As you know, this is not really a “live from.” It has been a few days since I got back from the cruise. However, this is as I wrote it (mostly) while I was on board. I hope it still tells you about the cruise as I experienced it.
This morning we pulled into Half Moon Cay. This little island is one of Carnival Corporation’s private islands. Going to one of the cruise lines’ private islands means another beach day. For me, living in the Northernmost Caribbean, I’m spoiled by the best beaches in the world. So ordinarily, another beach day becomes another “Fun Day at Sea”. But this was no ordinary cruise and so it was no ordinary beach day.
The world-famous Maribeth of Cruise Mom Cruises (the absolutely best cruise travel agent in the universe) reserved one of the Villas on the beach. More on this in a minute. First, I have to sing the praises of Maribeth.
I’ve used a lot of travel agents through my adventures and I have to tell you that Maribeth… or just MB… is so far above all the rest, mere words can’t tell you enough. I can only tell you that if you use her for your next cruise, you will never ever go to another travel agent for a cruise.
Cruise Mom Cruises Web site: https://cruisemomcruises.com/
So… rather than another beach day, it was a day with friends munching on the snacks and taking dips in the beautiful water just steps from the villa.
I spent a little time flying my drone around the island… mostly the beach area. I say “little time” because after a few minutes, an “islander” guy wearing a “life guard” floatie thingie around his waist came up to me and said, “no drone.” I don’t know what authority he was acting on, but I complied. Well… after making another pass down the beach and a high altitude look over the island… I compiled… bringing the drone back for a perfect landing at the Villa. I’m sure I got plenty of stuff to make a nice ariel a video once I get back home. Stay tuned
A free lunch is provided on the island. About the only thing I can say about it is the lunch is enough to fill the void until you can bet back on the ship and have a Ferengie burger. There was lots of salad stuff and a couple of mystery meats. The only free drinks were iced tea, lemonade, and dispensed water. If you wanted anything else to drink… sodas, booze, etc. then you have to pay it using your sail & sign card. Note that the “Cheers” package does not work on the island.
I enjoyed the day in the Villa with friends. The water was warm, inviting and crystal clear. While the beach may not be a match for the beaches in the Northernmost Caribbean, it is one of the very best cruise ships go to.
MB invited everyone who booked the cruise through Cruise Mom Cruises to join her at the Villa. No, it wasn’t free, but we all shared the cost. In the end, MB discounted it so that it cost less than if we had gotten the villa ourselves..
The villa was a great hang-out. It comes with bottled water, sodas and snacks. The snacks included were finger food sorts of things. We just sorta “chilled” in the villa. It was still hot, even in the shade, so from time to time, we flogged ourselves in the water to cool down. The water was nice and warm warm so I spent a lot of time in there too… with a frozen concoction to help me hang on.
OH… least I forget. The villa has a hot tub. And this one was hot. It was the best hot tub of the cruise. And ummmm… MB really enjoyed it.
I should mention that if you don’t get a villa, cabana, or something like that, there is virtually no shade at the beach. There are plenty of beach recliners, but an hour in the sun and you will start to fry. No mater what you do, plenty of sun-block is the order of the day. Also, I was told to take insect repellent… but I didn’t and had no problems with anything,
The Tender Goat Rope
My earlier fears about a potential “goat rope” getting off and back on the boat would be were borne out today. Half Moon Cay doesn’t have a dock. So… there are “tenders” to take you to and from the island. There is a procedure you have to use if you want to get off the boat before noon.
To get off the boat during “rush hours” between the time we parked (about 7 AM) and noon was you had to go to a designated place and pick up tickets for you and your party. Then you wait somewhere in the ship until your number is called. I didn’t even try to get off early. I knew what that would be like. Besides, I continued to do my duty staying in the Piano Bar until it closed well past midnight and then going for pizza with fellow Piano Bar-barians.
Finally, a Diamond (and I think Platinum) perk came through. Instead of going through the tender ticketing process, Diamond (& Platinum?) folks can go to the mid-ship dining room and wait for the next tender. I didn’t get there until about 10 AM and the hoards had cleared out. It was only a few minutes until we were directed to an elevator to take us to Deck 0.
The tenders were large tenders so it did take some time to get everyone on board. That said, it only took about 25 minutes from the time I arrived at the dining room till we had our feet in the sand on Half Moon Cay.
You could tell on the tender ride to the island that the crew of the tenders was out of practice. While there was nothing unsafe, there seemed a bit of confusion among the crew. Then when we began to dock, the driver had a lot of trouble parking. It may have taken him a dozen attempts to get things lined up correctly.
Getting back to the ship was a similar Goat Rope. Mostly, it was the wait in line before boarding the tender. We left early hoping to avoid the rush and it still took about 45 minutes to board a tender. It was hot.. HOT! The waiting area was poorly controlled, so people cut in line… sorta heading us off at the pass. I don’t know what it may have been like when the hoards headed back to the ship. I suspect the wait was even longer.
I’m sure once the tender operation gets their proficiency back up, things will improve. But… since this ship was only at about 70% capacity, I fear how it might be when at or near 100%. Bring on the goats
Hummmm, I wonder why Carnival Corporation wouldn’t pay for a dock. Hummmm… could it be that shareholders are more important than customers? Naw… Carnival Corporation wouldn’t do that… would they?
Once back on board we headed for a Ferengie burger… enough to tide us over till dinner. Since the Piano Bar is dark tonight, we are only going to have drinks with friends at the Pig & Anchor. And, I intend to start early tonight on checking my eyelids for leaks.
All in all it was a very nice day on the beach at Half Moon Cay. The water was beautiful, warm, and it was a day I would be happy to do again. We sailed away right on time headed for our nest stop.