Have you ever wanted to walk on water? Holland America Line can’t quite make that dream come true, but with a stand-up paddleboard “SUP” shore excursion you can get pretty close! Though paddleboarding, in one form or another, has been around since the late 1700s, it’s recently gained popularity among athletes, hobbyists and those who are just looking to explore their surroundings in a uniquely special way. You can try stand-up paddleboarding on your next Holland America Line Caribbean cruise that calls at Key West, Fla.; Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos; and Half Moon Cay.
In Key West, the Paddleboard Adventure tour takes guests to the other side of the island along the beautiful Atlantic, with the sightseeing along the way. At the marina the guide will give a full SUP lesson before leaving the dock, and paddlers of all levels will enjoy this tour.
Sue Cooper, owner of tour operator Lazy Dog, says guests will pick up the technique faster than they may expect.
“I think people are starting to realize that paddleboarding is much easier than they think. Anyone can do it as long as your instructors provide you the right equipment for your body and skill level. We have all shapes and sizes of boards and we make sure our customers are matched properly with the board for their skill level.” — Sue Cooper
Once you’re ready, you’ll hop on your SUP and paddle through the calm, protected waters of the Florida Keys, which make it an ideal location for trying out this fun activity. When participants look down while out exploring, they will be able to see the grassy beds of this beautiful mangrove habitat. There will be chances to stop and rest along the way as the guide points out wildlife and talks about the ecosystem. Watch for colorful fish, rays, conchs, sponges and the occasional manatee or dolphin.
“The water around the Keys is flat, calm and clear, which provides a great playground for paddle boarding whether your a beginner or experienced paddler.” — Sue Cooper
The waters of Grand Turk are some of the clearest and bluest in the world, making the ideal setting for the Stand-Up Paddleboarding, Snorkel & Beach tour. In fact, the stand-up paddleboards might be the best way to enjoy the turquoise waters and coastline of Grand Turk, mixing fun, fitness and relaxation.
Participants of all levels begin at a beautiful white-sand beach on the Grand Turk coast. Here, the guides will provide safety and snorkel gear. Guests also receive instructions on how to control the board. During the excursion guests learn about proper stand-up paddleboard stance and paddle usage, and how to maneuver the board. Once technique is perfected, guests will paddle and glide along the coast for a unique point of view of the spectacular scenery of Grand Turk. Guides will talk about the nature along the way and give you the rich history of the island’s coastal buildings. During the trip participants will also have a beach break that allows for the opportunity to snorkel and spot the beautiful wildlife that calls this island home.
Half Moon Cay
With the rise in popularity of stand-up paddleboarding, Holland America Line has brought the activity to Half Moon Cay, the line’s private island oasis in the Bahamas. In anticipation of the upcoming Caribbean season, new SUP are ready for guests to rent on the beach.
For guests who want to take advantage of the beautiful beaches and try out another watersport activity, there are plenty of rentals available on Half Moon Cay beyond paddleboards. Guests can rent kayaks, snorkel gear and aqua bikes with huge wheels to ride on water. Guest even can rent a helmet camera to record a bike adventure!
If you’re taking a Caribbean cruise that visits these ports, the shore excursions can be pre-booked so you get the tour of your choice.
Are you looking forward to trying paddleboarding? Tell us what you think about the new tours below!