During my cruise on the Carnival Elation, I visited Half Moon Cay. HMC is the private island owned by Carnival Corp located in the Bahamas and visited by Carnival and Holland America. It gets its name because the shoreline is shaped like a half moon. This, like many private islands, does not have a pier so you take a tender boat over from the ship. The ride was only about 8 minutes and was pretty smooth.
You arrive at the island and dock at an arrival area full of shops and information booths. I of course stopped and got my magnet before heading to the beach. It’s a pretty short walk to the beach but if you want to hang out at the pirate ship bar, you will have about a 10 minute walk if that.
Once you are on the beach, you are met with probably the softest sand I have ever felt and crystal clear water. And when I say crystal clear, its like swimming in a pool. The beach is lined with lots of lounge chairs and some with covers for a charge. I did not go over to the island until around 10 AM and the ship was cleared at around 8:30 so lots of people had a head start. Plus, a rare situation happened where another ship, the Carnival Pride, was in port with us. Princess Cay, their scheduled stop, had a fire the day before so no ships were visiting that island. So the Pride joined us at Half Moon Cay which did make it very crowded. But normally you would have only one ship on so the crowds would be a lot less.
There are a lot of activities to participate in on the island from just sitting on a chair, swimming or even water toys like kayaks, float mats, paddle boards, water bikes and more to rent. I have uploaded a copy of the pricing but remember, they are subject to change.
The most crowded area is over by the On the Rocks Bar (pirate ship) which is actually a bar with seating down stairs and upstairs. In addition, they have a DJ playing and activities like tug a war, musical towels and the men’s hairy chest contest are held here. There are bathrooms and also a station to rent the water toys.
A short walk away from the beach is the Barbeque area where you can grab a burger, some chicken along with sides and desserts. The area is really open so its easy to get in and out and the line moves pretty quick. Scattered in the area are picnic cabanas with picnic tables so there is plenty of seating even at the businest time. I had a burger and some fruit along with a couple of cookies and it was awesome. To me there something about having a burger on a beach day that just makes your day.
After lunch, I spent a little time on the beach watching the games and swam a little despite the water being a little cool. Could not resist the beautiful water. I did some snorkeling but unfortunately my waterproof camera stopped working before I left for the cruise so no underwater pictures. I did see a few fish but I think I was in an area with too much activity to see a whole lot. My understanding, the snorkeling is outstanding at Half Moon.
Around 2 o’clock I headed back to the ship and there was no line for the water shuttle. The line for the pride was long so this was one of those times I felt the benefit of a smaller ship.
There was so much to do on Half Moon Cay on top of what I have mentioned. Stingray experience, bike tours, kayak tours and more. A suggestion would be is once you are on board, talk to the shore excursion desk and get some suggestions so you can make the most of your day on the island.
Such a great port of call and I cannot wait to go back. Next time I will have a working underwater camera and explore a lot more. Be sure to watch the video below for a brief view of the Half Moon Cay
My Visit to HMC
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I have a passion for travel and believe travel is about experiences. Experiences create memories and are the stories we tell to friends and family - even with a little fudging on the facts.