Located about 100 miles from Nassau, and about 18 miles from Eleuthera.
I wasn’t much impressed by the fact that most Caribbean cruise lines have their own private island until I experienced one first-hand on my Holland American Line mini cruise aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam.
|Half Moon Cay, Bahamas, in the foreground, Holland America Line's |
Nieuw Amsterdam ship in the background
On the December day my ship went to Half Moon Cay--the island HAL shares with its Carnival sister ships--Black Santa was on board the spacious tender that delivered us to the island. He got lots of attention and provided quite a contrast with the brilliant turquoise Caribbean waters but still found a few minutes to check his e-mail. The ship anchored scenically off shore while the tenders continued transporting guests to and fro all day.
|Black Santa on Holland America Line's Nieuw Amsterdam ship tender|
|Half Moon Cay beach in Bahamas|
|Half Moon Cay in Bahamas|
Activities available here at additional cost include a glass-bottom boat ride, several bike tours, and horseback riding in the ocean. Rentals are available for every kind of water sports equipment, including sailboats, catamarans, paddle boards, water bikes, kayaks, snorkeling gear, and wave runners. It is even possible to rent a private villa with beach boy butler service. Private clamshells can be rented, too, but plenty of free lounge chairs line the beach making it easy to just sit back and relax and do some wading in the warm, clear, gorgeous water.
|water activities on Half Moon Cay in Bahamas, |
Holland America Line's Niew Amsterdam in background
On board beverage packages don’t apply here, which probably helps keep some people from drinking excessively. But there is nothing quite like a frozen pina colada or a nice cold beer to put a chill on the heat, and Captain Morgan’s Bar inside a faux shipwreck is just the place to go for that. Back in from the beach, a complimentary barbecue buffet lunch includes burgers, potato salad, desserts, and non-alcoholic beverages. However, many passengers opt to pay an additional fee and head to the ocean-front, open-air Lobster Shack for delicious fresh grilled lobster with Caribbean beans n' rice.
|Carole Terwilliger Meyers sips a pina colada on Half Moon Cay, Bahamas|
|Captain Morgan's Bar on Half Moon Cay, Bahamas|
|lobster plates at Lobster Shack on Half Moon Cay, Bahamas|
Passengers return to the beckoning ship whenever they are ready, which, if the ship didn't have such wonderful amenities, might be never.
images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers