Tips for Half Moon Cay!?

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Private Islands
Disney's Castaway Cay, Carnival Corp.'s Grand Turk & Half Moon Cay, RCI's Labadee & Coco Cay, Princess Cays etc.
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#1
Western Massachusetts
366 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
We are leaving on the Miracle on Sept 29th and I have been searching for tips, reviews, anything about Half Moon Cay...I've seen some pictures and the beach looks pretty crowded. Are there more quiet areas if we walk a little? Is there a snorkling area where we can use our own equipment? We cruised with RCCL 3 years ago and Labadee, Haiti was absolutely heaven! I found so many helpful hints on these boards back then... so now I am looking for my fellow cruisers to help me out! Thanks!!
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#2
Texas
2,254 Posts
Joined Aug 2005
Originally posted by WMQueenie
We are leaving on the Miracle on Sept 29th and I have been searching for tips, reviews, anything about Half Moon Cay...I've seen some pictures and the beach looks pretty crowded. Are there more quiet areas if we walk a little? Is there a snorkling area where we can use our own equipment? We cruised with RCCL 3 years ago and Labadee, Haiti was absolutely heaven! I found so many helpful hints on these boards back then... so now I am looking for my fellow cruisers to help me out! Thanks!!
It didn't seem crowded to me.

You can snorkel right off the beach but there aren't very many fish there. We took a Carnival snorkel excursion that was on the other side of the island and we saw lots of coral and fish.

Bring a camera. It is beautiful. There are some walking trails and water toys to climb on.

I would like to visit HMC again some day. The water was as clear as our swimming pool.

It took a long time to get back on the ship because they didn't have very many boats running. The lines were long.
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#3
Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA!
4,106 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Half Moon Cay does the tender to get you ashore. If you want to be onthe beach as early as possible you will need to be in line waiting for a tender sticker as soon as you arrive as it can take a while and if you want to be on the beach by 10 on a 9am arrival you will have to be waiting by 9am. All passengers with excursions get off the ship first.

The further you go down the beach the quieter it is. The families with kids tend to stay closer to the kids area.

Half Moon Cay is amazing, I love it there, so much that I could stay there forever!
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#4
Charlotte, NC
10,127 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
Crowds are not at problem. The beach is huge, and the sand is the softest anywhere!

If you like to hike, there are lots of trails.
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#5
5 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Just got back yesterday from our cruise on the Pride. Half Moon Cay is Gorgeous!!! We booked a cabana as soon as we got on the boat the day we departed (We had #7, yellow). It was pricey, but IMO, worth it. But even if you don't book one, you will absolutely love it. We snorkeled but didnt see many fish. The water was crystal clear and it should not be crowded at all.

I hope you have a great trip!
#6
Illinois
1,541 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
Get a cabana! We weren't sure if it was worth it, but it really was. You have to book in once on board at the excursion desk and they sell out fast since there are only 14 of them. we had #7 which was away from the crowd, but still close to the bathrooms and the food.

Snorkeling isn't the greatest right at the beach, but there are a few fish to be seen if you go toward the far end where there are fewer people in the water. doesn't get clouded up as much.

Beautiful beach and very relaxing. AND, there are NO peddlers trying to sell you trinkets!
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#7
Fredericksburg, va. USA
82,503 Posts
Joined May 2001
Most folks won't walk any further than needed....they will stop at the first chair they come to...keep on walking...you'll find some less crowded spots.
Unless there's a really good reason to have a cabana, you really don't need to spend all that money...there's shade and space...and you don't HAVE to stay all day long. When you've reached your "limit" of sun and fun, you can head back to the ship...
Maybe it's just me, but this "private Island" day is included in your cruise fare...I really object to spending a couple hundred dollars more for something that's not really necessary!
#8
Milwaukee, WI 53201
13,793 Posts
Joined Mar 2003
Originally posted by cb at sea
Maybe it's just me, but this "private Island" day is included in your cruise fare...I really object to spending a couple hundred dollars more for something that's not really necessary!
You're on vacation. You only live once, and not going to take it with you.
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#9
Phoenix
347 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
Can anyone tell me the cost of the cabana's. A few of us on our roll call were talking about getting one but I am unsure of the price.

Thanks in advance!
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#10
Charleston, SC
4,648 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
Originally posted by marvlgirl
Can anyone tell me the cost of the cabana's. A few of us on our roll call were talking about getting one but I am unsure of the price.

Thanks in advance!
On Carnival it is either $225 or $249. (seen both reported.) For up to four people.

Can let you know definitely after we hopefully get one a week from tomorrow. (wish me luck)

I too was hesitant about the price, but after reading hundreds of reports on the cabanas, I have come to see the value for a long, hot day at the beach.

Bill
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#11
Milwaukee, WI 53201
13,793 Posts
Joined Mar 2003
Originally posted by marvlgirl
Can anyone tell me the cost of the cabana's. A few of us on our roll call were talking about getting one but I am unsure of the price.

Thanks in advance!
The latest reported Carnival price was $225. HAL is $299.
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#13
35 Posts
Joined Aug 2005
Rent a cabana and pack enough sunscreen. The sun is intense! We were using SPF50 then SPF70 and although we didn't burn we still got a dark tan. Luckily if you rent a cabana you will have much needed shade from the sun and the misting fan is great. If you venture off on the trails you will see some amazing tropical foliage. You will also see and hear strange tropical birds, packs of wild black-feathered chickens, and many small lizards.

