It was, without question, the most gorgeous beach I’ve ever visited and exactly how I imagined the Caribbean to look.
Sand the colour of light vanilla that sinks between your feet, palm trees lining the shore, and the sea so clear in parts you can see tiny tropical fish swimming beneath the surface and the curves of seabed below.
In the Cayman Islands, 180 miles west of Jamaica and 150 miles south of Cuba, we found a little piece of heaven. It’s the most beautiful stretch of sea I’ve ever swam in. Warm, clean, as close to perfection as you can get.
IJ, too, was in her element, catching fish with the little red bucket we bought from a nearby shop for just a few dollars. The beach felt safe and there was the added reassurance of lifeguards keeping a close eye.
Our cruise took us into the port of Grand Cayman, where we’d chosen to spend the day on Tiki Beach, part of Seven Mile Beach on the western shore of the island. It’s regularly classed as one of the world’s best beaches.
While many of our fellow travellers opted to go scuba diving, snorkelling and turtling during their time in Grand Cayman, we decided we wanted to do nothing better than fulfil the ambition of relaxing on a Caribbean beach and swimming in the sea.
So we did exactly that and nearly missed our coach back to the shore in the process because we were enjoying the experience so much, and also because IJ was reluctant to leave the water.
The clouds in the image below gradually crept across the sky during our time on the beach and just as we were leaving, we got caught up in a tropical storm. Our trip in late October was just at the end of the rainy season but we were mostly very lucky with the weather.
Back at Carnival Freedom the staff welcomed us back on board with warm towels so we could dry off. It felt a little bit like coming home.
Then it was off again to Mexico and the port of Cozumel. But first there was a dance show in the onboard theatre and a three-course meal in the Chic restaurant. The rest of the night would be spent playing in the arcade, because travelling with an eleven-year-old sometimes requires a little bit of compromise.
We travelled to the Cayman Islands with Carnival Cruises for Cruise International Magazine on a six-night Caribbean cruise sailing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida and calling at Jamaica, Cayman Islands and Mexico.