Day 2 - Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
Saturday, March 1, 2014: Good morning, Bahamas!
|The Lido dining room was fairly deserted, so we had the omelette station all to ourselves for breakfast.
|We were on the first tender to Half Moon Cay because we didn't want to miss a minute of our day.
|There's the gorgeous beach, ...
|... and there are the cabanas and villas, ...
|... and there is beautiful Villa E, which was going to be ours for the entire day.
|The tender pulled into the Half Moon Cay harbor, ...
|... which flew the Holland American flag today. The island is also used for Carnival cruises and all of the villas and cabanas are significantly cheaper when Carnival is in town.
|Here's the entrance to the village, ...
|... and what might have been a lovely fountain back when it used to work.
|We went straight to the information booth (shown here) and then went to a waiting truck to be driven to ...
|... beautiful Villa E, the furthest one from the entrance, specifically chosen to be as far away from the crowds as possible.
|There it is!
|It has a sign marked "Private Villa" and a convenient foot washer just next to the entrance. The sign didn't deter people from sneaking onto the front porch and taking a look while we were in the water, unfortunately.
|This little guy welcomed us on the pathway.
|So, let's take a look around. This is the view looking out from inside the first floor.
|Here is the fantastic hot tub. We didn't expect to use it, but we ended up in it three times throughout the day and it was wonderful.
|Here is the real reason for spending hundreds of dollars on this place: a private bathroom with shower. It isn't mentioned in the description but we had read other reviews that mentioned it. We guess it isn't mentioned so that other passengers won't try to sneak into villas to use them.
|Next, we'll tour the second floor. It had a spacious patio just like the floor below, with its own pair of chaise lounges and cushions.
|Here's the view into the second floor interior which features ...
|... a wooden bar with two bar chairs facing the water (not shown), an air conditioner (not needed due to the open windows and breeze), a water feature, a raised floor dining area, ...
|... and a kitchen with sink, refrigerator, and cabinet storage.
|Here's a better view of the kitchen taken later in the afternoon.
|Shortly after our arrival, a steward brought us a fruit plate, veggie sticks, tortilla chips, salsa, guacamole, and sour cream, portioned for two people. We fell on the food like ravenous dogs, saving only some chips for an afternoon snack.
|Another steward brought our beverage supplies: 12 cans of whatever soda we wanted, plus what was supposed to be 8 bottles of water, but turned out to only be two. We also got a bucket of ice, which we put to good use all day.
|The view was amazing. Crystal clear water, no one around, and our beautiful ship in the distance.
|Want a closer look? Here you go.
|Here's a look at the villa with a couple of the cabanas next to it. The cabanas are also a nice deal, with the same food arrangement and air conditioning, but there's little privacy and no bathroom. However, they look like a pretty sweet arrangement too.
|We poured ourselves a couple of Diet Cokes ...
|... and enjoyed some reading in the shade of our second floor balcony.
|Occasionally, our little bird friends would join us in the villa.
|It's hot tub time! By now, we had propped open all the windows and had a nice breeze going through the room.
|More reading, this time partially in the sun.
|At lunch time, we made our way to the barbecue pavilion, passing the Emma Louise pirate ship bar.
|Here's the view from the back. If we hadn't had a villa, we'd have enjoyed a little time here.
|Here's the huge barbecue pavilion, where the dining staff cooks up ribs and burgers for the guests.
|Also on the menu: fruit, rice, banana cake, chocolate cake, and seafood salad so delicious that we went back for seconds.
|There are many picnic pavilions and the Bell Bar under another pavilion. But we didn't take this photo because it shows the Bell Bar. No, we took it to show how easy it is to miss the lizard sneaking across the concrete.
|But we saw him.
|While we ate our lunch, we also saw this little guy (and several of his siblings), ...
|... and this fine gentleman who may or may not be his father.
|We took the scenic path up the beach back to our villa. Shown here are Villas A, B, and C, from right to left.
|And there's the mighty Villa E, once again.
|A couple of hours after our arrival, we were joined by the Holland America Eurodam, quickly dubbed the Eurovision by Tom. Even with two ships sharing the beach, it never felt crowded on our stretch of beach.
|The Eurodam is a little larger than the Noordam, and the passengers were younger, so we're guessing it was sailing a 7-day or less itinerary. One of the things we like about Holland America's longer itineraries is that the crowd is wealthier and older, making for a much more sedate ship. No all-night drinkers yelling in the hallways, a la Carnival.
|Now, back to our amazing villa. Here are the upper windows propped open, ...
|... and here's the view out the window to the left, ...
|... and to the right.
|All great things must come to an end, so we packed up and headed to the tenders at 2:45. The line for the Eurodam's tenders was crazy long, but most of the Noordam's 80-year-olds had either not come ashore or had already headed back, so our line was very short.
|We had ordered a six-pack of Corona for our cabin, so we decided to drink our first two bottles. However, we had no bottle opener, so the one built into the phone case our daughter had given Tom really came in handy. (Thanks, Jill!)
|From our balcony, we could look out over Half Moon Cay.
|A horseback excursion was happening in the distance at the far end of the beach.
|It is a magical place. Perhaps we'll return someday. To make a great day even better, we returned to a voice message from the Excursions staff that noted that the price of our villa had dropped $50 since we paid for it last fall, so we would be getting a credit on our bill. Nice.
|Next, we watched the last tender being raised back into place, ...
|... then waved goodbye to the Eurovision, I mean, Eurodam.
|This evening was our first formal night, and also the first time in forever that Tom hadn't rented a tuxedo for the cruise. Instead, he was wearing one of his fine new suits. Here's Tom ...
... and here's Debbie at dinner. We had requested and actually gotten (with no actual intervention required for a change) a table for two. We were well pleased.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy