Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
This is Holland America’s private island in the Bahamas; something all the major cruise lines seem to be doing now. HAL claims it is ‘uninhabited’, but there are about 20-30 HAL employees who live on the island year round. You will be tendered from the ship to the Half Moon dock. From there (after the obligatory photo) you have a choice of activities. The Aqua-Trax Adventure ($39) has you driving your own personal watercraft on a guided tour of a lagoon, along the shoreline and out to the reef. Horseback riding ($69) takes you from the stables to the island’s highest point, a spot of ‘refreshment’ then back to the beach for a ride through the surf. Parasailing ($69) is a great chance to get a true bird’s eye view of the cay, without getting your feet wet. There is also a stingray adventure ($19), Snorkel Tour ($49), Scuba dive ($69), and a host of other activities. Or, you can just hit the beautiful 1 mile beach and get the sugar sand between your toes! The water is wonderfully warm and your tuxedoed waiter will deliver Frozen Thingies to you in the surf! *sigh* No fire station on the island, but I did manage to meet with Second Officer Wayne Follett, a Fire Officer with the Zuiderdam’s Security Division. Although post-911 policy has eliminated ship’s tours, Wayne was kind enough to give me a peek behind the scenes of his division. I was mightily impressed! The gear and equipment is all top-of-the-line and better than much of what I have seen in full-time professional departments in major cities! The fire crews are equally well trained and certainly know their business. Good thing too, since a hundred miles at sea, there is no mutual aid! After my mini-tour, I can tell one and all, in full confidence, that HAL really be lives in safety first. Sleep well and enjoy your cruise. Yes, I did give Wayne a duty shirt and he said he will be getting one off to me.