Half Moon Cay Cruise Port Guide: Tips and Overview

Half Moon Cay Cruise Port Guide: Tips and Overview


TheJellyBeans.net Half Moon Cay is a private island owned by
Carnival Corporation that is located in the Bahamas almost 100 miles southeast of Nassau. Also known as Little San Salvador Island,
this private retreat is known for it’s crescent shaped beach with white powder sand and turquoise
waters. It’s a port of call for both Carnival and
Holland America cruise ships. Ships anchor offshore at the island and complimentary,
double-decker tender boats transport passengers between the cruise ship and the island. On our cruise, the tender ride fit quite a
few passengers and took about 15 minutes. After arriving at the tender dock on the island
— and passing through the arched entrance — you’ll enter the Welcome Center plaza,
which features an information and shore excursion desk, a bar, and a first aid station. On the right side (or east side) of the Welcome
Center plaza, a free tram is available if you want to catch a ride to the complimentary
lunch buffet, instead of walking. If you travel straight (or north) from the
plaza, you’ll find a straw market, where locals from neighboring islands sell souvenirs. Be aware that cash is the only accepted form
of payment at the straw market. The main attraction — the very popular beach
— is on the left side (or west side) of the island. Beach chairs are free to use and are plentiful. Clam shells, cabanas, two-story beach villas
and even a 1,600 square foot Private Oasis cabana can be rented. These additional fee items are popular, so
we recommend booking them early — as a shore excursion — if you’re interested. The first access point to the beach is to
the left of the Welcome Center’s main plaza, beside the Information Hut. Just follow the signs to Half Moon Beach. This southern part of the beach can be quite
popular and become crowded quickly because of its proximity to the tender dock and all
the nearby amenities. A splash pad is available for kids and features
slides and a pirate-ship-themed climbing structure. The water in this area is a designated snorkeling
area, which is great for snorkeling on your own. The fish are plentiful in this area because
Carnival Corporation has submerged artificial reefs to attract fish and also because cruise
passengers frequently feed the fish with cereal they’ve taken from the ships or with bread
from the island BBQ buffet. If you’re looking for an area that’s a
bit less crowded, just walk further along the beach. Even after several tender boats arrived, there
were still plenty of beach chairs available during our cruise just a bit further north. Additionally, as you walk further along the
beach, you will find water sports centers which feature water sports equipment and snorkel
gear that you can rent for a fee. If you’re looking to have a drink or two,
there are a number of waterfront bars along the beach, including the “I wish I could
stay here forever” bar — which features a sign that is a very popular photo spot for
visitors — and the Captain Morgan’s on the Rocks Bar, which is very easy to find:
just look for the giant pirate ship. Also of note in this area, a small church
is located just off the beach, a bit north of the Welcome Center. The church is available for anyone who wants
to get married or renew their vows. Much further along the beach to the north,
you’ll come to the island’s horse stables. Horseback riding — including riding through
the surf — is one of the many excursions offered on the island. Other excursions include swimming with sting
rays, glass bottom boat tours, snorkeling and water sports. All the fun on Half Moon Cay is bound to make
you hungry, so head to the complimentary Island Barbeque lunch when you’re ready for some
food. Directional signage is posted throughout the
island, if you want to walk instead of taking the tram from the Welcome Center. On our cruise, the serving times were posted
in the ship’s daily schedule and at the Welcome Center’s Information Hut. Be aware that the lunch ended promptly at
closing time and some of the items, such as ice cream, ran out before closing. Because of this, we recommend going to the
Island Barbeque when it opens or shortly thereafter. There are quite a few food options to choose
from at the Island Barbeque and there are also several open air dining pavilions, a
bathroom, and another bar — the Bell Bar — in the area. If you’re interested in seafood for lunch,
you can visit the Lobster Shack located near the “I Wish I Could Stay Here Forever”
bar at the beach. The chefs from the ship cook the food, which
you can enjoy for an additional fee. Take note that we did see feral chickens both
at the BBQ lunch area and the beach, so come prepared with any medications you may need
if you’re allergic to bird feathers. After you finish lunch, you can catch the
complimentary tram just outside the BBQ area if you want to head back to the ship or
the Welcome Center. However, if you would rather walk off a few
calories or just enjoy a scenic walk, there’s a paved pathway that leads back to the Welcome
Center. Along the way you’ll pass a pirate themed
children’s play area, basketball courts, and volleyball courts. When you’re ready to call it a day, head
to the tender boat dock entrance located directly behind the Welcome Center’s Information
Hut. Foot washing stations are available near the
entrance of the covered tender boat waiting area.

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Comments

  1. Is it easy to get around if you have mobility issues? Since its a tender i guess you cant bring your scooter with you .Do they have scooters there to rent or wheelchairs?

  2. Extremely well done guys! This taught me a ton! Really makes me want to go visit now! Looks beautiful, and that food looked delicious. I've never been on a cruise either but I've always wanted to. Subscribing to show our support! Keep it up, and hopefully you can share the love!

  3. QUESTION: Is the Complimentary BBQ Free, like is it included in your cruise payment or would you have to pay extra for it?

  4. Great but you missed the other side of the island where you could go snorkeling or jet skiing. It is a nice walk (exercise) and the dirt road will bring you back to the two-level cabanas area on the beach.

  5. ? is the Bahamas safe.I hear it was not were you have to becareful yes you have to be any where I just wanted to ask

  6. Your videos are extremely well done and narrated. We will be on the Carnival Sunshine in late January and found your reviews some of the best on YouTube

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