Travel blogger Leanne recently sailed on board Nieuw Amsterdam to the Caribbean and wrote about her experience as a cruise newbie on her blog Travel with Leanne. Here’s her second entry. Enjoy!
Piña Coladas at 10 a.m.? Yes, I’m guilty. In a commemorative super-sized sippy thermos no less. Welcome to Half Moon Cay (pronounced ‘key’). Our first stop on our Holland America western Caribbean tour. Located in the Bahamas, this island belongs exclusively to HAL and only welcomes its on-board guests. If sun, sand, seclusion and serene are your thing then this is where you want to be. Boasting more facilities, services and activities than any other cruise line’s private island this mini piece of paradise welcomes you with two solid miles of powdered sand beaches and a day filled with relaxation and warmth.
Our morning here began with our drinks underneath the bar hut as we enjoyed the warm breeze and watched the other passengers file in. The crew who runs the ship also runs the shops here that are located at the entry point of the island. Amazing prices; I picked up a beautiful fuschia and white shell bracelet for $2, and all day long the shops offered draws and giveaways. The majority of our amazing day was spent under a clam shell on the beach. Clam shells are like semi-circular shade huts that lay close to the ground. These must be reserved though and they go fast, so if you’re planning on visiting be sure to snatch one up.
The beach itself is gorgeous with creamy white sand and ample swimming and water activities. Nothing beats lying on the beach with a drink in your hand, watching the parasailers on a sunny day with a panoramic view of the majestic Nieuw Amsterdam in the background. Wow.
Lunch was also provided by the HAL staff and was filled with much more than any one person could possibly eat in one sitting, including an abundant array of salads, barbecued meat and fish, corn on the cob, and plenty of desserts including ice cream and brownies.
Behind the beach nestled amongst the colorful vegetation you’ll find the pirates bar. Newly built and modeled to resemble a pirates ship, this beauty is sprinkled with the essence of Captain Morgan himself. This is a great place to grab some nachos and a beer and just relax and enjoy the live entertainment. Our time here seemed to slip by quickly but this was singularly the most relaxing leg of our trip. HAL has done a terrific job building up this private island to include all the needed amenities but still maintaining the feeling of exclusiveness and escape. This one is a treasure.