Half Moon Cay, the Bahamas’ only private island resort and horseback riding center. Offering a traditional ranching experience with an oceanfront location on some of the world’s most picturesque islands.

Half Moon Cay Horseback Riding is a horseback riding experience that takes place on Half Moon Cay. The price of the experience depends on the length of the ride and how many people are in your party.

Half Moon Cay, which has always been one of my favorite places, was the first of our two excursions today.

Half Moon Cay is often referred to be Carnival Cruise Line’s private island, however it was really named and is formally owned by Holland America Line, which is part of the Carnival corporate umbrella. Despite the fact that this was my fourth trip to Half Moon Cay since cruising resumed, I was excited to see it, so we were up and off the ship early.

half moon cay tender boat

I assumed we’d have company when another ship seemed to be nearing the island. It was, in fact, the Nieuw Statendam, which won’t be back in operation until November 21.

Because we were only going to be on the island for two days, we decided to make each one unique. So we made a reservation for a horseback riding excursion today. You’ve undoubtedly seen photos of people riding horses down a white sand beach, trotting softly across the waves. We were going to be the ones to do it.

We didn’t intend on completing our tour until the afternoon, so we simply went about shooting photographs and doing some exploration this morning. We returned to the ship after that. Being aboard one of the first tenders back to the ship was a lot of fun. Our water shuttle was almost empty since the ones traveling to Half Moon Cay were completely filled. I felt like a fish swimming upstream against the current of people enthusiastically hurrying to the island when we arrived at the gangway.

rotterdam half moon cay holland america aerial

rotterdam holland america half moon cay

We had breakfast in the main dining room again, largely because I wanted to try something new that I saw on the menu the day before: banana bread french toast with strawberries. We’re glad we did because it was just as delicious as it sounded. Before learning we’d be eating lunch at the island’s Lobster Shack, I nearly ordered a second dish. Even with that knowledge, I was still tempted!

The “Hot Off the Griddle” section of the morning menu, which includes Belgian waffles, Texas french toast, buttermilk pancakes, buckwheat pancakes, and Swedish pancakes, is worth highlighting (which are basically thin like crepes).

breakfast rotterdam banana bread french toast strawberries

We took a trip around the ship after breakfast to look at some of the artwork on exhibit. The marine and animal works, as well as several of the music-themed ones, are interesting. There’s nearly $4 million of art aboard, and it’s not because they’re trying to sell it: none of it is for sale. Some of the sculpture was commissioned expressly for Holland America Line, according to one of the crew members, but comparable items may be purchased on land if you hunt down the artist and make arrangements.

holland america rotterdam marine artwork

We took the 12:30 p.m. tender back to the island to lunch at the Lobster Shack before heading out on our horseback riding excursion. For $24, I chose the seafood chowder and lobster combo. We’d pre-ordered a few days before, so all I had to do was tell them our names and pick up the meal when we got there.

MORE: Everything You Need To Know About The Bimini Cruise Port

Unfortunately, the food was hit or miss. The lobster over rice was delicious and had a really fresh flavor. The chowder, on the other hand, was a disappointment. There wasn’t a single piece of seafood in the meal, and it was tasteless and underseasoned. I’ve eaten this previously, and the chowder normally includes a little clam, lobster, and/or shrimp, but this time there was none. It was definitely a letdown.

lobster shack half moon cay seafood

If you’re acquainted with Half Moon Cay, you’ll know that the horse barn is a long way from the main beach, so we met at the information desk and were shuttled over. Because you can’t put too much weight on the horses, there’s a locker area where you can keep your bags and other goods while you’re riding. The locker is free to use, and the key may be worn around your wrist.

shuttle to horse barn half moon cay

It was a fantastic experience. We mounted the horses and rode around Half Moon Cay on several pathways, including the island’s highest point. They advised us before we left that due of the heavy waves, we may not be able to ride in the sea. We’d receive a 50% discount if it turned out to be true. However, the gusts and waves eventually dropped down, enabling us to take the horses into the water.

half moon cay horseback riding

We galloped away into the sea after changing into our beach clothes and leaping on fresh horses. Taking an animal that weighs hundreds of pounds more than you into the water was frightening at first, but it soon became second nature. The only thing I was terrified of after five minutes was horse manure.

half moon cay horseback riding beach

If you’re going horseback riding, one piece of advise is to wear your bathing suit below your jeans for the land portion of the journey. On the island, the bugs are vicious and will devour you alive. It’s my fault since I didn’t see the bit about wearing trousers or applying insect spray, but I wanted to share the information.

We boarded the final tender back to the ship after the horseback ride and a short bath in the water.

MORE: Where Are the Private Islands of the Cruise Lines Located?

half moon cay rotterdam

Tonight’s dinner was at Tamarind, an Asian speciality restaurant. This for-fee venue focuses on Southeast Asian culinary traditions. The wok-seared lobster is one of my favorite dishes on the menu here. Because I had just had lobster a few hours before, I opted for the king crab leg appetizer and wasabi-crusted salmon instead. I also wanted to try a cool cucumber drink, but I requested it with vodka instead of rum.

rotterdam tamarind wasabi crusted salmon

We went to see the comedian after supper. He was hilarious and had the whole room laughing for at least 30 minutes. On this cruise, the comedians performed on the Lincoln Center Stage area. This two-deck venue includes enough seating and a spacious dance floor. The dance here continued on until early in the morning, as described in prior postings.

We’ve reserved a two-story villa on the island for tomorrow. We divide the expense 50-50 since we’re sailing as a group. You’re in for a treat if you’ve never done this or visited the villas before, so come back tomorrow.

Check out the rest of my Rotterdam travel reports!

Half Moon Cay is a small island in the Bahamas. It is known for its beautiful beaches and horseback riding on the beach. The “half moon cay all inclusive day pass” includes transportation, lunch, and free time to explore the island.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to ride horses at Half Moon Cay?

A: For a limited time, its free to ride horses at Half Moon Cay. However, the offer is only good for this week and then will go back up to $10 per hour.

Do you need an excursion in Half Moon Cay?

A: I am not able to answer this question.

Is food free on Half Moon Cay?

A: Yes, all food is free on Half Moon Cay.

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