After the luxury of time spent on Half Moon Cay, where are you off to next?
It was one of the best vacations I’ve ever had. The perfect beach, the perfect island, and above all else? It was a week without technology.
Half Moon Cay is a beautiful island that has been around for quite some time. It is one of the most popular islands in the Bahamas. The “half moon cay villa map” is an interactive map that allows you to see all of the properties on Half Moon Cay.
People inquired whether we left and returned when I mentioned doing two days in a row at Half Moon Cay the previous time I blogged about it. That is precisely what occurred.
We spent the day on the private island yesterday, then went out into open seas last night to perform a large loop before returning this morning. What is the most significant distinction? I awoke to clouds yesterday, which had been a bit rainy the day before, but they had given way to a wonderful day.
Breakfast was the first order of business. I stated yesterday how delicious the “Hot Off the Griddle” menu in the main dining room is, and that’s exactly what I was ordering this morning.
I chose the buckwheat pancakes this time. On the last several cruises I’ve taken, I’ve tended to grab something from the buffet for breakfast. However, I’ve appreciated beginning the day in the main dining room on this ship.
For starters, having your food served by others serves as a nice reminder that you’re on vacation. Furthermore, the dining area is attractive in its own right.
People either got their fill of Half Moon Cay the day before or chose to remain on board and tour the ship since the tenders were mostly empty.
My accommodation was just over where passengers were loading into the tender, and it was clear that traffic was minimal. We were looking forward to going since a group of us had pooled our funds and leased a property.
But we weren’t in a rush to get to the island since our rental didn’t start until 10 a.m., which meant we wouldn’t have somewhere to walk, store our belongings, or seek shade from the heat until then.
I continued walking after breakfast and stumbled discovered the library, which is by far the best I’ve ever seen on a ship.
It was partly owing to the fact that the ship was spanking new, and partly due to the fact that it was a specialized section set out just for this purpose. Holland America embarked on a relationship with Microsoft about a decade ago, with qualified teachers aboard teaching passengers anything from picture editing to basic computer use.
That program is no longer in existence, and the location where it formerly stood is now a library.
As 1 a.m. approached, I gathered my belongings, including my bag, sunscreen, and phone charger, and boarded a tender to Half Moon Cay.
We first proceeded to the information booth to acquire our villa assignment before heading over. Around 10 years ago, Holland America constructed five villas here.
Villa C was two floors tall, with a complete bathroom, a refrigerator stocked with beverages, a window air conditioner, snacks, and a big hot tub on the first level. The top story may also be reached through an exterior stairway.
There were lounge chairs on the deck, as well as bags of snorkeling equipment and floating mats. I didn’t go out today since I had swum in the ocean yesterday and was afraid of receiving too much sun.
Instead, I sat on one of the lounge chairs on the porch and spoke with friends. Around 12:30, they asked whether we wanted fish, chicken, or steak for lunch. As is customary, I ordered the steak and rice, while others chose the fish and tacos.
Overall, it was a beautiful day, and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. They began shutting up at about 2 p.m., and we had to make our way back to the ship. We boarded a tram to the front of the dock to walk through security and return to the ship after thanking the butler who’d been serving us drinks all day.
MORE: The Advantages and Disadvantages of Future Cruise Credits
In the Crow’s Nest, I had an interview with Holland America’s brand ambassador Seth Wayne before supper. Seth has a background in television and joined Holland America in late 2019.
Despite the fact that the whole business was about to collapse, Seth did an excellent job of keeping Holland America fans amused even when they couldn’t be on board. He sponsored virtual cruises, quiz competitions, and other events online.
On Holland America Line ships, Canaletto is an Italian-themed restaurant.
We had planned to have dinner at Canaletto, an Italian restaurant, tonight, but instead chose to eat something fast and cheap at the lido buffet so we could catch the final act.
