5 Night Cruise to the Bahamas, visiting Half Moon Cay and Nassau
Today we arrived at Half Moon Cay, Holland America’s private beach island resort. Since Carnival owns Holland America, they get to use it too. Half Moon Cay has white sandy beaches, lovely blue water and, of course, calypso music. Lots of calypso music. So much calypso music. (Have I mentioned that they play lots of calypso music??)
The D’Andrea clan boarded the tender (which was broadcasting – yes – calypso music) around 11am and headed to the island. Some advice: Unless you are going on an organized shore excursion, go a little later to the island for two benefits. 1) No line getting onto the tender, and 2) You very likely don’t have to pay for one of those “clamshell” beach shades. (Earlier arrivals paid $17.) When asked where we could rent one, the islanders replied: “Just take one, they are all paid for already.” So we did!
I forgot to pack Lex’s sandcastle building pails (!) so he decided he just wanted to play in the ocean water. It was so lovely! Grandpa and Joe spent a lot of time with Lex while Grandma and I stayed in the shade. However, it soon became very hot so I ended up going into the water for a little bit to cool off. Perfect weather, cool breeze, refreshing drinks and, oh yeah, more calypso music than they knew what to do with.
One thing I did not like about Half Moon Cay was the Island BBQ offered to the cruise passengers. The menu included salads, chicken, burgers, hot dogs, and basic desserts. It wasn’t the selection of food so much as it not being that tasty. Now, I know what a decent picnic should taste like. This was not it! They need to take care not to overcook the food, offer trays to carry said food, move the beverages closer to the buffet line, and – please – get some real rolls for the burgers and hot dogs. Seriously. Those enriched store-bought rolls for the meats were just awful!
After a day in the sun, we got cleaned up and ready for the evening. Dinner was fine and everyone enjoyed their meal. Toward the end, the waiters decided to dance for us. You see, singing in Italian the previous day wasn’t enough, so they danced to “Jai Ho” from the movie “Slumdog Millionaire”.
OK, now here is a little secret you might not know. In addition to being a cruise agent, I am also a certified dance instructor and have been teaching at night for over twenty years. These past few weeks, I happen to be teaching my advanced jazz girls a routine to “Jai Ho” so, when the song came on, I started doing the arm movements while seated.
Naturally, one of the waiters saw me and invited me to dance with the rest of them.
So there I was, doing a Bollywood routine with a group of Indonesian, Eastern European, and South American waiters in the middle of the Sensation dining room during dessert. After applause from passengers around me, I returned to my table to hear my nine year-old son Lex declare, “Mom, I don’t know you.” LOL! It was a fun moment for all of us.
That night, we went to our Carnival past passenger cocktail party. This is a standard event on many cruise lines where they offer all returning passengers complimentary cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, musical entertainment, and a chance to win some nice gifts. We didn’t win anything, but we had a nice time and enjoyed ourselves. We also got to watch Joe’s mom dance on stage, with about a hundred of her closest friends … to (gasp!) the Electric Slide.
After the cocktail party, I decided to play some poker in the casino while the rest of the gang left to watch game five of the World Series up by the dessert bar. We parted ways and I spent the next three hours playing all variations of poker. I truly love playing cards but I love it even more when I am on the ocean. I won a little bit over the course of the evening so, in the eyes of the gambling gods, that is considered winning big.
I returned to the cabin to see Joe and Lex, now back from upstairs, watching the end of game five. I wish Carnival offered the game on a super big screen like many other cruise lines do, but I think because this is an older ship, they just haven’t gotten around to that upgrade yet. (Perhaps soon! We hear this ship is going into dry dock in early 2010 for a several million dollar renovation.)
Tomorrow is a stop in Nassau, Bahamas. We will not debark this time around as we have been here before, we’ve already pet the dolphins, played with the stingrays, and visited the beaches. Hopefully many people will go ashore though. Then the on-board pools – if they aren’t closed for cleaning – will be empty for us to use! (Also, we simply have to try out the water slide.) More tomorrow.