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This Backpack and Snorkel Travel Guide (Half Moon Cay Purple Guide) provides information about the best things to do on a cruise to Half Moon Cay and ensures that you will be Making Memorable Moments on a relaxing cruise day in Half Moon Cay.


The information on this page and much more (google maps locations, more reviews, website links, etc.) is available in our Cruising the Caribbean Guide.


Half Moon Cay, also known as Little San Salvador Island, is located about 100 miles (160 km) southeast of Nassau about half the way between Eleuthera and Cat Island.  It is a private Caribbean island in the Bahamas archipelago and owned by Holland America Line since 1996.  Before that, Norwegian Cruise Line owned it.  Holland America’s parent, Carnival Corp., uses it as a port-of-call for their cruise ships in the Caribbean.  Half Moon Cay can only be visited on cruises and, sadly, cruise ships arrive in the morning and leave in the afternoon of the same day.  There are no overnight stays.

About 2% of the 2,400 acre (9.7 sqkm) island are developed.  Half Moon Cay does not have a deep water port, so cruise ship passengers take a tender (small passenger boat) to get on the island.  Please also see Rudy's Cruise Guide.



Half Moon Cay has a tropical climate with a dry season from November to April and a wet season from May to October.

Here are the temperatures and rainfall that you can expect:

Making Memorable Moments at Half Moon Beach on Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
Making Memorable Moments at Half Moon Beach on Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
Making Memorable Moments at Half Moon Beach on Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
Making Memorable Moments at Cabanas on Half Moon Beach on Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
Map of Half Moon Cay

Are you interested in more white sand beaches and turquoise water destinations?

Check out my reviews of other Caribbean islands and Rudy's Cruise Guide.


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While the beach is the main attraction in Half Moon Cay and using the beach is free of charge and so is the barbecue, there are several opportunities for you to give your money to the cruise line.


If you want to have a more comfortable beach day than lying on a towel in the sand or on one of the loungers with limited availability, you can pay up to rent a

  • Cabana
  • Beach Villa
  • Private Oasis

There are also several paid excursions that you can book:

  • Stingray Adventure
  • Bike & Hike Tour
  • Snorkel by Boat
  • Kayak Adventure
  • Horseback Riding by Land & Sea
  • Historic Nature Walk
  • Aqua Trax Watercraft Adventure

Half Moon Beach

The island is known for its long white sand beach and turquoise water.  There is some snorkeling, but as there is very little sea grass and there are no rocks where fish can hide, snorkeling is not something that Half Moon Cay is known for.

The gentle slope of in the water and low waves make swimming and enjoying water activities fun, even for non-swimmers.  There is only one word that I can think of when I am asked to describe Half Moon Cay and that word is “Paradise”.  This is where we need to be.  Making Memorable Moments in paradise on Half Moon Cay.

Half Moon Cay Climate
Half Moon Cay Climate
Backpack & Snorkel Online Store
Making Memorable Moments in Half Moon Cay
Making Memorable Moments in Half Moon Cay

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