Monday, September 30, 2013

My Caribbean Vacation - Day 6 - Half Moon Cay Day

Click here for DAY 1, DAY 2, DAY 3 , DAY 4, 

Also, HERE is my tour of the Carnival Victory

DAY 6 - HALF MOON CAY DAY - Thursday Sept 5, 2013

I woke up around 7ish and I remembered immediately that this was Half Moon Cay day!!!

I went out on the balcony and couldn't believe my luck again, I could see Half Moon Cay!!!

It was a beautiful morning in the Bahamas. I had obviously slept through the sunrise, but I got my camera and started taking pics of the island as we approached.

We still had over 2 hours until they would let us off the ship so Lisa and I watched for a while. When we were close enough to the island, the ship dropped its anchor so it would stay put for the day. Right away, smaller boats came up to the side of our ship to unload things we were taking off the ship for the day.

Lisa and I got dressed and went up to the breakfast buffet. We went to the back buffet and I looked for Hector the omelet maker.

He's there! Good Morning Hector!

There were only one or two people in line. I asked Hector to make me another ham and cheese omelet and I loaded my plate with all the other breakfast stuff. Short lines and no bacon police back here either.

Lisa and I sat at the tables by the back pool to eat

After we ate, we went back to the cabins to see if Chris and Cody were up yet. We found them on our balcony eating their trays of room service breakfast.
We all watched as tenders and other boats pulled up to our ship to continue offloading things.
Finally it was time to get off the ship!
We loaded our backpacks and beachbags for the day, left Carlos his tip, put the "Crusin" sign out, and we headed off for the day.

Of course we saw Ari - the room steward who wasn't our room steward - in the hallway on the way to the elevators

Say Good Morning to Ari!!

We went down to deck 1 and got on a tender boat:

And within a few minutes we were loaded full of people and on our way to Half Moon Cay.
HMC is a very tiny island in the Bahamas. It's about 2400 acres in total but only about 50 acres have been "developed". The rest of it is wildlife and birds. There are less than 50 people that actually live there, they are caretakers of the island. It is owned by Holland America Lines which is owned by Carnival Corp. so both cruise lines use this island for day trips. The ships bring the food, alcohol, crew and supplies they will need for the day.

Here is an ariel view of HMC that I found online (Thank you if this is your picture!)
You can see the small channel toward the left side if the photo where the tenders went into to drop us off at the dock area.

Half Moon Cay is, without a doubt, the most beautiful place I have ever been in my life.
The weather that morning was perfect and I was ready for a peaceful relaxing beach day.

We are here!!!

I had rented a cabana for us for the day, remember when we first boarded the ship and I had to stand in line at guest services for a torturous 15 minutes? At that time I got our cabana number  - I chose #14  - down on the quieter end of the beach. 

After we were on the island, we found the info booth and the lady pointed us toward the truck-things that would give us a ride to our cabana. Of course we could have walked, but it seemed easier to get a ride this early in the morning.

When we arrived, our cabana was perfect!!! 
Our cabana came with floatie mats and snorkle gear for the 4 of us, an outdoor fresh water shower, lounge chairs, a misting fan, air conditioner, table & chairs, refrigerator, a cooler with cokes and waters, and some snacks.

Here are a few pictures of our cabana that we took throughout the day:

The fruit and dips they brought us to snack on. We also got a bag of corn chips.

Bonny and her family were in the purple cabana next to us. I didn't get a pic of our other roll call friend's cabana on the other side of us.

We spent the morning in the water and in the cabana

Chris and Cody spent a lot of their day snorkeling. They had never snorkeled before. 
There wasn't much to see, but it was still fun. 

Our ship was out there waiting for us:

I have a quick story about a fellow cruise passenger who was a bit of a jerk that day.
During the morning, more and more passengers found their way down towards our end of the beach. There were plenty of free lounge chairs set out for everyone all along the beach. The beach at our end was never very crowded, most people didn't venture that far down the beach.

One of the times I came out of the water and went into the cabana, a girl in her mid 20's had pulled several lounge chairs right in front of our stairs and was laying in one of them. She was the only one in the chairs at the time I walked up, but there were things on several chairs next to hers.
They had blocked our stairs, leaving me about 1 foot of sand at the bottom of our last step to squeeze by to get up our stairs.
I honestly didn't mind her/them being near our cabana, but I couldn't quite understand why they needed to be right in front of it and right at the bottom of our stairs.

Here is a pic I fixed up so you can see where she had put her chairs.

As I walked toward her from the water, I decided I would ask her nicely to move.
My words exactly, "Ma'am, could you please move your chairs a little to one side, so we can get to the stairs?"
I am not kidding, she looked at me and said, "Why can't you just go around?"

I wasn't going stand there and banter with her, I just went around and up the stairs.

