Tag Archives: Bahamas

Travel Diary | Cruise Half Moon Cay, Bahamas Port – 5

Hi all!

Oh no! It’s Sunday again. The dreaded day of the weekend that goes by way too quickly and the day you remember all the things you need to complete before Monday.  Today in Chicago it’s freezing and snowing, actually it’s been freezing this whole weekend, however we were able to do a few outings since it was Valentine weekend.  We went to the movies on Friday and saw The Imitation Games and The Kingsmen: Secret Service, which was comedy mixed with lots of fun action – I recommend checking it out if you haven’t already.  And on Saturday, we went to watch the India vs Pakistan cricket world cup match at a friends house– I won’t talk much about it since I know very little about cricket.

Half moon cay bahamas cruise

Welcome!

half moon cay beach port

We got to Half Moon Cay on a small boat since there wasn’t a docking area on the island– you would think with $17.5 million they could have made one. Regardless, this was about a 10 min. ride from the ship.

Anyways, back to talking about the last stop on our cruise vacay back in Decemeber, Half Moon Cay, Bahamas.  Again, it has taken me so long to put up all the posts since I’m quite busy with school, however looking back at all our vacation snaps is really making me miss the sun and beaches.

Chicago to half moon cay

Chicago was only 1297 miles away from Half Moon Cay– we were getting a bit homesick. hehe…

We had heard a lot of great things about this island since it is Holland America’s private island.  We were really looking forward to our time on this island, however if you have been following my cruise review posts then you know the husband and I are not the beach bum type, thus this island was a let down for us.  I would describe Half Moon Cay as Disney World-meets-a-wealthy friends-private beach.  Literally, we walked off the cruise ship and saw the main areas in 10 minutes and were thinking about going back to the ship.  However, we had paid for an island tour so we gave it the benefit of the doubt and decided to wait around for that.  Our original excursion ideas was to go horse-back riding but those were sold out by the time we booked our excursions.

half moon cay beach port

The main area of Half Moon Cay where you meet for the excursions, check out shops, or chill at the bar area.

half moon cay beach port

Private beach overview

half moon cay beach port

Kiddie area at the beach

half moon cay beach port

“Abandoned ship” and bar area close to the beach

The island tour was an hour long tram ride covering the different aspects of the private island.  We learned the island was leased for $9 million, and remodeled for another $17.5 million –enough said! The beach sand is made from very fine milled coral, and the whole island is laid out as if you are visiting different shows/activities in Disney World, except you had to pay for them on this island and call it an “excursion.”

half moon cay beach port

Ahhh…envious of the horseback riders. During the tram tour we stopped at each of the excursion areas.

half moon cay beach port

Here a worker is feeding the stingray at the swim with stingray excursion area

half moon cay beach port

Another beach shot with some water excursions taking place

Majority of the worker’s on the island live in other close islands such as Nassau, Bahamas and only a few maintenance workers actually live on the island. There were hardly any shops to visit, a few bar areas, basketball area, and picnic area.  Every time a cruise ship stops on this island there is a buffet-style BBQ picnic that takes place with several veggie and non-veggie items.  After our tour we decided to enjoy the picnic even though the long lines didn’t make it enticing, and we almost decided to leave and enjoy better variety on the cruise ship.

half moon cay beach port

Enjoying the views from the “abandoned ship”

If it wasn’t for our tour, that cost about $25 but could have actually been free or no more than $10, and the picnic we would have explored the island in under an hour and been ready to head back to the ship.  With that said, it was still a nice relaxing last port day of our cruise vacation but I think in the future we would prefer to visit a major Bahamas island –for the real experience.

half moon cay beach port

Of course, photo session during our tram tour breaks

half moon cay beach port

And a photo with the husband!

Our cruise experience overall was a great one and shouldn’t deter any Muslim couple/family from enjoying their vacation, however on AnUblog.com we give our honest feedback on our experiences since we pay for these trips and excursions our self, and give the Muslim/hijabi perspective.

Half moon cay bahamas cruise

We did dip our toes and feet in the sand and water even though we didn’t swim.

Thank you for visiting our blog and following our cruise travel diary.  If you missed any of the posts check them out here (cruise part 1, Grand Turk part 2, Puerto Rico part 3, and St. Thomas part 4) or would like to see more snaps from our cruise then click here.

Half moon cay bahamas Hollan Amercia cruise

Goodbye beach and sunshine until we meet again.

Have a wonderful week!

Umair’s Sweetheart,
Ayesha

Travel Diary | Eastern Caribbean Cruise – 1

Hi all,

Cruise mojito wrap maxi dress hijab

Vacay has to begin with a mint mojito in hand!

Over the December break the husband and I went on our first ever cruise together to the Eastern Caribbean.  We sailed with Holland America’s ship Nieuw Amsterdam, and traveled to Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay ports over 7 day’s.  The cruising experience was quite relaxing and worry-free for us that we felt our vacation was well-spent. We would definitely love to sail to other ports in the future and try out other ships.

cruise orange wrap maxi hijab

Oh & a pina colada too!

