Did you know that “Cay” is actually pronounced “Key”? If you didn’t, don’t feel too bad, because I didn’t know that the first time I was there too.
Today stared at 6am with a knock on the door from room service. I knew better than to go to lido because it was going to be busy. I had a slight headache that I’m sure was leftover from the night before. I took some tylenol and with the help of some coffee, I was good. Breakfast was cereal, toast, and a banana. Basic, but I knew there would be decent food at HMC for lunch. Speaking of which…
Half Moon Cay is a private island owned by Carnival Corperation. Ships from Carnival, Holland America, and on very rare occasion Princess and P&O cruise lines will visit. The island is formally known as Little San Salvador island. Its relatively small size and ownership by a cruise line mean that it’s also not developed to have residents. Those who work there commute via ferry from other islands or arrive with the cruise ship that makes port. Most beverages, food and alcohol is also brought from the ship for consumption on the island. Also due to the small size and shallow waters, the boat must be access by Tenders. These are smaller shuttle boats that run back and forth between the ship and shore.
After eating breakfast, I made my way to the secret deck as we were coming up on Half Moon Cay (will refer to it from now on as “HMC”). Timing was good too, because the boat that shuttles the tender operators was arriving at the same time. It looked like it was going to be a beautiful day. I headed downstairs to see what the wait/lines looked like and surprisingly, it wasn’t bad. They were handing out stickers for tender group 2 when I walked by the Caribbean Theater. Because I had Faster to the Fun, I had priority boarding of tenders which meant no waiting. I headed over to guest services and asked where I was to go for the express line to get on a tender. It turned out they sectioned-off some seats by the lobby bar for diamond/platinum/FTTF guests. I had a seat and waited. About 10 mins later, a staff member came and took us to deck 0 for the tender. We waited 2 mins while they secured it and then we were on.
The ride over was fairly smooth. When we docked, I headed right over to the people in charge of the clam shells and asked for one. I found out though, that since my last time here in Feb’ 2012, you now had to go to a hut, pay, and get your slip for one first. I quickly walked over to do that, and then back so I could get my ideal one by the “Wish I Could Stay Forever” bar. I had an hour or so before heading off for my excursion, so I walked around taking some photos.
Here are a couple photos of the clam shell, its supposed to be for 2, but will work for up to 4. I added a photo of the tag too so you can see who makes it. I’ve been to the website and they have them, but don’t list prices.
This photo was taken from the “upper deck” of the Captain Morgan bar. There are actually bar tables and seats up there, if you are looking for a seat with a nice view. NOT MUCH OF A PARTY THOUGH. They do not serve food here, either.
After looking around a little bit I headed over to my excursion.
I was really excited about being on a jet-ski for the first time. I made my way over to the main shop/bar/plaza area looking for a sign for Aqua Trax. It started getting close to time, so I found Anna and we went looking for the person who was supposed to get me. Turned-out I was the ONLY person who booked the 9:30 slot! SWEEEEETTT!!! More fun for me!!! I jumped on the truck with stingray city guests and was taken to the jet-skis. I met the girl and 2 guys running the place, put on a life vest, and was given a brief run-down on what/what not to do.
After the talking-to, I mounted the jet ski and discovered it was a little similar to an atv with a thumb throttle, but no brakes. I fired it up and took it for a loop, discovering the joy of turning the thing with the accelerator. THIS IS GOING TO BE GREAT!!! I’m already grinning ear to ear. My guide told me to stay behind him like a line, and made sure I was ready to go. YEA! Off we went. It was so much fun hauling butt across the reservior with water you could see through at 35+mph. Turns were even more fun as water would get thrown-aside by the turning movement of the jet-ski. We did this for probably 30 mins and I was having a blast. Things took an odd turn though, literally as I saw my guide head out a channel into the ocean… “Uh-oh…uhhhhh” I told myself. I knew the water was going to be a little more rough, and sure enough, a little ways out, I started slamming into the tops of waves and crests. It was actually pretty scary. My guide was still going strong and pulling away on me. Despirately trying to keep up without crashing I tried to work the throttle in such a way that I could handle the speed, but not damage the jet-ski or worse, myself. We made it pretty far around the outside of the island, closer to the ship than I thought I’d get before turning and heading back. Turning was the hardest part as sometimes I’d turn with the water and sometimes against it. I got so wet and my sunglasses were covered with sea water. I wanted to take them off but was scared to take a hand off the handle. I also knew they were keeping sea water our of my eyes. Mercifully, we headed back and back into the channel and the reservior. THANK GOD! What a relief! It was short lived though, as back out to sea we went 10 mins later, $&#*! After another (shorter) round of pounding the jet-ski and myself into the sea, we headed back into the reservior for good and ran around for another 20 or so mins before heading back to the shore. I waved at some people on a boat tour and then some people on kayaks. After a little bit, I was done and parked my jet-ski on the sand. It was so much fun on the calm water, but the ocean was downright scary. I’ll happily ride one again in calmer water.
