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Cruises to Half Moon Cay

4 Awards
Half Moon Cay (Photo:Holland America Line)

About Half Moon Cay

Half Moon Cay is a 2,400-acre private island retreat for passengers on Holland America Line's (HAL) Caribbean, Bahamas and Panama Canal sailings. (Carnival ships sometimes visit as well, since HAL is owned by Carnival Corporation.)

Located less than 100 miles southeast of Nassau, the island (previously known as Little San Salvador) was purchased in 1996 for $6 million. The line initially invested $16 million to spruce up Half Moon Cay, with island-wide upgrades in 2017 to mark its 20th anniversary. Nearly 100 employees who reside on nearby islands handle day-to-day operations.

The island boasts a dreamy, 2.5-mile-long crescent-shaped beach (the source of the name Half Moon Cay). But, those looking for some solitude needn't look far -- There's plenty of this heavenly beach to go around.

  • Why go to Half Moon Cay?

  • Good to Know?

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Carnival Horizon
Carnival Horizon (Photo: Cruise Critic)

6 Night
Cruise to Half Moon CayDetails

393 Reviews
Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Carnival Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Nieuw Statendam
Nieuw Statendam

21 Night
Cruise to Half Moon CayDetails

Cruise Line:Holland America Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Carnival Sunrise
Carnival Sunrise (Photo: Carnival Cruise Line)

4 Night
Cruise to Half Moon CayDetails

117 Reviews
Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Carnival Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Le Bellot
Le Bellot  (Image: Ponant)

10 Night
Cruise to Half Moon CayDetails

Leaving:Cozumel
Cruise Line:Ponant
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Viking Cruises Australia (CC)

Cruise Critic Favorite

18 Night
Cruise to Half Moon CayDetails

Leaving:Santiago
Cruise Line:Hurtigruten
Oct 15, 2021
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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4 Night
Cruise to Half Moon CayDetails

Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Nov 3, 2021
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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17 Night
Cruise to Half Moon CayDetails

3 Reviews
Leaving:Santiago
Cruise Line:Hurtigruten
Oct 23, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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4 Night
Cruise to Half Moon CayDetails

Cruise Line:Carnival Cruise Line
Oct 7, 2021
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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18 Night
Cruise to Half Moon CayDetails

Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Mar 8, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Cruise to Half Moon CayDetails

Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Nov 13, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Cruise to Half Moon CayDetails

Cruise Line:Holland America Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Cruise to Half Moon CayDetails

Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Feb 12, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Cruise to Half Moon CayDetails

Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Nov 20, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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12 Night
Cruise to Half Moon CayDetails

Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Dec 11, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Cruise to Half Moon CayDetails

Cruise Line:Holland America Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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21 Night
Cruise to Half Moon CayDetails

Cruise Line:Holland America Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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10 Night
Cruise to Half Moon CayDetails

Cruise Line:Holland America Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

7 Night
Cruise to Half Moon CayDetails

Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Dec 15, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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18 Night
Cruise to Half Moon CayDetails

Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Dec 28, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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18 Night
Cruise to Half Moon CayDetails

Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Dec 10, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Cruise to Half Moon CayDetails

Leaving:Baltimore
Cruise Line:Carnival Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Cruise to Half Moon CayDetails

Cruise Line:Holland America Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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16 Night
Cruise to Half Moon CayDetails

Leaving:Antarctica
Cruise Line:Hurtigruten
Nov 25, 2021
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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16 Night
Cruise to Half Moon CayDetails

Leaving:Antarctica
Cruise Line:Hurtigruten
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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6 Night
Cruise to Half Moon CayDetails

Leaving:Charleston
Cruise Line:Carnival Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Why go to Half Moon Cay?

Pros:

Holland America Line's private island is home to one of the Bahamas' top-rated beaches, which has garnered numerous awards

Cons:

Currently, cruisers must tender to the island

Bottom Line:

From ecotours to multiple bars to sunbathing, there are an array of options for beach bums and adventure-seekers

Good to Know?

