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SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN CRUISE: Part 1, Grand Turk

SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN CRUISE:

Part 1, Grand Turk

By Pam Asberry

I love everything about cruising, from the first glimpse of the flipper on top of a Carnival cruise ship

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to the fruity, frosty welcome-aboard cocktail

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to having an excuse to unplug from the cell phone and electronic media for a few days.

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My 17yo, aka RockStar, saying his last-minute goodbyes.

Our last cruise adventure started at Port Lauderdale, Florida and took us to four islands in the southern Caribbean. Our first stop? Grand Turk.

I like to start early port days with breakfast in the room. Grand Turk was no exception. My favorite: bagels, cream cheese and lox.

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Once off the ship, we hopped on an air-conditioned bus for our ship-sponsored shore excursion, The Grand Turk Experience. 

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Driving north through Cockburn Town, we passed by the old U.S. Air Force facility and a roadside monument to John Glenn’s Friendship 7 mission (Glenn splashed down a short distance off shore and came to the island to be debriefed on his 1962 mission) as well as the lovely Saint Thomas Anglican Church. The oldest church on Grand Turk, it was built in 1823 by Bermudan settlers.

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Continuing on into the town of Salina, or “salt pit,”  Our first stop was the Salt House Museum, built in 2007 to provide visitors to Grand Turk with an understanding of the importance of salt mining in Grand Turk’s history. Built in the style of a typical salt shed, the museum contains a wealth of information on the history of salt mining in the area. The museum also features a cafe and gift shop that sells salt-based products and other souvenirs.

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“White Gold”

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Salt House Museum, Grand Turk

Continuing up the length of the island, we reached Grand Turk’s iconic Lighthouse. Constructed in England, shipped in pieces to the island, and erected by British architect Alexander Gordon in 1852, it was was built to alert sailors of the nearby shallow reef. Since modernized, it still protects the capital island of the Turks and Caicos and is a prized historic site protected by the National Trust.

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Lighthouse, Grand Turk

Visitors are not allowed into the lighthouse, but from the adjacent park grounds, we took in some some spectacular views of the Atlantic from the cliff’s top pathways

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and made acquaintance with a few of the tame donkeys that live on the grounds.

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RockStar kept a safe distance.

Next on the itinerary was the Bohio Diving Resort situated on Pillory Beach, highly recommended for its powdery sand and smaller waves and less crowded than nearby Governors Beach. The beach chairs set us back $10 apiece and a local brew cost $7, but the luxury was worth the price.

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When our time at the beach was up, the bus returned us to the port, where Rock Star and I made one last stop: Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, located on the Carnival Cruise Center.

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“Wastin’ away again…”

We treated ourselves to a local snack

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Conch Fritters

and amused ourselves watching the antics of all the revelers on the beach.

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The promise of a gourmet meal in the dining room and an evening of entertainment took some of the sting out of saying good-bye to Grand Turk – not to mention the knowledge that we would be spending the next two days on other beautiful tropical island. Come back next Friday to and visit La Romana and Curacao with us!

Mary Preston - March 14, 2014 - 3:35 am

I’m sea sick just looking at the boat. Sounds like you are enjoying yourself though.

Carol Burnside - March 14, 2014 - 3:59 am

Augh! I love cruises and beaches and sun and… after looking at these pictures, I’m officially needing Spring to hurry up and get here because Summer follows Spring. :-)

Marilyn Baron - March 14, 2014 - 4:12 am

What a great post. I feel like I was there. I’ve been on a number of Caribbean cruises but never been to Turks & Caicos. Now I want to go. I loved learning about the history of the island.

Pam Asberry - March 14, 2014 - 9:05 am

I’ve spent a few rough days at sea, Mary, but this trip was smooth sailing all the way! :-)

Pam Asberry - March 14, 2014 - 9:06 am

Amen, Carol. AMEN!!!

Pam Asberry - March 14, 2014 - 9:07 am

You would love Turks & Caicos, Marilyn. I want to go to Barbados next!

Connie Gillam - March 14, 2014 - 9:53 am

I’ve heard great things about Turks& Caicos. I want to go, but it will have to be by plane. I don’t do the cruise thing. Too much water.

Pam Asberry - March 14, 2014 - 10:13 am

I love the sea days as much as the port days, Connie–because there’s nothing I have to do and nowhere I have to be!

Susan Carlisle - March 14, 2014 - 10:36 am

What fun and with your son-even better.

Sandra Elzie - March 14, 2014 - 10:44 am

Loved the pictures…you obviously had a wonderful time.

We’re going on a 14-day cruise later this year…and 7 of the days are at sea…yeah! I love days at sea to soak up the sun and enjoy those little umbrella drinks. Oh, and the ice cream cone machine. Oh yeah, I can’t wait. :)

Pam Asberry - March 14, 2014 - 10:58 am

Susan. RockStar is a great travel companion! I hope to take him on at least one more cruise, maybe as a high school graduation present!

Pam Asberry - March 14, 2014 - 10:59 am

That sounds great, Sandy! Where are you headed?

Maxine - March 14, 2014 - 2:12 pm

Pam, Sounds like a dream vacation. Haven’t been on a “warm, sunny” cruise in a while. I think I am past due. I loved the pictures and the descriptions. Sounds like a great cruise. Thanks for the info.

Pam Asberry - March 14, 2014 - 3:39 pm

I think we should plan a PFHT cruise, Maxine! Who else is with me?

Sia Huff - March 21, 2014 - 2:42 pm

Turks & Caicos look beautiful. Oh no, more to add the travel list.
Did you know a Florida Romance Writers group (on the east coast) has their conference on a cruise. I’ve always wanted to go. But then I’d have to choose between classes and soaking up the local atmosphere for ideas for new books. What a quandary!

Pam Asberry - March 25, 2014 - 10:07 am

Let’s do it, Sia! I’m sure we could find a reasonable compromise… ;-)

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