CruiseJournal: Nieuw Amsterdam – Day 2 – Half Moon Cay

Morning: I woke up around 7 am to the bright, warm rays of Bahamian sun streaming in through our balcony windows. I quickly made my way to the balcony and looked forward, catching a glimpse of Half Moon Cay’s crystal blue water. The tenders had already begun making their way over to our ship, so I quickly got ready for the day and quickly grabbed a bite to eat in the Lido Restaurant. My morning began with a tasty strawberry crepe and a small side of home fry potatoes.

hmcEarly morning: With a glass of orange juice in hand, I made my way down to the gangway, where the tenders were being loaded. After a short, but choppy ride across the waters of the harbor, our tender was offloaded at the foot of the island’s fortress plaza. Our shore excursion was coming up quickly, so we made our way over to our meeting point in the water sports harbor.

Afternoon: Just as most of the ship was making their way ashore, our shore excursion group was being prepped by Captain Tracy and Mario, who would be leading our snorkeling excursion for the day. We were all issued fins and our snorkeling gear. We then boarded our small speedboat for Treasure Chest Island, a small island located just north of Half Moon Cay. The trip to Treasure Chest Island was around 25 minutes, but an exhilarating 25 minutes nonetheless. Our small speedboat fought the waves and wind head on, crashing down and sending small waves into our speedboat. Soon, the waters began to calm as we approached Treasure Chest Island. We maneuvered between a number of reefs and tied up to a buoy in a small blue bay. Very quickly, our instructors were moving us from the speedboat into the warm, fish filled waters of the Bahamas. I quickly jumped in and took in a mouth full of sea water through my breathing tube. After clearing the tube and adjusting my breathing pace, I began to calmly float over multiple reefs, teeming with colorful fish. Floating along the coast of Treasure Chest Island only became more relaxing as I got into the groove of breathing and directing myself. I found peace and serenity in the underwater world, only hearing the steady chhhh-woahhhhh of my breathing through the tube. The warm water, the colorful fish, and the relaxing nature of floating through the blue waters created for a relaxing and enjoyable time for our entire group. Soon, it was time to head back ashore and we boarded our speedboat for the trip back to the harbor. Our trip back was again an exhilarating, exciting trip for all. Once we arrived back in the harbor, it was time to say goodbye to Half Moon Cay and board the tender to return to the Nieuw Amsterdam.  Sailing along the island, we weaved goodbye to the beautiful, serene island of Half Moon Cay.

I WISHEarly evening: The evening kicked off with the first of three Dancing with the Stars At Sea eliminations rounds. 15 guests, one from each Holland America ship, showed off their best moves for the celebrity judges and roughly 1,500 of their fellow guests. The competition was filled with a number of very talented and charismatic dancers. We were kept in suspense of the 10 dancers who will advance to tomorrow’s elimination competition, but the entire ship waits patiently.

Evening: Tonight our press group was dining in Canaletto, the ship’s Italian specialty restaurant. The restaurant’s philosophy and style has changed substantially since my last visit. The restaurant now serves dinner’s in a family style atmosphere, allowing tables to share a number of varying dishes. Our table shared a number of delicious dishes, including Seared Beef Carpaccio, Vermouth Braised Clams, Rigatoni, Pappardelle, and Grilled Lemon-Thyme White Sea Bass. The family style atmosphere along with the creativity of the dishes has truly improved the already excellent dining experience that is Canaletto. The night was made by this perfect family style meal with my fellow writers and Holland America hosts.

Editor of Cruise Currents, Mike Faust, is currently sailing on a 7 night western Caribbean sailing aboard Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam. While aboard, Mike will cover the Dancing with the Stars At Sea Finale.

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Mike Faust

Mike Faust is an avid world traveler, often found traversing city streets in Asia and Europe rather than his home city of Boca Raton. Mike has touched down in 39 countries, set sail on 35 cruises, and flown over 400,000 lifetime miles.