Over the last few days, the dinner options were equally as good as the lunch options. I can’t say enough about how fantastic the menus are at each location. Salad, steak, French onion soup, and mac & cheese were among the items I ordered. I enjoyed their classic bread pudding with vanilla sauce for dessert.
Before we went to the performance, I stopped by Club HAL, a children’s club. Let me tell you something: these places have changed a lot since I was a youngster. We had a couple Tonka vehicles and perhaps some Lincoln Logs, I recall. They now have wall-mounted gaming displays, on-demand programming, a plethora of games, and a foosball table that would fit in any sports bar.
Cantare was the cruise’s last production show, which took place at the World Stage theater.
Four singers sang a cappella renditions of classic pop songs — no music, just harmonizing — and they were fantastic. Obviously, enjoyment is a personal thing, and this will not appeal to everyone. But I thought it was a fun, different take on the traditional cruise ship fare.
It’s worth emphasizing that the World Stage is a fantastic facility in terms of layout, and the technology employed for the many events presented here is top-notch.
The music was just getting started all throughout the ship. In the Rolling Stone Rock Room, the rock band pushed it up to eleven, and when they took a break, the piano player accepted requests at BillBoard Onboard, which rapidly became into a large sing-along.
The piano player just recognized that a handful of keys were out of tune and tried his best to play around them. Nothing beats finding out how to transform an issue into another enjoyable aspect of the evening.
I’m not sure whether it’s always been this way or if it’s something new, but the comedian entered the stage at B.B. King’s Blues Club before the musicians began their performance. It worked because he seemed to be a warm-up act before the big event.
Given that Holland America has established itself as a cruise line where music is an important part of the experience, the quality of these bands should come as no surprise. The artists playing in this location are chosen by the B.B. King franchise. I’ve been to a handful of them in Nashville, New York City, and Las Vegas, and I can assure you that they all draw top-tier talent.
Guitar playing fascinates me; it’s a talent I’ve always wanted to master but haven’t quite mastered beyond strumming a few chords. I liked simply listening to a few songs and letting these amazing individuals perform.
It began to dawn on me as I went back to my cabin that the voyage was nearly done.
On these shorter cruises, I’ve observed that the halls aren’t as crowded with baggage as they are on longer cruises. Many individuals check their baggage before embarkation but prefer to carry them off when it’s time to exit, I believe.
Debark was highly structured and very straightforward with no lineups, much like the previous handful of cruises I’ve done since the relaunch. We arrived at the debarkation station about 8:30 a.m., scanned our cards, and were on our way to the port.
Because the only airlines that fly from Fort Lauderdale to Jacksonville are JetBlue and Silver Airways, I had to fly home in the afternoon from Miami International Airport.
The trip from Port Everglades to the Miami airport usually takes 30 minutes, but due to a serious accident on 95 south, it took an hour and a half. It wasn’t an issue since my flight wasn’t until 12:30 p.m., but it might have been if I’d booked the earlier 11 a.m. trip. Allow this to serve as a warning to allow plenty of time on disembarkation morning since you never know what you’ll encounter. It’s better to allow more time than to terminate your vacation by moving from calm to panicked.
In 2019, I bought CLEAR, a service that allows you to avoid the lineups at some airports and go straight to the x-ray line. It’s even faster if you have TSA PreCheck. With travel returning to normal, the airport experience has become much more tolerable and, to be honest, pleasurable.
In the not-too-distant future, I’ll have a thorough evaluation of the Rotterdam. Until then, you should know that this ship is the pinnacle of Holland America, with a wide range of music selections and onboard programs. Holland America has done the greatest job of all the major cruise lines at changing with technology while staying true to its core offering.
Check out the rest of my Rotterdam travel reports!
Half Moon Cay, also known as Villa at Half Moon Cay, is a private island resort located in the Bahamas. The resort was sold to a new owner and will be closing soon. Saying goodbye to this amazing place will be difficult. Reference: half moon cay map.
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