One of my favourite experiences from my Caribbean cruise was swimming with stingrays in Grand Cayman. I’ve got to say, I was a little bit nervous when I booked it but I’m so glad I did it.
I booked this as an independent excursion and did a lot of research in preparation for our trip. There are several companies, which offer the chance to get up close to stingrays but after careful consideration I opted to book the Stingray City and Coral Garden Tour with Stingray City Grand Cayman. This allowed us to visit the sand bar to meet the stingrays and snorkel at the Coral Garden nearby. The tour included transfers to and from the cruise port and soft drinks.
We booked this independently but ended up joining a group of mostly Spanish and Italian passengers from an MSC cruise that was also in port that day. It didn’t bother us, as with most of the tours we booked independently, we seemed to be with other cruise passengers (but we almost always paid less as we booked it directly with the company).
The short minibus journey took us to a little boat, which then transported us on a 20 minute ride to the sandbar. This is a natural sandbar in the middle of the sea, where the stingrays swim freely. Many boats congregate in a circle on this sandbar in the shallow water, which came up to my hips/waist level. The skipper handed out snorkels and we were able to hop of the boat and into the water where we saw stingrays immediately.
Here’s a video I created of our time with the stingrays.
Everyone on our tour had the chance to hold a stingray (which was surprisingly soft and smooth to touch) and feed the stingrays with squid. The stingrays suck the food out of your hand so be careful they don’t suck a finger up with the squid. The tour guide told us how to hold the squid correctly to ensure that this didn’t happen.
I would recommend that if you have an underwater or waterproof camera, you take it along with you to capture the stingrays as they ‘fly’ under the water. I would also highly recommend doing this type of excursion if you have the chance. It’s an experience you’ll never forget!