Here are my tips for Half Moon Cay if you stop there on a Carnival Cruise.
1. Rent the shade. They say they are for two lounge chairs, but you can fit three in there. The water is cool and there’s a nice breeze, but the sun is still brutal. Take breaks in the shade.
2. Bring lots of waterproof sunscreen and reapply often. Don’t do the spray kind. The breeze will blow it everywhere, but on your skin. Found this out the hard way last year when I thought I was protected and wound up with a weird, splattered sunburn because the spray only sporadically made contact with my skin.
3. Bring a large reusable water bottle. Lemonade, tea and water are provided at the barbecue, but it’s a bit of a walk from the beach. Fill up a large water bottle to keep with you at the beach.
4. Bring your own snorkel stuff. You can pick it up at Walmart or Target for cheaper than they rent on the island. Pack beach toys and floaties for little ones if you want. The sand is great for digging.
5. If it starts to look stormy, head back to the boat. If the waters get rough, the trip back on the smaller tender boat is harsh. Princess and I got stuck in this situation last year and were tossing back and forth in the waves waiting for the tender to attach to the ship for what felt like an eternity. We went back this year when we saw dark clouds, but others were stuck in the tender for nearly an hour.
I don’t think I’d do a cruise if it didn’t have a private island day. It’s just so calm and relaxing. Even though we live a short drive from the Atlantic ocean, the Bahamas is so different from the east coast of Florida both in water and sand. I was amazed at the difference between Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay – and even Half Moon Cay and Nassau.