Little San Salvador- aka Half Moon Cay

Little San Salvador is just to the north and a bit east of Cat Island, just a few hours’ cruise. Once owned by Norwegian Cruise Lines, it is now owned by Carnival, and used as a private island playground for cruise ships from Carnival as well as the other brands they own including Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, and fathom in North America. The Cruise Lines call the Island Half Moon Cay, so if you’ve been on a Bahamas cruise and did a shore visit at Half Moon Cay, this is that place!  We arrived in the afternoon after catching a few nice mahi on an otherwise uneventful cruise. As we arrived, a Holland ship was reboarding their guests to leave. As most of the cruise guide information relates, as long as there is no cruise ship in the harbor, cruisers are welcome to anchor, but there is conflicting information whether or not cruisers are permitted to visit the island.

We did go ashore to explore a bit, and check out the facility. We encountered some maintenance crew at a distance, but no one seemed too interested in our presence. We enjoyed a short walk, albeit a bit uncomfortable suspecting we might be run off by security! The island is quite delightful, very well kept, nicely landscaped and spotlessly devoid of litter and junk in contrast to what’s typical of the majority of the Bahamas. The island has quite a bit of infrastructure with docks for ship tenders, horseback riding facilities, jet skis in a sheltered lagoon, many walking paths, some cottages, and a beautiful crescent beach with a huge bar in the form of a pirate ship. It’s about as close to a “Bahamas experience” as can be expected considering the sheer numbers of people who are herded onto it and hours later, back to the ship.

Since the ship departed, we were able to anchor overnight. It was OK, if a bit rolly. We deployed the “flopper stopper”, a big help to attenuate the roll to a more comfortable level. We were awakened by the approach of a work boat, one of the type that is used to service oil rigs and ferry personnel back and forth, about 60 ft, lots of power and throws a monster wake. Even Bella Vita at 58 ft. was rolled quite a bit. Well, the approach of the crew boat signaled the arrival of a ship, so time to go. The crew boat made its way into the basin at the Half Moon Cay facility, and discharged its contingent of crew. Apparently there is crew that is ferried in from Eleuthra to the facility in advance of the ship’s arrival. When the ship arrives, the first tenders bring ship’s crew ashore to man the facilities, then the passengers follow. It is a well-orchestrated process, and considering the passengers spend only around 4-6 hours ashore, there’s a lot of effort expended to make that shore time happen. But for those readers who’ve been there, and those who have heard about Half Moon Cay, we can agree it is a beautiful spot, its beach rivals any in the Bahamas, and the grounds are better maintained than any we’ve seen in other Bahamian resorts.

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