Holiday cruise hijab red maxi skirt chambray

Walking around the pool area while listening to live steel-drum music

cruise lunch sea view Holland Amercia

Lunching at the buffet-style dining “The Lido” while enjoying the sunny ocean view

Here are some snaps from our “cruise day’s” which included two formal nights, shows, and special decor since the cruise took place during the Holiday’s.  Our first night on the cruise was spent trying to figure out how to navigate around the ship, figure out the dining areas, showroom, pools, etc.  It is quite amazing how much there is to do indoors that we almost had to make an effort to go out on the ship’s deck to enjoy the sunshine/pool areas.

Holland America cruise afternoon tea

Enjoying afternoon tea with the husband. It became a tradition for us to enjoy tea everyday at 3pm. So fancy!

Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam captain toast

Captain’s welcome toast and first formal night

Caribbean cruise formal night

My dashing husband getting ready to eat some yummy food!

Cruise hijabi formal night outfit

Carefully deciding between all the entree options

muslim couple on holiday cruise

The happy couple! We ate at the Manhattan Dining Room for our formal dinner’s

We decided to sail with Holland America mainly due to the fact that it fit our dates of travel, ports we were interested in, fit our budget and lastly was geared more towards adults/couple/mature cruisers rather than families/kids/college crowd.  The Nieuw Amsterdam ship is well-kept, constantly cleaned/maintained, is one of the newer/renovated ships, and what we truly appreciated about the ship was that majority of the staff on the ship was Muslim!  It was so nice to arrive to our cabin on the first day to be greeted with “as salam u alaikum” by our room steward, and then throughout our days on the ship to be greeted in the same manner by several workers several times a day.  In addition, whenever we wanted recommendations on what items were “halal” they always gave great suggestions.

Nieuw Amsterdam NY theme atrium muslim couple cruise

NY themed atrium and holiday decor that was not over-the-top-in-your-face

Holland America cruise review

The carpet in the elevator changed everyday so we made it a habit to take a picture with it everyday

Our room was cleaned several times a day, all our important papers/itineraries would be set out during the turn-down service, we never had to complain about getting extra towels/toiletries, nor did we have much trouble with our order during dining regardless if we went to the buffet or sit-down dining rooms.  At times at the buffet if we arrived late some of the items would not be available but there were always other choices for us to try.  As far as the food goes, it was decent American food, with huge salad bar, sandwich station, burger’s, entrees, desserts, to so much more that there were stations that we never even got a chance to try.

sting-ray towel animal

A towel animal was left every night during turn-down service along with the itinerary for next day

holiday cruise outfit hijab

Waiting in the Blues lounge for the live music to start. This became our go-to place after dinner every night. It was one of our favorites on the cruise.

Nieuw Amsterdam blues lounge

One of the live performer’s at the Blues lounge who was amazing along with the band!

Holland America recycled percussion show

Recycled Percussion was a great interactive show that was performed live one of the nights

cruise recycled percussion show

Umair was called up on stage during the show to “monkey” around

They had a few paid dining rooms, which we didn’t opt for trying out because we felt satisfied with the “non-paid” options, however one of the paid restaurants, Tamarind, had complementary lunch everyday so we did try that out one day it definitely was a nicer experience with a modern fixed menu.  The items on that menu were not items you could have gotten at the non-paid dining.

cruise muslim couple outfit

2nd formal night photo-op

cruise hijabi outfit maxi

Photo-op session before lunch at Tamarind’s bar area

Tamarind cruise lunch

Fancy salad for lunch at Tamarind

One of the port days we had early morning arrival, thus requested room-service for our breakfast.  We had filled out the menu the night before, and then selected the time slot we wanted delivery and our food arrived in the morning during that time.  We did hear of complaints from a few cruisers that they were not happy with the room service because it was quite delayed, and the items that they requested didn’t arrive, however that was not the case for us.  Room service is my jam!

hijabi cruise outfit maxi dress

Ocean breeze and the endless sea

We booked a window cabin that had a partially obstructed view, and while it was obstructed the window was a floor to ceiling window that allowed plenty of natural light to come through and gave us enough of a view to know when we were arriving land.  Our cabin was quite spacious with a king size bed, plenty of closet space, sitting space with small sofa, chair + table, and even the bathroom was decent size with vanity space for our toiletries.  Our cabin was located mid-ship on deck 4, where I felt would be the most comfortable to not feel motion or lots of noise.  While I did take motion sickness tablets the first day I didn’t feel the need to continue taking them throughout the cruise.

Niuew Amsterdam window cabin

Our room for the week

Holland America cabin

Opposite view of the room with closet, vanity + sitting area

Today’s review was mostly about the ship and overall experience.  In later posts I will share snaps of our time in Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay.  In addition, talk about our excursions and what we thought of each island.

cruise food veggie curry

The last night of our cruise was “international cuisine” night so Umair ordered the veggie + tofu curry – not bad!

Last year for our December break we visited Colorado, and despite the cold we had a great time with all it’s picturesque beauty at Rocky Mountain National park, Loveland skiing, and Vail for New Year’s eve.  Check out our gallery here until you wait for part 2 of our cruise snaps.

Thank you so much for visiting and do let me know places you have cruised to or if you are planning to take  a cruise soon in the comments below!  I read each and every comment.

muslim couple holiday cruise

Last night on the cruise in the Manhattan Dining Room

Umair’s Sweetheart,
Ayesha

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