I was shaking my head at how rude that was. There was plenty of beach for everyone, plenty of shady areas too. She could have put her chairs anywhere she wanted..........but right in front a set of stairs that people were obviously using was an odd choice.

I had just made it up onto the cabana deck and put my floatie mat down when I looked out and saw that there were several men nearby with the words "STAFF" written across the backs of their t-shirts.

You see where this is going?
Yes I did, I went right back down the stairs and tattled on this girl.

I walked up to the first staff guy, he was HUGE, big as a football player. I told him I was in cabana #14 and some people had moved their chairs right in front of the stairs. I asked him if he would please ask them to move to one side.
He looked at me and asked, "You don't want them in front of your stairs?"
And I told him I just wanted them to move to one side, so we can have access to our stairs.

He turned from me and went right over to her, and LOUDLY asked her to move her chairs.
She got up and started dragging the chairs and all their stuff off to one side. The staff guy pulled her chair even further to the side. He made big sweeping arm motions and he said loudly, "This area is reserved for cabana holders only."

There. Problem solved. I thanked him and he left.
Of course it helped that I knew the cabana rules. I knew from reading other reviews that she was not allowed to put chairs directly in front of the steps. I knew any staff or crew I saw would ask her to move, but I didn't think I would see a staff member so soon. It' was kind of funny that it all happened so quickly.

I'm sure she was embarrassed, since the staff guy was pretty loud and made a bit of a big deal about it in front of a lot of people.
She should have just moved when I asked her nicely, and quietly.

Our roll call neighbors in cabana #13 had their own experience. While their family was in the water, a cruise passenger that they didn't know walked into their cabana to help himself to a drink. They noticed him and stopped him before he fixed his drink.

I guess some people don't realize we paid for the use of the cabana for the day?

Anyway, those incidents were quickly forgotten and we had a very relaxing and fun day on Half Moon Cay.

Another view looking toward the far end of the island.

We left the cabana around 11:45 to head to the lunch pavilion. Carnival sent some of their chefs from the ship and they served us a nice lunch. We loaded our plates with Jerk Chicken and side dishes and walked back to the cabana to eat.

We spent the afternoon doing much the same as we did in the morning. Swimming, snorkeling, and hanging out in the cabana. I spent a few minutes over at Bonny's cabana  #15 talking to her and her family.

I also walked over to visit our other roll call neighbors, Chris & Sarah, in #13. When I walked over there I noticed they had a Ship on a Stick sitting on their cabana counter. I had seen pictures of these, but I had never seen one up close. I asked Sarah if I could look at it.

She surprised me when she handed it to me and told me I could KEEP it!!
Well, that was sure sweet of her!! What a nice gift!
I was thrilled and I think it's one of my favorite souvenirs from the ship.

My very own "gifted" Carnival Victory Ship On A Stick:

Amy and Greg came down to our cabana sometime that afternoon and we all spent some time together in the water and in the cabana. We walked down to the Half Moon Cay gift shop and Cody and I got a few souvenirs.

The day went by really fast and before we knew it, it was time to leave.

We packed up and left the cabana at about 4:00PM.
We walked on the beach so we could enjoy every last second of HMC

I as we walked by, I ran in and got a few pics of one of the new giant 2 story cabanas

There was a huge hot tub inside
(sorry about the smudge on my camera)

And a full bathroom. I didn't know they had bathrooms in these!

Up on the 2nd floor:

There was also a kitchen with a sink:

Walking back along the beach toward the tender dock. It was fun to photograph the ship.

We passed by the Pirate ship bar. Earlier that day there was a DJ set up on the little patio

The sand here was so perfectly white and baby powder fine. I did remember to get a baggie full to take home.

Waiting in line for the tender. The line didn't take as long as I thought it would. But it was very hot.

As we boarded the tender, we were right behind some crew members.
I was following the pack of passengers down into the bottom of the tender when one of the crew told me to take the stairs to my right and head upstairs. He said they would offload the tender from the top first.

I told him "thanks", and we headed upstairs.

When we got up to the 2nd floor, the same crew member pointed to a row of seats and said, "Sit there, you'll get off first".
I thanked him again and we sat down on the bench he had pointed to. That was really nice of him to offer that advice to us for no reason.

He and the other crew members sat down near us, and I snapped a picture of them as we were waiting for the tender to fill up.

It was right about then that I noticed one of them was DONKEY!!
The nice one that told us to go upstairs is sitting on the left

As we all sat waiting for the tender to fill, these three entertained us.
First they put towels over their heads, because it was really hot in the sun

After a few minutes under the towels, they sang to us. They sang the Menah Menah song from Sesame Street from under the towels, and everytime they got to the do-do-do-do-do part, they lifted the towels up. It was quite fun watching them.

Just for fun, HERE is the original Sesame Street Menah Menah song.
Go ahead, listen to it! If you watched Sesame Street when you were a kid, you know this song......

