Tag Archives: maasdam cruise tour

Half Moon Cay Part II

Half Moon Cay-3

Thanks to HAL’s Digital Workshop, I can show it to you now

I also provide much more detail about where and what HAL’s Half Moon Cay is. The real name of the 2,400-acre is Little San Salvador, which Holland America purchased in 1997 and shares with some Carnival Cruises.

This was an uninhabited island, 17 from the nearest landfall. With nine miles of beach, the island is little developed except in a 45-acre section bordering the mile-long crescent-shaped bay near the tender dock,. There is no cruise dock here.

The Half Moon Cay name is based not only on the crescent shape of the beach here but Holland America’s logo, which depicts explorer Henry Hudson’s ship, the Half Moon. From my point of view, they could just as well name it Paradise Beach or any combination of descriptive terms and they would be accurate.

I’ve seen most of the Caribbean’s major beaches and many out-of-the-way ones, so I feel qualified to say this one is truly spectacular, no hype.

Since we visit Half Moon Cay almost back to back, there to Ft. Lauderdale and then back again, I’ll wait to describe the facilities in that post. Let shut up and let these images show you the island.

Half Moon Cay-4   Half Moon Cay-11

Half Moon Cay-9   Half Moon Cay-6

Half Moon Cay-5   Half Moon Cay-7

   Half Moon Cay-14   Half Moon Cay-15

Half Moon Cay-12   Half Moon Cay-22

Half Moon Cay-23   Half Moon Cay-27

None of these images do justice to the beach.  Will try to do better today.

Martinique, Well It IS a Rain Forest

But it also can rain anywhere, all day

It’s me, Linda, here to tell you about our trip to  Botanical Gardens of Balta on Martinique. 

It is a dark and stormy morning as we disembark the Maasdam to find our guides for our first ship-sponsored shore excursion.  I come armed with two umbrellas and a rain jacket to hex away any threat of liquid sunshine.

After standing around waiting for what seemed to be much longer than it is we’re escorted to an awaiting tour bus.  The bus seats are comfortable though they won’t recline and the AC works excellently. Everyone locates a seat and the journey began.  And so did the rain. 

Our guide quickly renames the tour to “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” trying to dissuade any bad attitudes in our group–her “sweeties,” she calls us.  All of us sweeties turn out to be real troopers. 

The Balta gardens are located at the edge of the rain forest but it’s not raining when we arrive and make our way down the steep parking lot to the garden entrance. An old Creole stone house serves as an entryway. A comfortable entryway it is, too, with rattan furniture in the sitting area that opens to a veranda and the terraced gardens in the back.  

Down the steps we go where a concrete path discretely wound through a tropical canopy of flowering plants and trees.  The foliage is amazing. Elephant ear plants are almost as large as that of a small elephant.  Unfortunately, it starts to rain almost immediately. Tim heads back to the porch, since he only has an umbrella but asks that I stick with the tour. 

This happens to be my first day using our new video camera and I am determined to get some good footage even in these conditions.  The term “come hell or high water “ comes to mind but after waiting about 15 minutes for those ahead of me to maneuver their way carefully down the steep, slippery slope,  I change my mind.

The gentleman in front of me turns around and I can tell by the look in his eye he too is planning to escape from our guide, something of a control freak.  I stare at him as water drips off the hood of my rain jacket, the camera bag tightly clutched beneath it.

I announce, “I’m bolting.” He simply nods and follows me back the porch where I locate Tim photographing almost a dozen hummingbirds eating from a feeder at the edge of the verandah, well out of the rain. I am able to get some amazing footage of those beautiful tiny birds.

Suddenly the rain seems like it has been a blessing in disguise.  For as soon as the others began returning, the birds promptly leave. We never would have noticed them or the birdfeeders without the cloudburst.

  by Linda O’Keefe