Half Moon Cay, Holland America`s private island paradise in the Bahamas, played host recently to the 500th ship to visit the picturesque retreat. Since the company began taking its Holland America and Windstar vessels to the island in late 1997, more than 600,000 guests have enjoyed its stunning scenery and its many amenities.
Half Moon Cay is located on 45 acres of the 2,400-acre Little San Salvador Island, which lies less than 100 miles southeast of Nassau between southern Eleuthera and Cat Island.
“We are extremely proud of Half Moon Cay,” said David A. Giersdorf, senior vice president, marketing and sales. “Most of the island is pristine and our guests can experience the natural wonders of the area while also enjoying the extensive activities and facilities offered in the resort portion of the island.
“Half Moon Cay is the largest employer in Eleuthera, with the exception of the government,” Giersdorf added. “And the Bahamian government has consistently praised our development and environmental policies.”
Most Holland America Caribbean cruises include a visit to Half Moon Cay, which is built along a crescent-shaped white sand beach more than a mile in length that fronts a protected bay. Guests may sail, swim and snorkel in the turquoise waters, bask on white sand beaches, have a beachside massage, and then enjoy an array of traditional barbecue fare. The company`s Club HAL children`s program offers a variety of age-appropriate activities for younger visitors to Half Moon.
“Our guests consistently give Half Moon Cay the highest rating for ports of call in the Caribbean,” Giersdorf noted.
Half Moon Cay features an aquasports center with beach gear and watersport equipment; a fully-equipped Club HAL children`s playground; beach chairs; volleyball, shuffleboard and horseshoes; a trail with exercise stations and a network of nature trails with interpretive signs; bridges across dunes for beach access; and a designated wild bird reserve. All facilities are accessible to persons using wheelchairs, featuring hard-surfaced pathways to connect venues. Beach and jitney trams also operate at the island.
The island offers a West Indies Village with shops, including an art gallery and a straw market; a post office selling a Bahamian stamp bearing a Half Moon Cay design; a Spanish-style chapel; and an ice cream shop, soda bar and frozen drink bar. The food pavilion includes 15 tropical, open-air dining shelters, a large bar and three convenient satellite bar stations, two fresh fruit and condiment shelters, and a bandstand.