Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
Carnival Cruise Line's private, 2,400-acre Bahamas island — also visited by Holland America Line ships — has a 2-mile, crescent-shaped beach where you can frolic in soft sands, dip your feet in clear blue sea, enjoy a cold rum drink in a hammock under a swaying palm tree, or indulge in an open-air massage. You'll also find lots of natural attractions on this mostly undeveloped swath.
What We Love
Horseback Riding: Book an excursion to the corral, where you can saddle up for a group horseback ride on winding trails and in the sand and water.
Weddings: The island has a pretty, little, wooden chapel where couples can wed or renew their vows (your cruise line will take care of the details, for a fee).
Best Known For
Overwater Adventure: There are opportunities to kayak and experience glass-bottom boat tours, but if you're looking for less sedate pursuits, you can ride personal watercraft around a special course.
Bird-Watching: The island, formerly known as Little San Salvador, is mostly wild and has a bird sanctuary operated by the Bahamian National Trust. Bring your binoculars and hike or bike the bird-watching trails.
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Who It's Best For
Beach Lovers: The idea here is a perfect day at the beach, for all ages. Club HAL kids program activities and a multilevel aqua park keep the younger set occupied, while thatched roof bars add to the adult social scene.
Nature Lovers: This is the best of the cruise line-owned private islands in terms of nature experiences, especially bird-watching and horseback riding.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Be Patient: Everyone has to take a small boat from the ship to shore and back, and that means lines.
It's Quite a Scene: Many passengers get off the ship, so you won't exactly be alone on the beach. Head to the very end of the strip for a little more peace and quiet.
Fran Golden is a Cleveland-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for USA Today.