After the tender filled, we headed out through the channel

Getting closer to the ship

In the picture below, you can see the tenders pull up to the side of the ship.

Back on the ship, I  was waiting for Lisa and the kids to get through the security check and I saw the same nice crew member from the tender standing next to me, we talked while we were waiting there and I asked him his name. He said his name is Shane. I told him thanks again for being so kind, helpful AND entertaining on the tender.

Back up in our cabin for sailaway, we watched from the balcony. The ship turned around and we were off.
Good Bye Half Moon Cay!!!

After we couldn't see HMC anymore, we all took showers and sat around on the balcony for a while resting. We were all wiped out from a long day in the hot sun. 

Poor Chris got a bit too much sun. As much as we had kept him slathered with SPF 50 all day, he burnt to a crisp. I felt bad for him. 

Another round of Ibuprofin and a lot of Aloe Vera.

We sat on the balcony for a long time before any of us felt like getting dressed for dinner. 
Finally, we managed to get dressed and we met up with Amy and her group for dinner in the MDR

The waiters danced and sang "Hey Baby" to us that night, I loved it when they did this!

I got a picture of Cody's chocolate melting cake. She loved this stuff.

After dinner, we stopped at the casino bar so I could have a smoke

I loved hanging around the casino bar/promenade area on deck 5. This band seemed to always be here playing really good music. They played a lot of 70's and classic rock. Slower, mellow stuff like Eagles, etc...

Our plan for the evening was to see "Showcase of the Stars" in the Caribbean Theater at 10:00PM
I knew from reading other reviews that this show was one of the worst of all of the shows they have, but I honestly was too tired to try to come up with a plan B.

We had a few errands to run, so we tried to fit some things in before the show.
We went to the internet cafe again, this time I had my password with me and I was able to log on with no problem.
Carnival Victory internet speed was surprisingly fast.
I logged in to Carnival Funville Forums, and sent Christina a message. She was leaving for Miami tomorrow.  I knew she was at home packing and that she was SO excited. I wished her safe travels and told her I would call her first thing when the ship docked in Miami on Saturday morning. I hoped she would see my message before she left.

We ran some other errands, stopped back in to the photo shops and bought a few pictures from the formal night. We also made a stop at guest services for something. Most likely, we all checked our Sail & Sign balances to make sure we agreed with the charges on our cards.

Around 9:30PM, we went into the Caribbean Theater to find our favorite seats for "Showcase Of The Stars"

Just as I had heard, it was kind of a lame show. It was like a passenger talent show, and the talent wasn't very good. There were some better than others. Some I felt sorry for. Marcelo was the host, introducing each act and "interviewing" them after they did their song, dance, etc.... As always, Marcelo was very funny. He really made the show as far as I was concerned.

By the time the show was over, we were all sooooo tired.
Chris was miserable by now, he was SO sunburned. Cody had a bit of a burn too, but nothing compared to Chris.
Chris and Cody didn't even bother coming to our cabin for late night balcony time. They went right into their cabin and I have a feeling they were both asleep really quickly that night.

Carlos had left us a towel animal.
I'm not really sure what it is...........maybe a dinosaur? Chris thinks it might be a giraffe?

Lisa and I spent some time sitting on the balcony, and then we went inside to get ready for bed. 
We decided to try the Tortuga Rum cake I bought in Grand Turk the day before.
I thought it tasted like too much rum, but Lisa liked it. 

We were both in bed by 12:30

The next day we would be in Nassau, a much bigger island in the Bahamas. 
We didn't really have any plans for our day in Nassau, maybe some shopping and lunch.
I knew it would be ok to sleep in a little later the next morning, but I also wanted to get pictures of the lighthouse as we approached Nassau. I had no way to know when we would arrive there, so there was no specific time I could set my alarm for. 

Day 7 is HERE!!


  1. the towel I think its an aut eater.i so am glad that you had a wonderful time.and beach is so beautiful.those cabana are so were smart to rent them.but me I could never afford one of those.but if I ever get to go on another trip like this I would try to rent one of those.i sure wish I could of been there with you.iam to darn poor to make any have done very well on this part of your vacation. marilyn

  2. oh yeah! It could be an ant eater. I hadn't thought of that!
    Next time we should go on a vacation together, it's cheaper when you split it.........glad you are enjoying the review, thanks for reading it!

  3. Every time you said "tender" I thought of chicken tenders.. lol. Those cabana's are very cool! Very smart thing to do. And the asshats.. yes.. you find those entitled folks everywhere you go.. seem to be the type that doesn't do the research and expects something for nothing.

  4. Yes, we saw a lot of "entitled" people on this older lady and her husband cut in front of me in the deli line. I let them go, not worth a fuss. But when the wife cut in front of me again at the buffet, I said something to her. It's unbelievable how some people act.
    Yes, the cabana was worth every penny, it was a nice place to hang out when we weren't in the water