In September 2017, Hurricane Irma caused extensive damage across the island. Many places closed for rebuilding. Frommer's recommends that vacationers check in advance with all businesses before traveling.
Grand Turk's inaugural season as a Caribbean cruise-ship destination saw some 136 cruise ship calls and 300,000 passengers arrive on the island -- and those numbers nearly doubled in 2009. The 5.7-hectare (14-acre) cruise-ship terminal is a fair distance away from the heart of Cockburn Town. The terminal was designed by the folks at Carnival Cruise Lines to resemble a colorful Bermudian-style village out of the early 19th century, much like Cockburn Town might have looked in the early 1800s. The center is planted smack-dab on Governor's Beach, with a 172m-long (565-ft.) main pier; hundreds of deck chairs along the beach; a huge Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville (with lagoonlike pool and private poolside cabanas); and the Grand Turk FlowRider -- a fast-moving artificial-wave pool. The terminal's main building is distinguished by four prominent vintage-style chimneys and shops designed to resemble the quaint wooden salt houses of the salt era -- many of which are locally owned and sell island crafts and gifts. It all lies mute and still until the arrival of a 2,000-passenger ship, which shows up on the empty horizon just as the sun comes up -- a watery behemoth that gets eye-poppingly bigger as it approaches this tiny island. A miniature train takes arriving cruise passengers to Governor's Beach, or they can choose one of the myriad activities created for them: seeing Cockburn Town by beach buggy, horse-drawn carriage, moped, or shuttle taxi. Or they can participate in one of many shore excursions (scuba diving, snorkeling, horseback riding) available through local tour operators and purchased through the cruise line. Independent-minded travelers who prefer to explore the island on their own can rent a car at the Cruise Center's car-rental office or hire one of the local taxi drivers to give them a tour. Note: The cruise center is open only on days when ships come in (now averaging 4-5 days a week).