Turk that were offered on some excursions by local operators and also sponsored by the ship were horseback riding in the sea, a jeep safari, dune buggy tours, scuba diving, etc.
The Waterloo Golf Club is open to visitors and is located just a few hundred yards from the Cruise Ship Center on the grounds of the Office of the Governor of the Turks & Caicos Islands. It has a 9 hole, par 54 golf course and the green fees are $25 per day, no matter how many times you play. They have clubs available for hire but you can take your own.
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