Last week, I wrote about my day at sea aboard Nieuw Statendam. This voyage report marks the fourth and final chapter of my time aboard.
Our last port of call before reaching Ft. Lauderdale was Half Moon Cay, a private island only visited by Holland America Line and Carnival guests. While a few people who work on the island live there, 86 people commute 18 miles to and from the island for work by boat.
Before I reached the island, though, I had to eat breakfast. My travel companion, Natalie, decided to sit out breakfast so I dined with a couple of friends that I met onboard. I ate breakfast at Club Orange again, which I talked about in my first voyage report. Breakfast was quick but yummy. I ate spinach and eggs on sweet potato toast. Healthy and delicious.
This morning was different than others because Natalie and I booked an excursion. I tend not to book excursions because I like to walk around and explore, but the island is small and I felt like booking a bike tour was the best way to see it. Many in our group decided to sit on the beach all day, but I preferred to do something a bit more active.
Natalie and I left the ship around 9:30 AM to get on the tender to the island. Upon arrival, we went to the desk to check in for our bike tour. Our guide, Diana, lead us over to the bikes.
I will note that the selection of bikes was not as diverse as it could have been. Natalie and another cruise passenger had a hard time finding a bike to fit them, as they are both rather short. The other members of our tour group, myself included, are of average height and did not have any trouble finding a bike that we found comfortable.
I enjoyed the bike tour, although the pace was a bit slow for me. However, the slow pace provided a good opportunity to get a glimpse of the island. Those looking for more active excursions could choose another excursion such a combined bike and kayak tour.
We took three breaks during the bike tour. The first break allowed for a nice view of the ship on the beach, the second break gave us an opportunity to grab a drink – soda or water, and the third break gave us a chance to look at stingrays. And yes – there is a stingray excursion which allows guests a chance to swim with the animals.
After our bike ride, Natalie and I met a few friends on the beach where they had rented a clamshell. The beach was a bit crowded. Both Volendam and Nieuw Statendam were docked, so we had to make our way to the end of the beach to find a place to sit. Although the beach was crowded, it was not loud. Most people were sitting in their chairs drinking, so we had an easy time finding a place to relax in the ocean.
We made our way back to the ship in the early afternoon, as the last tender left the island at 2 PM. Natalie and I had lunch with a few travel companions by the pool. Everyone settled on something different because there are quite a few restaurants in the Lido Pool area. I ate at Dive In, the burger and hot dog joint.
After lunch, Natalie and I sipped on a cocktail and enjoyed the nice weather as we sailed out of Half Moon Cay. We spent about an hour resting after a long day of being in the sun. Before we knew it, it was time for dinner.
Dinner was at Canaletto, an Italian restaurant located inside of the Lido Market. Though the location of the restaurant seemed odd at first, it did not impact my dining experience. We started our meal with bruschetta, I then ate a veal meatball for my appetizer, beef with an assortment of vegetables for my main course, and an almond lemon tart for dessert.
The food was good, as it was everywhere else on the ship, and this dinner was a crowd favorite. What stood out to me most was the service, just as with my dinner at Rudi’s our second night aboard. Our sommelier and waitress were always willing to give us suggestions. One thing that I noticed about our group is that everyone was very eager to ask the wait staff, “What is your favorite thing on the menu?” A question which was always answered with clear and full knowledge of the menu.
After dinner, we spent our nights just as we did all the others – at B.B. King’s Blues Club. After a bit of dancing, Natalie and I headed to bed. We had to be up at 6 AM in order to be off the ship by 7 AM, so an early night was much needed.
Upon arriving at our stateroom I asked Natalie, “What has been the highlight of your trip?” Her response? “I think everything.” And I couldn’t have agreed more.