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Explore The Private Island of Half Moon Cay

(Last Updated On: December 21, 2019)

How would you spend the day if you were on a private island?

How I Spent The Day On A Private Island

In this post I am going to show you how I spent the day on the private island of Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas.

To start off, I must admit that no, I did not have this beautiful island all to myself.  Instead I shared it with thousands of other cruisers!

You see, Half Moon Cay is an island that is part of the Bahamas, but was bought by the cruise line Holland America in 1997.

But honestly, this is probably the closest I will ever come to saying “I spent a day on a private island.”

Before I tell you all about how I (and maybe you in the future!) spent a magical day on this private island I first want to welcome you to my blog and say “thank you” for stopping by!

If this is your first time to my blog, welcome! I ‘m Jane and I started Plain Jane Lifestyle as a fun creative outlet to write about travel, food, coffee and blogging!

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Because of the nearby shallow water on Half Moon Cay, the large Holland America cruise ship I was on could not dock directly to the island like it does at other islands in the Caribbean. Instead, small tender boats transport cruisers from the ship to the island of Half Moon Cay.

I initially thought that the process of boarding a small tender boat and going to the island would take a long time but to my surprise it was very quick. At this point, Holland America has this process down to a science.

Map of Half Moon Cay
Map of Half Moon Cay


First things first… claim your beach chair! The beach is lined with beach chairs to choose from. The best part is you don’t need to pay for it! Many tropical island beaches make you pay for your chair for the entire day or by the hour.

My husband and I found a great spot in the front row. We immediately through our towels and sandals on the chair to signify they were ours.


My husband and I (feet in water!)
My husband and I (feet in water!)

Time to put those feet in the ocean! We walked barefoot in the sand and straight into the ocean and to our splendor the water was surprisingly water.  I overheard other tourists talking about how the water was colder for this time of year. But honestly, in comparison to the Oregon ocean’s where I live this was like bath water to me.

Beach on Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
Beach on Half Moon Cay, Bahamas


Long walk on the beach anyone?  Nathan and I set off down the stretch of sand and took in the stunning beauty of this small private island.  As we walked with the ocean to our left, we took in the sights of a few restaurants and cabanas to our right.

Houses to rent for the day in Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
Houses to rent for the day in Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

There are options to rent our large cabanas and even part of an open air house for the day!

Captain Morgan’s Bar and Restaurant on Half Moon Cay, Bahamas

I was captivated by the cool Captain Morgan’s bar/restaurant that sits directly at the edge of the sand dunes. It’s built in the shape of an old ship, and inside you can take the stairs to the roof top deck for a birds eye view of the island.

Captain Morgan's Restaurant & Bar

A bit further down the beach…

You will come to another restaurant and bar called The Lobster Shack! This establishment offers, well, you guessed it: Lobster! As well as a plethora of drink options, if you are so inclined.


Feet, lounging on beach chair

Time to relax and read on the beach!  Is anything more delightful than kicking back on a beach lounger with your favorite book while listening to the crashing waves? This is almost heaven!


Time to cool off with a dip in the ocean! The water was crystal clear! Often my husband and I would some tropical angel fish swim by or graze our leg. I really wish I had my own snorkel gear so I could just take in the pretty fish at my leisure.


Starting to get hungry! Earlier in the morning when Nathan and I had taken our first stroll on the beach and had noticed the Captain Morgan’s and Lobster Shack restaurants we had already started to plan our lunch.

But then our minds changed after overhearing another traveler talk about the free BBQ lunch going on at the picnic area. We learned that the cruise ship arranges a free lunch to all passengers.

Our ears perked up immediately! Did they say “free?”

You know that feeling when you are vacationing and towards the end of your trip you are scrounging for change at the airport departure gate to get one cup of coffee because you spent pretty much all your money?  We’ve all been there.

With that in mind, and with Half Moon Cay being the last stop of our cruise, we decided it was a good idea to take up a free lunch offer. Despite the fact that it would have great to get some lobster from the Lobster Shack, or to have the cool experience of eating lunch inside of Captain Morgan’s ship, we decided to go with free BBQ!

Picnic area for the BBQ
Picnic area for the BBQ

The BBQ lunch was delicious!

I just love the smell of grill on the beach. It conjures up happy childhood memories of summer time fun!

Holland America went above and beyond to serve a great lunch that day. The lines moved fast and you had your choice of fish tacos, burgers, hot dogs, potato salad, fruit salad, and ice cream in a cone! Basically the perfect beach day food.


Time to walk off that lunch! Nathan and I strolled part of the 2,500 acre property on a nice walking trail along the beach. It was peaceful to have the sunshine on your face while listening to birds chirp.

me on the stairs

We walked by a basketball court, although we didn’t’ stop to shoot hoops, we both thought it was cool that it was an option for those that wanted to partake in a non-beach activity.

Beautiful landscape on Half Moon Cay
Beautiful landscape on Half Moon Cay

I must mention that although Nathan and I did not book an extra excursion for the day, it was absolutely still an option if you wanted to. A few popular things that others did was to go horseback riding on the beach or to take a boat out to a coral reef to snorkel with guides.


We browsed a few souvenir shops that were opened near the entrance of the island.  Neither of us purchased anything, and we decided to head back to our beach loungers for a bit more fun in the sun! We returned to our books, reapplied sun screen and relaxed.

Beautiful beach of Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
Beautiful beach of Half Moon Cay, Bahamas


Back in the water one last time! We needed to savor every moment of this gorgeous beach day as possible because we had to return to the ship at 2:30pm at the absolute latest.  You could certainly tell that a lot of travelers had already made their way back to the ship as the beach seemed more deserted than it was just two hours prior.


At last forced ourselves to come to grips with the fact that our time on this beautiful oasis was coming to an end.  We packed up our beach bags and returned to the cruise ship via small tender boat and while waving goodbye to our beautiful private island of Half Moon Cay!

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