In the early days of cruising, many mainstream cruise lines invested in their own private islands in the Bahamas. It was the perfect way to offer a gorgeous island retreat, completely quality-controlled by the line for the best possible guest experience. While the facilities on these oases used to be fairly simple—beach chairs and umbrellas, a snack shop, and a few showers—cruise lines like Holland America Line are now upping the ante.
HAL began bringing ships to its private island, Half Moon Cay, 15 years ago. Spread over 65 acres, the complex is actually located on Little San Salvador Island in the Bahamas, which is designated as an international wild bird preserve by the Bahamian National Trust. This year, Holland America has made disembarking at Half Moon Cay a whole new experience thanks to a few fun new features.
The main draw at Half Moon Cay is the gorgeous crescent beach that stretches for two miles. For travelers who want to be right on the beach but prefer shade and privacy, HAL is unveiling five new two-story beach villas that include a relaxing hot tub on the second floor.
In addition to the new Beach Villas, HAL also refreshed its beachside cabanas, which provide guests with a refrigerator, ceiling fan and air conditioning, indoor seating, deck chairs, and a misting shower on the private terrace. Cabana guests get priority tender access and are pampered throughout the day with trays of fresh fruit, veggies and dip, chips and salsa as well as bottled water and soda. Snorkel gear and floating mats are also part of the package for up to four people. Large parties up to 25 can book the 1,620-square-foot Grand Cabana with its eight-person hot tub, wet bar, BBQ, and massage area. Located partially over the water, there’s even a slide from the cabana deck that dumps you right into the ocean. The Grand Cabana package includes a butler, personal chef, and lifeguard, and its BBQ lunch buffet features hamburgers, hot dogs, teriyaki-glazed mahi mahi, pork spare ribs, chicken, assorted salads as well as brownies and cookies.
Glass-Bottom Boat Tour
For those who want a bit more action, consider the new tour aboard a 290-passenger glass-bottom boat. You’ll view the island’s coral reefs and myriad sea life and feel like a true oceanographer.
Additional Horses for Riding Tour
Traditionally, HAL’s Horseback Riding by Land and Sea tour has been one of the most popular, so the cruise line recently added to its stable of horses. Six new steeds now take part on this tour that offers a ride along winding trails to the highest point on the island. This is the place to take sweeping, panoramic photographs of the gorgeous vista.
Updated Bahamian Church
Finally, the cruise line has updated Half Moon Cay’s Bahamian Church, a popular venue for destination weddings. The chapel is located in a peaceful garden setting overlooking the sea. You may book your wedding ceremony or vow renewal here through the cruise line.
The updates are sure to enhance guest experiences. Half Moon Cay is a beautiful island that fits right in on Holland America’s Caribbean cruise itineraries.
Photo credit: Photos courtesy of Holland America Line