After burning off all the energy I had, I was starving. I dropped my stuff off at my cabana and headed over to the pavilion where they served a lunch buffet. The lines weren’t too bad really, and the food was pretty good (just as I remembered). It included regular grilled items like burgers, hotdogs, but also jerk chicken and some salads. They had desserts too, but I passed.
After lunch, I made my way back to my clam shell for some time to just chill on the beach. I needed to just relax. I immediately ordered a pina colada in one of the squiggly party cups and then another. I then people watched and napped off and on for a good while.
I woke up from my nap in my clam shell cabana to the sound of people walking by it. Is HMC the best place to wake up to? Possibly one of the best I’ve been to so far. I looked at my watch and realized it was a little past 1:30 and the last tender was 2:45. As much as I hated to do it, I got my stuff together and headed for the tender, so I could avoid the long line for later ones. If you’ve ever been to HMC and stayed for a later tender, you know you get most of your sunburn or tan from standing in that line. I boarded the tender and enjoyed the ride back to the ship. If you get to the tender line later, make sure to keep your sunscreen handy.
Look at how clear the water is!
After reaching Victory, it took some people longer to get back on the ship from it, than it took the tender to get to it. Once on, I headed to my cabin and showered. I then headed out and took some photos from around the ship. They were doing some work with a lifeboat on the starboard side (the doors were blocked-off). I headed to port side and the secret decks for some photos.
At roughly 3:30, we set sail for Grand Turk.
While in the lobby, I decided to have a nice glass of Thirsty Red Frog Ale. On the Victory, it is currently served at the lobby and sports bars. I was offered a souvenir glass, but declined. The very nice bartender grabbed a regular glass, went to fill it, and the beer went everywhere! The keg was running low and as a result there were air pockets. Her vest got soaked! I felt really bad for her. She was so nice though. After the beer-burst, she walked up to the sports bar and filled my glass up there, then brought it back down to me. Now I felt even worse! It continued, as when the new keg arrived, it was massive and looked to weigh about as much as a VW. 3 of them were barely able to position it. When they went to attach the fitting, beer shot all over this one staff members face! That was it! I had to drink my beer leave them a MASSIVE tip and then dip, out of embarrassment for them and me. I apologized profusely to the one girl who served me, and even though she laughed about it, I still felt bad, haha.
After some beer and feeling humbled, I made my way up to the deli for a sandwich to tide me over until dinner. I ordered a ham and cheese, grabbed some chips, and then watched as we sailed further away from the beautiful island. I felt tired afterwards and laid down for another nap.
Dinner that evening was me and the girls again. We all opted for the bacon mac & cheese with chicken. Damn, it was good! We talked about all the stuff we did in HMC, how nice it was, and how we’d have liked more time there. Afterwards we walked around with a few drinks, and hit up the Arcade. We played almost every game, then headed to the casino. I tried the cash cube some more and then we all tried new pirate coin-pusher-machine. We all won some money back, but not as much as we spent. They wound up staying there for a while and I left for the nightclub. It was dead, again. with the exception of a couple girls sitting at the bar. I talked and drank with them for a little while. They turned out to be part of this group on the cruise. I asked if I could be invited, but it was an all-girls kind of group. We joked around a little bit, there was a little flirting, and we had some good conversation. I headed-out a little while later and crashed for the night.