Grand Turk Cruise Port Guide: Tips and Overview


TheJellyBeans.net Grand Turk is a little island with a lot to offer. In addition to some of the best diving in
the world, there is also the Grand Turk Cruise Center area for those who prefer spending
the day shopping, swimming at a pool, or sunbathing on a white sandy beach. The cruise terminal — which caters to Carnival
Corporation cruise lines like Carnival, Princess, Holland America, and P&O — has a pier that
can accommodate two ships at the same time. No tender is required. The beach, shopping, restaurants, and a pool
are just steps away. Be sure to remember that Clam Shells, Beach
Chairs, and Sun Umbrellas inside the Grand Turk Cruise Center are complimentary
for cruise passenger use. Even the ones closest to the water! Signs are posted, but there will still be
plenty of locals trying to scam money from unsuspecting tourists. We simply tell them, “No, thanks. Everything is free,” and they leave us alone,
realizing we know about their scam. When exiting the ship, most passengers tend
to head towards the white sandy beaches on the left side — or north side — of the Grand
Turk pier and there is good reason. There are plenty of chairs, clam shells, and
umbrellas available; the beach and water are beautiful; you get to swim close to the ships;
and the snorkeling is great because Carnival has submerged cannons, anchors and other items
in that area to attract fish. Also on the left side of the Grand Turk pier
is Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant area which has a complimentary pool
with complimentary lounge chairs. A Flowrider surfing attraction is available
near the pool and cost around $30 an hour on our last visit. Riders must be at least 52 inches. The Flowrider attraction may be purchased
as a shore excursion through the cruise line. Additionally, a limited number
are sometimes available at the Flowrider shop near
the swimming pool. Although there are many things to enjoy on
the left side of the pier, we usually go to the right side — or south side — of the Grand
Turk pier, which also has a lot to offer and tends to be not as popular. We love this location because we have a better
chance of finding a clam shell, even if we’re not the first people off the ship. Even though the area is more rocky than the
beach area to the north, we’ve had great luck spotting many fish and sea urchins
while snorkeling in this area. There is also a restaurant
and bathrooms close by. If you’re planning to spend your day at
Grand Turk by the water — or in it — remember to bring a beach towel from the ship and
return it to the ship at the end of the day. Towels are not provided on the island. We also recommend you bring your own snorkeling
equipment and buckets for building sand castles. In the center of the cruise terminal itself
you’ll find several shops to explore. Like other ports, many offer
freebies and raffles. Details are available in the port shopping
guides that are handed out on the ship. Outside of the Cruise Terminal boundaries
there are several excursion options as well as two areas that can be explored by foot. The most popular area is north of the Cruise
Center, along the beach. There are a couple of bars in that direction
that are very popular with tourists and crew, the most popular of which seems to be Jack’s
Shack Beach Bar and Grill. The bar is about a ten-minute walk from the
exit of the Cruise Center and you can visit their website to get a free shot of rum. If you head south – past the warning signs
that you’re about the leave the cruise terminal area – you’ll come to what some call the
Conch Shell graveyard, which is popular with beachcombers. Though some cruisers are successful bringing
conch shells back on the ship to take home, most are often confiscated at the ship’s
security checkpoint when you return from port. Finally, a great resource for learning more
about the island and the cruise terminal is the Grand Turk Cruise Center website – which
includes Maps of the island, a listing of taxi fares to explore the island, excursion
descriptions, and a calendar showing the ships scheduled to be in port on a specific day.