We just came back from Half Moon Cay two weeks ago and rented Cabana #4 Orange. It was at the edge of where the crowds start to thin out and very close to the BBQ pavillion and the bathrooms. It was our best cruise stop and well worth the $225 that we spent. The island is beautiful and we felt like royalty for the day. Cabana renters get to board the first tender off the ship and there is a shuttle waiting for you that will drive you to your cabana.



The cabana came with an air conditioner, table set for four, two lounge chairs, shower, large misting fan, 4 towels, 4 floating mats, and 4 sets of snorkeling gear. They also give you an iced cooler full of sodas(8) and bottled water(8). Three platters of snacks including chips, salsa, guacamole, fruits, and vegetables. (Note: when you book the cabana from the excursion desk they ask what kind of sodas you want and what sizes for the snorkeling fins)

The cabanas do go fast so if you want to rent one I suggest you get to the embarkation terminal early. We arrived about 30 minutes after the doors opened and were in zone 4. As soon as we got on ship I rushed to the excursion desk and there were only 4 cabanas left. Enjoy!
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#15
Johnstown, PA
203 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Was there last week on Miracle, it was simply heaven! Best place I have ever been...so relaxing. We rented #12 (yellow) took some great pics that I will post up later. It was not crowded down near us and we saw alot of the carnival crew cutting loose.
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#16
Toronto
90 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Anyone been there end of November? What is the weather like then? I've heard the water is pretty cold, but I'm fine with cold water. Are there many cloudy days? I'm hoping it'll be sunny so I can see that turquoise water looking it's best!

Also when we're there, there will be 2 ships, Westerdam, and one other Holland America one...how far down the beach do you need to walk to get away from the crowds?

Are there chairs all the way down the beach, or should I be prepared to be laying in full sand?
#17
Gilbertsville, PA
3,185 Posts
Joined Oct 2003
Originally posted by bettacanuck
Anyone been there end of November? What is the weather like then? I've heard the water is pretty cold, but I'm fine with cold water. Are there many cloudy days? I'm hoping it'll be sunny so I can see that turquoise water looking it's best!

Also when we're there, there will be 2 ships, Westerdam, and one other Holland America one...how far down the beach do you need to walk to get away from the crowds?

Are there chairs all the way down the beach, or should I be prepared to be laying in full sand?


How crowded it is depends on what ship is sharing the stop. We were there on the Westerdam and also had the Maasdam at HMC and it wasn't too bad. However if it is the Westerdam and one of the other Vista class ships or the Eurodam it might be a bit crowded.

The chairs are mostly at the tender dock end of the beach, but you can grab some and move them on down to a les crowded stretch. The real issue isn't the beach as it tends to thin out pretty quickly...Most folks just plunk down close to the beginning. The effect of the crowding comes when it's time to line up for lunch and when you need to get in line to tender back to the ship.

We've only been there in January, but the weather and water were fine then. I would think November can only be better! However we grew up going to beaches in New England so any water temp above 60 or so is warm!
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#18
Toronto
90 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Originally posted by K&RCurt
How crowded it is depends on what ship is sharing the stop. We were there on the Westerdam and also had the Maasdam at HMC and it wasn't too bad. However if it is the Westerdam and one of the other Vista class ships or the Eurodam it might be a bit crowded.

The chairs are mostly at the tender dock end of the beach, but you can grab some and move them on down to a les crowded stretch. The real issue isn't the beach as it tends to thin out pretty quickly...Most folks just plunk down close to the beginning. The effect of the crowding comes when it's time to line up for lunch and when you need to get in line to tender back to the ship.

We've only been there in January, but the weather and water were fine then. I would think November can only be better! However we grew up going to beaches in New England so any water temp above 60 or so is warm!
Thanks so much for the info! I do belive it'll be another Vista class ship, so I guess crowding may be an issue, but frankly, I'll be so happy to be there that it won't bother me too much
#19
Fort Smith
269 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
Originally posted by bettacanuck
Anyone been there end of November? What is the weather like then? I've heard the water is pretty cold, but I'm fine with cold water. Are there many cloudy days? I'm hoping it'll be sunny so I can see that turquoise water looking it's best!

Also when we're there, there will be 2 ships, Westerdam, and one other Holland America one...how far down the beach do you need to walk to get away from the crowds?

Are there chairs all the way down the beach, or should I be prepared to be laying in full sand?

We were there last November and the water was great. Enjoy your cruise.
#20
Fort Myers, Florida
4,038 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
Just got back from HMC......

We rented a cabana...put it on our S&S and listed a selection of drinks, and we shared it with everyone on our roll call.....people came and went or stayed all day, no one polices the place and we all chipped in $$....it was awesome We had #8....GREAT LOCATION....not crowded but near a bathroom and not far from the food...although with the snacks etc....you were not that hungry.....

We did not have to wait for a tender or get a ticket...we were ready to get off as soon as she was docked and just walked right on....they didn't even ask if we were VIP or had a cabana......it was awesome and the day was magnificant.......I wish I was still there.

To all of you with the trip still ahead....I am jealous....but wish you all a great time.

Lee