Holland America’s Private Island Defies Imagination
PHOTO: You can still see the ship in the background, but a day on Holland America’s private island is like a day in paradise. (Courtesy Holland America Line)
When you are on a cruise and stop at a port of call, the beach can often be overrun by locals and tourists alike.
If you’re looking for a little more elbow room that also provides the pampering and spoiling you crave, then traveling on a Holland America Line cruise to its private island, Half Moon Cay, may be exactly what you need to fulfill your dream vacation.
At Half Moon Cay, cruisers indulge in the seclusion of a 65-acre island that Holland America leased for 99 years from the Bahamian government. Half Moon Cay is part of Little San Salvador Island, one of about 700 islands that make up the archipelago of the Bahamas.
Once you disembark the boat, all Holland American cruise guests get to enjoy this two-mile island, which has been designated as an international wild bird preserve and only of which two percent is developed.
It’s top-notch pampering as you kick off those flip-flops and walk along the white sandy beach to a beachside massage. Personal butler service is available to cater to guests, bringing you whatever you need from any of the three waterfront bars, with one so aptly named “I Wish I Could Stay Here Forever.”
Unfortunately you can’t stay forever, but you and your significant other can profess your love to each other at the Bahamian Chapel and capture this special moment in time if you so desire.
SEE MORE: The Holland America Line
For those who want adrenaline-pumping activities to choose from, there is an incredible horseback riding adventure where horses, who are specially trained to swim in the ocean, lead you directly into the beautiful, tranquil Caribbean waters. Aqua Trax vehicles are available if you prefer a little more speed to your in-water adventures.
If you can’t get enough of the water – and really, you won’t be able to – you can also windsurf, swim, sail, snorkel, deep-sea fish, and kayak.
The underwater life is a must-see and eco tours brings the creatures up close and personal in a glass-bottom boat. Maybe you’ll see large colonies of the Bahama sea star (the cushion sea star). However, it is guaranteed that you will get to touch and feed a stingray on the Stingray Adventure.
On land, you can enjoy the Half Moon Cay’s nature trails, the 1K running tour and bike tour, play volleyball, basketball, horseshoes or shuffleboard, or hit the trails for a nature hike. Shoppers will find some stores on the island and before you go back on the boat you’ll enjoy a private island barbecue of chicken, hot dogs and other tasty goodies.
Private islands aren’t just for the grown-ups though. The little ones will enjoy the Club HAL children’s park that is just for them and the Half Moon Lagoon Aqua Park, where they can play pretend aboard a pirate ship, water slide and water cannon.
Sadly, the time on the private island has to come to an end, but it’s back on the Holland America cruise line where you will continue your journey through the beautiful Caribbean waters.
More by Lisa Iannucci
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