The use of reef-safe sunscreen (as well as bug repellent) is encouraged and available for purchase on the island. While all your other purchases can be charged via your keycard, you should bring cash (U.S. dollars) for the local straw market.

What Sets It Apart?

Just 6 percent of Half Moon Cay has been developed, with passenger facilities taking up less than 50 acres. Much of the remaining land serves as a nature preserve and wild bird sanctuary, with the Bonefish Lagoon on the east side of the island.

Amenities?

Rentals:

Free beach lounge chairs are available around the island, umbrellas can be rented and it's recommended that towels be brought from the ship. Cruisers can rent gear, such as floating beach mats, paddleboards, kayaks, snorkeling equipment and water tricycles. Bikes are available but only as part of an excursion.

Transportation:
  • On Foot: Despite the fact that Half Moon Cay is essentially a deserted island when ships aren't in port, it's extremely hard to get lost here. Signage is readily available and marked trails and brick pathways lead from the main square to the dining pavilion and the beach. A 5K loop (which is a little more than 3 miles) is also offered for those looking to run/walk/bike around the island. Another safe bet is walking along the flawless shoreline until you reach a quiet spot on the beach, or closer to the welcome center. If one were to wander off trail, you would encounter thick underbrush.

  • By Tram/Golf Cart: There is continuous tram service running from the terminal to various points on Half Moon Cay throughout the day. (Transportation is included when you book an excursion, such as horseback riding.) Guided tram tours of the island are offered and last about an hour for $24.95 per person (and there are no kids' rates).

  • By Bicycle: A 75-minute bike tour around the island is offered for about $29.95 (and there are no kids' rates). It's a nice way to explore the 3-mile loop.

  • Tendering: There's a departure pavilion -- a thoughtfully designed covered structure equipped with misting stations -- which provides plenty of signage indicating where and how to return to the ship. As passengers gather here to board the next tender, ice-cold towels and water or lemonade are usually on hand while you wait.

Kids Club:

There is a Club HAL kids club on the island, for parents who want to make sure their kiddos are enjoying some supervised time on shore, while they lounge one-on-one (or visit the massage cabana).

Kids will flock to the Half Moon Lagoon Aqua Park's fun and free "spray ground," conveniently located just behind the main beach. As attendants help keep an eye on the kids, a shipwreck slide leads to other water-filled parts of the playground, including squirting water cannons, dolphins and other sea life. A dry playground is also located nearby the Bahamian church.

Wedding Packages:

A small but picturesque 20-person chapel is located on the island to host weddings and vow renewals. HAL offers multiple wedding packages, from elegant vow renewals to destination weddings that can be held on Half Moon Cay.

Wi-Fi:

Holland America's internet service does not extend ashore on Half Moon Cay.

Accessibility:

Beach wheelchairs are available for rent and you can arrange rental onboard the ship. Anyone who needs transportation around the island due to mobility issues can wait for a golf cart to transport them from the welcome center to a cabana or the dining pavilion, for example.


Half Moon Cay Cruise Reviews
We loved Half Moon Cay. You take a tender from the ship to the island, then a short walk to the beautiful white sandy beach. The water was warm and clear. There are plenty of free beach chairs. They have several... Read More
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samandfelix
Half Moon Cay We always enjoy this private island and no different this time. We were the only ship there and the beach has plenty of people on it but still don’t have a problem finding seats. We like to... Read More
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Travel N
Love Half Moon Cay.. Tendering on and off the island cane be slow. In the past HAL used lifeboats to tender passengers ashore. Now they use tenders based on the island. Because they wait for the tenders to fill up... Read More
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ScottandAlison
We LOVE Half Moon Cay. This time we rented a clamshell for about $40. I highly recommend renting one if you plan to stay on the beach all day. It gives you a nice covered spot to put your stuff, out of the way of... Read More
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SnowbirdWannaB

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