The Bahamas are one of the most popular destinations in the Caribbean, as people continue to head to the Bahamas to relax and enjoy the island life. That being said, there is so much more to the Bahamas than just the beach and beautiful scenery. One of the most popular attractions in The Bahamas is Half Moon Cay.

It’s a long way to Half Moon Cay, but this is a hard-to-miss island. Once you see the airstrip, and the (very expensive) villas, you know that you are here.  There are no other cars or planes visible, so you may not be the first to find the island, but there is no question that you are here.

Private islands are generally very popular with cruisers, and Half Moon Cay is no exception. I know several people who don’t care where the ship stops, as long as it stops in Half Moon Cay.

I wouldn’t go that far, but I admit I like that direction. So the fact that we would be spending two days in a row here was a big advantage for me.

I got up early, as usual, did my rounds and saw the land. There are definitely seats on board this week, but I got up early enough today to get ahead of them. Or maybe they were still resting in bed, so when they got to Half Moon Cay, they could rush down to the beach and get a better seat. It certainly wouldn’t be a problem for me, and you’ll see why later.

Just enjoy the view. Is there a better life than this?

When the sun came up, I was hungry. One of my favorite places to eat breakfast – and it seems like a lot of people don’t even know you can eat breakfast here, too – is the BlueIguana Cantina.

While Blue Iguana is a popular breakfast spot, mainly because of its poolside location, most people don’t think of things like breakfast burritos. A big mistake, because thanks to the fresh ingredients and almost no queues, this place is a real success.

It’s always best to check the Hub app for BlueIguana Cantina’s days and hours of operation. For breakfast, they specialize in three things: Apreas (corn pancakes with melted cheese inside), huevos rancheros and burritos.

I chose a breakfast burrito and got the salsa and toppings to finish it off.

After breakfast it was time to go to Half Moon Cay. To get to the island, you have to take the water shuttle, so the visit to Half Moon sometimes has to be cancelled if the wind is strong.

People often get upset when this happens, but one only has to imagine a relatively small inflatable boat colliding with a much larger cruise ship to imagine the damage that could cause. Cruise lines always put the safety of their passengers first, even if that means some of them complain to customer service.

On the way to and from Half Moon Cay, everyone had to wear a mask. There were also social distance markers in the safe zone at the finish, but that’s about it.

Since there is an unwritten rule that every passenger on a tender must take at least one (1) photo of the ship upon departure, I complied. And okay, I may have taken 20 pictures, but I’ll show you one.

It’s easy to see why people are praising Half Moon Key so much. It is a picturesque place in every way, especially when the weather is nice, which fortunately is usually the case.

I’ve been to Half Moon Key more times than I can count, but today was going to be a special day. Remember earlier this week when I told you that my travel agent was not only on board, but had a few treats planned for the clients who were also traveling this week?

Well, today we were treated to another special treat, and it’s something most visitors to Half Moon Cay don’t know about.

A little away from the main beach, you will find not just any cabin, but the Private Oasis Grand Cabana. As soon as you walk through the gate, you know something special is waiting for you. But before you enter the cabin, it’s hard to imagine how special it is.

The main area of the cabin is not only spacious and has all kinds of comfortable seating, but also a table (which was set with snacks when we arrived).

But it also has ridiculously luxurious amenities such as its own hot tub.Carnival Horizon Return Journey Report

There is also a cool area with deck chairs and sofas, a bar and much more.

Oh, and if you’re hungry? Forget the buffet where the masses are fed, as you will be treated to a special meal prepared and served on site by your very own chef. We had filet, grilled mahi, fish tacos, burgers and hot dogs. Everything was cooked fresh and served directly to us in the cabin.

Like I said, I’ve been to Half Moon Cay before, but this place was ridiculously comfortable. Because this cabin is away from the main beach, it is quieter, there are far fewer people in the surrounding waters, and it is hard to believe.

I took a short break to check out the rest of the HMC. Because if you don’t visit the Pirate Ship Bar, it’s not really a visit. And yes, even though we had our own chef and all the amazing food, I still stopped by the buffet to see if there was anything I could munch on.

Given the small number of children on this ship, it’s not surprising that the children’s playground is practically a ghost town.

Tenders commuted between the HMC and the ship throughout the day. But it’s no exaggeration to say that I was on the first island tender…..

…and I came back last. I’m not saying they had to drag me away from that nice cabin, but I certainly wasn’t in a hurry to leave. It was helpful to know that we would be returning to Half Moon Cay the next day (although we had left the cabin).

By the time we were back on the boat and had a cocktail or two, it was time to head to the main dining room for dinner. Today I chose a French onion soup, muscles and ribs.

