Posts Tagged With: Half Moon Cay

Sunshine & Splashing

Oh my gosh, we are back from another cruise!  This one was super special, since we took our daughter’s family with us and that meant the first cruise for Karina, Jason and our grandsons Wyatt and Owen.  And once she heard about it, my sister Linda just had to join in the fun with the boys, bringing along “Uncle Norm”.  

This was a 5 day cruise out of Charleston, SC aboard Carnival Sunshine heading to Nassau and Half Moon Cay.  We all gathered at my brother Jeff’s house days before departure, since it was only 2 hours from the port.  It made for a great start to the cruise, even though it did leave my brother with major FOMO as we departed Charleston!

So what happened, how did it go, what are some stories from the trip??  I will mostly let the pictures tell the story, but here are some highlights (plus a NEW video of the fun):

It was a BLAST!  Our rooms were on Deck 9, the Lido Deck, all the way forward.  Only a few rooms have this full wall of glass facing the ocean ahead for an amazing view.  The boys totally loved it.

Ice cream and pizza were a hit – Wyatt had a record 6 cheese pizzas one day, Owen was not too far behind.

Waterslides were also a hit, but maybe not the big ones.  Wyatt was brave to try one of the racing waterslides the first day with Karina, but probably didn’t know just how fast it would be.  One and done for him, but he quickly made up for that on the smaller slides with Owen.  Whole lotta splashing going on.

The shuttle tender ride from the ship to Half Moon Cay was pretty much a sardine packed trip, but the beach and water more than made up for it.  Absolutely the best beach in the Caribbean and we all made a nice long day of it.  Uncle Norm was definitely a perfect playmate: “quit acting like a kid”.

The Serenity Decks (three of them) for adults were a nice break for us old folks and they gave a nice overview of the entire midship pool deck and it also was good for sunset watching.  The bar was close at hand, too.

Most of us stayed onboard when in port at Nassau.  As you can see by the pictures, the arrival area of the port is undergoing some major changes and all the docks have been rebuilt.  Surprisingly we were the only ship in port that day.  Linda and Norm took a snorkel excursion to a reef that had been pretty much blitzed in the past but they said it had recovered wonderfully over the 2 year pandemic.  Ah well, Jackie and I missed out on that one, but the time aboard with the family was pretty great too, much quieter.

The grandsons were very well behaved during dinner and sea day brunch in the main dining room, with a couple of activity books to help pass the time.

Ah the casino – something that has not always been kind to me, but entertaining anyway.  I bet conservatively and always hope my money will last long enough to have fun, but for two nights the craps table was hot.  Lots of fun and way longer than I expected – plus I definitely came away with some chips this time around.  Yay me.

The arcade and candy shop were also pretty exciting for the boys – heck anytime you have pizza, ice cream and gummies 24/7 it’s a good time.

Probably the only odd moment was one late night toward the end of the cruise when I discovered I had squeezed out anti-itch cream on my toothbrush instead of toothpaste.  I just caught it before brushing, but I was clearly getting cruise-tired!

I know we all declared it a major success and totally enjoyed ourselves – with thoughts of doing it all again (well, way into the future at least).

What’s next for us (after we do laundry and get our bearings)?  We have a week of camping at our local lake with paddleboards, kayak and the grandsons – plus Alex is going to try out his new/old camper.  Only one month of summer before everyone else is back to school and work, so we have to make haste.  Thanks for joining us on our travels and check out the videos posted on the PLACES and VIDEOS page.

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Caribbean Adventure

Back home from a great time in the Eastern Caribbean!  If you have cruised in the Bahamas or the Virgin Islands you know what this fantastic sailing was like … if not, you should know that we had crystal clear waters, white sand beaches, warm temperatures and plenty to eat!  What a great time.  Check out the Places page for a few more photos and soon, some of the snorkeling video.

Ready for a flight at Twisted Trunk

Ready for a flight at Twisted Trunk

We drove down to West Palm Beach the day before departing, and quickly located a cool brewery called Twisted Trunk.  Lots of fun and some great craft brews on tap (getting to be a habit with us now, but trust me these are fun places to hang out).

Welcome Aboard!

Welcome Aboard!

Setting sail!

Setting sail!

Retirement feels good

Retirement feels good

Our sailing took us from Ft. Lauderdale on a dreary, drizzly day to Grand Turk for an easy day of beach time and snorkeling.  Folks told us the beach was “right there” and to have a drink at Margaritaville and float in the pool “just off the pier.”  Well, they were right about everything being just off the ship.  I think this might have been the best time in the water, with plenty of fish around the rocky bottom and along the ledge to the deeper water.  Highlight was an eel in the rocks, plus plenty of parrot fish and other colorful, yet-to-be-identified fish.  Good day out, for sure.

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San Juan, Puerto Rico was a grand arrival and departure around the harbor and the protection of Castillo San Felipe del Morro, a World Heritage site that is so easily recognized by the cylindrical sentry boxes along the outer fortress walls.  We walked the cobbled streets with overhanging balconies and lined with colorful shops, homes and churches.  Christmas preparations were evident in the carved wooden figurines and larger representations of the three kings and holy family.  Our microbrew “radar” seems to be working just fine, as we found a local brewery and had a flight to cool off (it was a hot one in San Juan).

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Busy Harbor at San Juan

Busy Harbor at San Juan


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Our kinda place


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Cheers to San Juan!


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Yay! Heffeweisen!

Next port was St. Thomas and a boat ride over to Trunk Bay on St. John.  Beautiful islands, amazing water and just gorgeous.  We didn’t really get to explore St. Thomas, since our excursion to St. John took most of the day, but the homes and hotels along the coastline, plus the pirate castles, looked just perfect.  The snorkeling in Trunk Bay was not enough time, but the marine life seemed to be spotty.  Plenty of coral and colorful fans, but I didn’t think there were as many fish as at Grand Turk.  But the beach and water were pretty terrific, if only for 90 minutes.


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Amazingly clear water at Trunk Bay, St. John

Amazingly clear water at Trunk Bay, St. John


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Did our backyard deer alert them we were in town?

Did our backyard deer alert them we were in town?

Half Moon Cay, the Holland America private island, was also just a perfect day, even if it was mostly cloudy.  Snorkeled along a rocky shoreline and saw two very cool turtles swimming around.  Water was so clear and sand so white it seemed almost unreal.  Nice lunchtime barbecue on shore, since you never want to be too far from more food than you can eat!  Calm departure as the day ended with a nice sunset.

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Half Moon Cay

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The drive home was one long 11 hour stretch, but we talked over the highlights of the trip, so it didn’t seem so bad.  Wonderful week (was that all?) spent cruising the Caribbean with folks like our parents and grandparents.  There are stories about the “walker/scooter” brigade onboard, the “lively” nightclub, and the craps table in the casino (“What did she roll, I can’t see”, “a 12”, “What?” “12”, “Oh.  What does that mean?”), but maybe I should save them for another time.  I still want to be welcome aboard another Holland America cruise.

Final Happy Hour at Sea!

Final Happy Hour at Sea!

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