Distance: Gustavia, St. Barts to Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands: 536 Nautical Miles
Port Information. The Turks (smaller) and Caicos (larger) Islands are a British Overseas territory consisting of 40 coral islands south of the Bahamas. The combined population of the archipelago is about 31,000 with about 24,000 living on the Caicos Island of Providenciales (home to the top beach destination in the world (Trip Advisor) and International Airport). The official language is English and the currency is the US Dollar.
The islands played a major role in the US Space Program. John Glenn’s Friendship 7 Mercury space capsule splashed down off Grand Turk on February 20, 1962. Glenn was brought to the U.S. Air Force base on the island for debriefing and medical evaluation. A few months later, astronaut Scott Carpenter – the second American in orbit – also splashed down off Grand Turk.
A beautiful day in Paradise…
The ship is docked at the Grand Turk Cruise Center, located on the southern tip of Grand Turk Island. It is a very short walk to the beach area and shops – it looks like the ship is docked right on the beach.
After breakfast, we walked to the Cruise Center and the beach.
Crystal Serenity from the Pier Walkway
On the walk to the beach, we peaked into the water and noted a lot of rays swimming around. After a while, a beach cop told us to stand behind the yellow line so that was it for marine wildlife viewing. Because, we were the only ship there that day (and the Serenity is not a mega ship), there were plenty of chairs available and we were pleasantly surprised to find that the lounge chairs were free. We found some with umbrellas so we were set. The island internet signal was strong so I could check emails and some news. I listened to tunes for hours – we went back to ship for lunch and then back out to the beach.
Grand Turk Panorama
Central Beach Area (next to Cruise Center)
Shoe-Cam View of the Beach and Serenity
Panoramic Shot of beach and Serenity
What a Way to Spend the Day
We took a little break from beach lounging to walk through the Cruise Center and check out the shops. There are also a number of monuments dedicated to the Mercury Astronaut Program in the Cruise Center due to the connection to the recovery of both John Glenn and Scott Carpenter in the island’s waters. I don’t know if the capsule is to scale but that’s a tight fit. If that were me in space, I would need a capsule with a facility.
That’s either Glenn or Carpenter in the suit.
Since it was time to get back for dinner, we ended our wonderful day at the beach.
We watched the sail away from our balcony.
The day was capped off with a beautiful sunset.
We had dinner in the Crystal Dining Room. I had two Kosher knockwursts, which were divinely delicious; Ellen had three lamb chops (also really good). The meal was started with absolutely terrific black bean soup. A perfect dinner.
The headliner tonight was comedian John Joseph. We saw him five years ago on QM2 – he was a little older but just as funny.
Lattes and Tea capped off an totally wonderful day – I think it was the best day of the cruise so far.