Then I decided to attend some of the entertainment events on the ship. I know, I usually fall asleep after dinner, so I don’t offer much entertainment after dark. But I was determined to prove that I could stay up until 9pm! I first went to the Liquid Lounge and walked into a Viva variety show where Marcus Anthony was performing some great Motown style songs.

Unlike many singers who just do their act on stage, Marcus is very interested in audience participation and had a few people on stage.

Then I went to the Ocean Plaza, where the ever-popular Fiddlers were playing.

They were, as always, a treat (although, oddly, I prefer them to perform in the Atrium). The only thing I’m not sure about… these outfits. They created a serious Lawrence Welk atmosphere.

That night the ship was not only anchored off Half Moon Cay, but was on an ocean voyage. And the next morning I was in my first dinghy, ready to head back to the beach!

Since we were here yesterday (or in your case, a few paragraphs ago), I won’t bore you with unnecessary details. But today was a little different, because we were much closer to the big beach.

The island seemed a bit empty today, perhaps because some people preferred to stay on the boat rather than spend a second day here. I can’t imagine making that decision,but you know what they say….. other moves and stuff.

Before I went to the villa my travel agent had chosen as my home away from home, I went to the abandoned pirate ship to take some pictures.

As many of you know, the second level of the pirate ship is a great place for photos. Whether you want to take a photo of yourself pointing a cannon at the ship you arrived on…

…Or maybe a funny picture of you proving your strength by balancing a cruise ship on your fingertip.

Oh, here’s something to keep in mind if you ever attend a mundane carnival event and are asked the question: What is the name of the pirate ship that ran aground on Half Moon Cay? It turned out that the name of the ship was Emma Louise and that it came from Cardiff, Wales.

Finally, I went to a very cool two-story villa that my travel agent had assigned us. There are several cottages and villas on the beach, but these are probably the most colorful. They also come equipped with amenities you might not have expected …..

… Jacuzzi on the ground floor! The two-story villas can accommodate up to 8 people, but there is room for more and you can add guests for an additional fee.

Although, as the sign says, I would like to stay on Half Moon Cay forever, it was time to return to the boat.

The last night on board is always strange. Some have a sense of urgency, as if they need to eat, drink and have as much fun as possible, because who knows when they will be on the next boat. This is especially understandable for this trip, as it has been a long time since people have been able to take a cruise.

We had our last dinner in the main dining room and, as always on the last night of a Carnival cruise, the dining room staff came out to sing, dance and entertain the guests they had served so diligently all week.

I have repeatedly said in these trip reports that life on board was about the same as it was on my last trip before the pandemic.

But I must admit that the dining room staff put on a masked show, seems very strange. Nevertheless, it was appreciated and the guests had a good time. But I was reminded of how uncomfortable the crew must have felt.

As usual, I wandered around the ship, taking mental pictures (as opposed to real ones), enjoying the view of the ship sharing in the water, and listening to the sounds.

The suitcases were lined up in the hallways, one of those inevitable reminders that the journey is coming to an end.

Embarkation the next morning went smoothly, although I’m not the best person to judge the process, since I’ve traveled with carry-on luggage on almost every cruise I’ve taken so far, and I was able to disembark without any problems.

Final thoughts

I know most people will ask those of us who were on those early cruises, and it will be a simple question: How did it compare to what it was like before the shutdown? And I can honestly say that with a few exceptions, it was pretty much the same.

Yeah, the crew wore masks. Yes, there were times – especially when entering or leaving the ship – when we also had to wear masks. But overall, it was… good.

As I noted a few days ago, the use of technology has proven to be a game changer in getting the courts back on track. And that means the Carnival Hub app will play a crucial role in your holiday. No, you don’t have to do that. If you want to leave technology behind (or at least in your cabin), you can do anything without it. But if you want your onboarding experience to be as smooth as possible, this is the app for you. It helps you with everything from browsing menus to avoiding queues.

I was lucky enough to do two cruises a few weeks apart (I did the return trip on the Celebrity Edge just before boarding the Carnival Horizon). If you’ve been following my adventures, I want to thank you… and a little tease. Because in a few weeks I will be boarding Carnival’s newest ship, the Mardi Gras, which will be leaving Port Canaveral for her maiden voyage. It’s certainly exciting, as Mardi Gras is not only a brand new ship, but also a whole new set of firsts for the cruise line (and even some firsts for the industry).

And yes, I’m going on the BOLT, the roller coaster that’s on the boat.

So I hope you also enjoy my report on this ship.

Until then, thanks again for reading and I look forward to hearing from you when you return to the high seas.

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