February 19, 2013 -

John Heald

Many years ago when Heidi and I first met and when we thought about nothing but rumpy pumpy and traveling we flew to the other side of the world to have rumpy pumpy in a place that the brochure called a “paradise.” It wasn’t. It was one of those destinations where everyone — from the airport staff to the taxi driver — gave us a necklace of flowers so that by the time I arrived at the hotel I smelt like the perfume counter at Macy’s and was walking like the hunchback of sodding Notre Dame.

We were staying for a week in a shack on stilts and after delivering the Carnival Destiny in 1996, Heidi’s first contract it seemed the perfect way to get rid of the stresses that this had brought. I wanted some sun and as I wasn’t the size of an aircraft carrier back then I had no problem with exposing my near-naked body to the rest of the people on the beach and had no worries about some wanker trying to slide me back in the water. However, I hated the place right away and while the flowers round the neck had been a bad start, the question of if we would like our breakfast delivered to our room in a canoe was a sign that this was not going to be my cup of tea.

I hated sharing my nightly bath with three hundred petals most of which ended up imbedded deep inside my scrotum and a butler called Ozzie appeared in the tightest of shorts and a smile in his canoe every time I wanted something to eat or drink. There was no TV but you could see fish through your glass coffee table. OK, some may say I am lucky to have gone there and it sounds amazing and maybe it was but I hated it.

Yep, this may be the idea of paradise to some but for me and countless others paradise exists and it has a name — and that name is Half Moon Cay. For those of you who have been hanging upside down from the roof of a cave and have no idea what Half Moon Cay is…..it’s the breathtakingly beautiful destination developed by Holland America Line and currently a popular stop for several Carnival ships. Recently, the destination has added a stunning private villa that would be right at home for the tanned and famous. This is truly one of the cruising’s most incredible destinations not to mention one of my personal favorites.

But enough of my rambling, here are some details on this idyllic island from the man in charge of paradise……….Holland America Line’s Vice President of Caribbean Relations, Mr. Matt Sams

Half Moon Cay, located less than 100 miles southeast of Nassau is an award-winning island and our highest-rated port call not only in the Caribbean but in the world. Half Moon Cay represents the quintessential private island image for most travelers — sandy beaches, aquamarine waters, and best of all you have the island to yourself. It was officially opened on December 12, 1997, by Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham.

Amenities that were required to support ship visits included food and beverage facilities, shops, restrooms, etc. and the offerings have steadily expanded to include a beachside water park for children, private beach cabanas and shore excursions such as horseback riding by land and sea, personal watercraft adventures and swimming with stingrays.

In addition, guests can enjoy excursions including catch-and-release deep sea fishing trips, eco- tours by glass-bottom boat, kayak trips and parasailing. Or they can simply relax on the crescent-shaped, white sand beach, swim, snorkel and sail in the turquoise waters, indulge in a beachside massage, enjoy traditional barbecue fare and play volleyball.

Half Moon Cay also features a walking trail and a designated wild bird reserve, along with an open-air market, ice cream parlor, shops, first aid station, several bars and beverage stations, sports area, and a chapel for wedding vow renewals, and an array of water sports equipment for rent.

And for anyone wanting to have a real exclusive experience on the island, there are 15 beachfront cabanas for rent, and one Grand Cabana. The beachfront cabanas have air conditioning, misting station, dining table and four chairs, lounge chairs, changing room, refrigerator, dry bar, fresh water shower, and sun deck. Optional butler and drink packages are also available. The Grand Cabana accommodates 24 guests and is perfect for a large family or small group with a hot tub for eight, two changing rooms, his and hers rest rooms, water showers, misting stations, dining room, wet bar, BBQ grill, covered and outdoor seating, and massage table. Optional food and beverage packages are available for the Grand Cabana, as well.

We’ve also expanded the on-island amenities to include a deluxe two-story beach villa. For your comfort, you will find your villa outfitted with air-conditioning, a five-person capacity hot tub, refrigerator, ceiling fan, air conditioner, dining area with table and chairs inside, misting station, and private sun deck. You will be provided with fresh fruit, vegetables with dip, and chips and salsa to snack on, as well as an assortment of soft drinks and bottled water. Floating mats and snorkel gear are also included for use throughout the day. Price is $549.95 for up to eight guests or roughly $70 per person. We have many friends and family members who share the cost of the villa and enjoy what can only be described as an unforgettable day in paradise.

Thanks, Matt. Now if you are sitting there now thinking ummm, mmmmmmmmm, possibly, maybe, should we, shouldn’t we…………maybe these photos will help you turn your indecision into a definite yes.

 Half Moon Cay Aerial

Half Moon Cay Beach Villas

Interior of Half Moon Cay Beach Villas

Jacuzzi room in the new Beach Villas at Half Moon Cay

Half Moon Cay Beach Villas Balcony

Well, for obvious reasons, it has been interesting watching the news over the last few days. And in between watching BBC and Sky news I have also had the American channels. Yep, thanks to the wonders of the satellite, we in the UK can now watch the North American channels and there are some differences. While news readers in the UK are rather plain-looking, in America you seem to have only soap opera men with perfect teeth and women with blonde helmets sitting side by side at the news desk, having giggling conversations with each other in between commercials for heartburn pills and laxatives. It is easy to criticize the news when the lead story is about the company you just happen to be the brand ambassador for and there is nothing wrong with making the news entertaining, lively and open to debate. I just wish they would lose the smug, condescending attitude and stop writing the headlines before the facts are in place. When did news stop being about news and about opinionated personalities?

I do though love American local news stations. They operate on a tiny budget that means they can only respond to fires, and traffic jams. And that when there’s a helicopter involved, they’ll stand under it so they have to shout. There’s always an anchor lady with huge hair and teeth so white that when she smiles small animals are blinded. She will tell you something about the environment, a murder, a cute animal, possibly on a skateboard and a local government official who has been caught wearing stockings and suspenders.

So as a new week of news starts I send my thanks to Wolf Blister and Greta Van Shoutalot for their brilliant reporting and from now on I shall get my news from the Italian news stations. Not because their reporting is factual and unbiased but because the female news anchors are topless.

Your friend,

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.