White sandy beaches. Crystal clear waters. Half Moon Cay has it all. The island, aka Little San Salvador Island, is just one out of the roughly 700 islands of the Bahamas Archipelago.
Being the private island of Holland America Line, Half Moon Cay offers both: Guided entertainment with sanitary convenience in a family oriented amusement park environment as well as endless beach romance for those seeking a little tranquility.
As the island has no deep water docking, all ships anchor offshore, making tender service required for getting off and on the ship again. Quite many cruise lines deal with tender service by distributing tender tickets at fiendish times early in the morning. On Koningsdam we simply had to stand in line. And since larger, island owned boats were used, the whole process went swiftly.
Upon arrival, Half Moon Cay seems just like any other cruise line owned island. A welcome center with souvenir shops, artificially set up infrastructure, bars and food places and lots of overcrowded beach sections.
As always, we had packed our beach towels, water for each of us, snorkeling gear, sun screen, a hat, shoes we could use in the water and a portable loudspeaker, just in case it was getting too boring. But again, it was no option to lay anywhere close to the crowds, so the proper footwear came quite handy to bridge the distance to where the beach was less jammed.
As the beach is laid out like a crescent moon, all you need to do is walk approximately 15 minutes along the shore until you will find your private paradise.
One thing I simply love about the Bahamas is their turquoise and crystal clear waters. The underwater world might not be as impressive as in other parts of the Caribbean, but the colors are absolutely mind calming.
The more you move off the beaten paths of the island, the more private will your Bahamas experience be. You may not have a sun lounger to lie on, but if you are fine with feeling the perfectly shaped coral sand between your fingers, then this is the way to do it. As there are from time to time a few loungers hidden in the shadows of the adjoining trees and bushes, getting off the ship earlier than 10 am might help in capturing one.
I did not mind at all. There was nothing to make me happier in this moment than feeling the warm sand underneath my body while having my eyes closed and listening to the surf of the shallow waters around me. It was like heaven on earth!
At noon, there was a barbecue served inside the Dining Pavilion which was announced by Holland America staff walking around and ringing a bell. It must have been very good, as we were told back on the ship later on, but for our taste it was simply too hot to eat and we were enjoying our little piece of paradise too much to exchange this with standing in line.
Just a little time later, I was lucky to find two empty sun loungers underneath a nearby tree. Be careful walking around barefoot underneath the bushes and on the grown areas though! When I was trying to climb up the inclining landside to take some panorama pictures, I stepped into quite some sharp burs growing partly underneath the sand which was a very hurtful and unpleasant experience.
Always leave when it is best. That is a German saying that will make you keep the most splendid memories possible and encourages you to come back again. And we sure will. For that romance and beauty that made our stay on Half Moon Cay a most relaxing one. When all you have to worry about is that your skin becomes wrinkled from the endless hours in the Caribbean Sea and your hair gets this sexy bleached out by the sun “Beach look”.