Half Moon Cay, also known as Little San Salvador Island, is located approximately 100 miles southeast of Nassau and makes up one of almost 700 islands that constitutes the archipelago of The Bahamas.

Located halfway between Eleuthera and Cat Island, Half Moon Cay is a private island that boasts exclusive beauty and astonishing surroundings. But, unlike the private islands of movieland’s greatest antagonists, you can visit the stunning paradise of Half Moon Cay courtesy of Carnival Cruises and their subsidiaries:

Holland America Line
AIDA Cruises
P&O Cruises

Half Moon Cay: A Brief History

Historians believe that Half Moon Cay remained uninhabited before the early 1800s, until the island was gifted by the British monarch (possibly Queen Victoria) as a reward to ‘upstanding citizens’.

These Crown-land grants were common at the time, as a method for encouraging pirates to use their ‘skillful talents’ as privateers in the name of the Empire.

There are claims that a small settlement resided on Half Moon Cay, or Little San Salvador Island as it was known then, evidenced by the present ruins of old limestone huts at Lighthouse Point – the hillside visited by tourists when taking the popular nature tour of the island.

Although it’s not exactly known when the settlements were abandoned, the island was uninhabited and devoid of running water when Holland America Line signed off on a 99-year lease for the land in December 1996. Purchased by HAL for US$6 million, the money was split between no-less than 150 individuals, right down to the descendants of the original landowners (upon gifting from British Royalty).

The island’s name was changed – from Little San Salvador Island to Half Moon Cay – after the contract was signed to reflect the impressive two-mile-long, crescent-shaped beach located at the west end of the island.

However, there was another reason for such a name.

Half Moon was the name of the ship that belonged to 17th-century explorer Henry Hudson, and it is this vessel which features upon the Holland America logo.

When HAL purchased the island, it (naturally) came without any facilities. HAL invested more than US$16 million creating the infrastructure to covert the unfrequented island into a private beach resort; to be exclusively used by cruise passengers.

Officially opened by the Bahamian Prime Minister – Hubert Ingraham – on December 12, 1997, Holland America Line has since been praised by the Prime Minister for the environmental care taken to create a cruise port from such a historically significant island.

What Activities are Available on Half Moon Cay?

Excursions to Half Moon Cay often have to be booked as an extra, with a huge range of activities on offer. These include deep-sea fishing, nature walks, and glass-bottom boat rides. There are also courts available for those who enjoy volleyball, basketball, shuffleboard, and horseshoes.

You can rent a number of water accessories for playing around on the beach, alongside sailboats, windsurfers, and kayaks. Or you can simply enjoy some sunbathing, swimming, scuba diving, or snorkelling. Some of the most popular options are jet-skiing and cycling, while the fitness trail (with exercise stations) and horseback riding are in high demand.