About Half Moon Cay
Little San Salvador Island, also called Half Moon Cay, is a tiny private island in the Bahamas. Accessible by cruise ship, it’s known for the long, crescent-shaped Half Moon Beach. Luxury cabanas dot the beachfront, which gives way to trail-lined country rich in birdlife. Half Moon Lagoon Aqua Park has water slides and playgrounds. Stingray Cove, a lagoon enclosure, is home to tame stingrays.
Half Moon Cay is pronounced Half Moon KEY (not CAY, despite the spelling) and is owned by Holland America which is owned by Carnival Corp.
Our time in Half Moon Cay! (Blog entries)
Arriving in Half Moon Cay
Half Moon Cay is a tender port, so you will anchor off-shore and take a small boat onto the island. Once you arrive at the island, you will enter at a few little tents of people trying to sell things from the neighboring island of Eleuthera. There is also a little hut to sign up for island excursions, and you can go straight to the beach from there. There are plenty of lounge chairs you can pick from, or you can rent clam-shells. There is also a little water area for children.
Around lunch time, there is a free buffet that you can eat at and enjoy yourself. They have hamburgers, hot dogs, BBQ, fruits, you name it. You need to go earlier rather than later because they do run out of food.
There is a wooden ship bar here you can grab your drinks at if you wish to drink while you’re relaxing on the island.
The sand is baby powder and the water is a perfect temperature and is as clear as your swimming pool. Half Moon Cay is amazing.
One thing to keep in mind, to get a good seat you need to get there early. People with excursions get priority tendering, meaning they will get to the island first. Personally we have never been to the island where we did not have a villa or cabana. They are a must for us.
The villas are amazing. They are 2 stories tall. They include 4 lounge chairs (2 upstairs, 2 downstairs), a kitchen table with chairs, a refrigerator, a hot tub, a shower, a bathroom, floats and snorkel gear for everyone in your party as well as floats for the ocean. They are air conditioned. They also provide you with enough chips, salsa, fruit, water and soda for everyone in your party also.
The villas cost $599.99 for the day and can be booked under the Half Moon Cay excursions from your Carnival cruise manager.
THESE BOOK UP FAST SO BE SURE TO BOOK ONE AS SOON AS YOU BOOK YOUR CRUISE. In my experience, they usually book up within 2-3 days of going on sale, about a year-18 months prior to your cruise.
The cabanas are great also if you don’t want to spend the money on a villa. The cabanas come with 2 lounge chairs, an outdoor shower, an air conditioner and a refrigerator. They also have a table and chairs and are provided chips, salsa, fruit, water and sodas as well as the floats. The cabanas are very nice also.
The villas cost $359.99 for the day and can be booked under the Half Moon Cay excursions from your Carnival cruise manager.
THESE BOOK UP FAST SO BE SURE TO BOOK ONE AS SOON AS YOU BOOK YOUR CRUISE. In my experience, they usually book up THE SAME DAY of going on sale, about a year-18 months prior to your cruise.
Cabana & Villa Information
The cabanas and villas both are numbered. You cannot reserve a number when you book them. However when you embark your ship, go straight to guest services and reserve your cabana number. You will also tell them then what size show you wear for your snorkel gear, and what type of sodas you want at your villa/cabana.
When selecting your cabana or villa, the numbers/letters start off low. Cabanas are numbered, villas are lettered. If you want to be near the loud music and large crowd of people, then you want to pick a low number/letter for your cabana/villa. 1-5 and A,B,C are close to all of that. You’ll be right in the mix of the action. If you want more seclusion and serenity, then pick a higher number/letter. Cabanas 6-15 are your best bet for that, with 15 being the better end of the scale. The villas, D & E are the furthest away.
One thing to keep in mind that while you have your own private cabana/villa, the area right in front of you is open to anyone. There could be a party of 10 people come sit in the lounge chairs right in front of your location.
Half Moon Cay and Cheers!
One thing that’s confusing to new cruisers is how their Cheer’s (drink) package works. A lot of people are under the misconception that everything is included, everywhere. It’s not. Once you leave the ship, your drink package is invalid. This is no different at Half Moon Cay. If you want a drink at Half Moon Cay, you’re going to pay for it. Your drink package does not work on the island, so be prepared. Also if you want to shop on the island (limited), then you need to bring cash. The locals do not accept your sail & sign card.
The prices on this list are from 2018 so they could have increased slightly. If you are in Half Moon Cay and get an updated price list to send me, it will be greatly appreciated. Otherwise, if you rent one of the above items and the price is different, please let me know so I can update this list. Thank you!