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Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
Friday, November 11, 2016   Related topics:
This morning, Koningsdam is anchored off the coast of Holland America's private island, Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. The weather could not be more pleasant. Sunny skies and 75 degrees makes this the coolest weather we have experienced in the Caribbean.

Half Moon Cay

Half Moon Cay is one of the most anticipated stops on any Holland America Line Caribbean itinerary. The pristine, white sand beach offers a great place to soak up the sun, float in the warm Caribbean waters, or even enjoy some snorkeling. Having lunch at the beach BBQ is always a popular choice. New this year to Half Moon Cay is the Lobster Shack, a venue offering delicious grilled lobster. As difficult as it was, we decided to stay on board Koningsdam to check out the spa and other facilities on board. I booked the Ionithermie Revitalizing Leg Therapy at The Greenhouse Spa and Salon located on Deck 9.

Greenhouse Spa and Salon Reception

I arrived about an hour before my 10:30am appointment as I wanted to try out the "Thermal Suite," consisting of a Thallasotherapy pool, steam, sauna and relaxation facilities. I checked in at the desk where my stateroom key was exchanged for an electronic bracelet used to lock/unlock the lockers. An access card would provide entrance to the Thermal Suite. There are separate changing rooms for men and women with small lockers to hold personal items. If you come fully dressed, you may have to stuff your clothing into a small cube. A robe is provided in each locker, however, I was surprised to find that spa slippers are not. The Thermal Suite is coed, so a bathing suit is required.

Thermal Suite

I spent about 45 minutes enjoying the massive Thallasotherapy pool, steam, sauna and showers before heading to the relaxation room to wait for my spa treatment.


Thallasotherapy Pool

Soon, Reeanne, my spa "therapist" appeared and introduced herself to me. She led me upstairs to a treatment room where she explained the leg therapy I was to receive. I periodically suffer from leg cramps, so she gave me some tips on how to prevent them in the future. During the 40-minute treatment, she rubbed, scrubbed and applied a cooling mask to my lower legs. I have no idea what any of it did, but it all felt good. Isn't that why we go to a spa in the first place? During the treatment, Reeanne and I talked about her home, Australia, and how Texans and Australians share a love for BBQ. Apparently, Dallas is on her travel bucket list. Thanks to Reeanne, I left the Greenhouse Spa with legs that felt ten years younger!


After my treatment, I met Rickee for lunch. Today, we decided to try Dive Inn, Koningsdam's burger spot on Deck 9 poolside. Dive Inn has a small menu including several burgers, a grilled chicken sandwich and a variety of hot dogs. Of course, French fries are also available. I ordered a cheeseburger, a chicken sandwich and an order of fries. Long lines can form here, but since most people are enjoying the BBQ on Half Moon Cay today, the line is short. All food is made to order and guests are given electronic pagers to notify them when their order is ready for pickup.

Dive Inn

It took about seven minutes before the lights began flashing on our signal device. The burger is a 1/3 pound beef patty with a slice of cheese, "Dive Inn Sauce," lettuce and tomato. Of course, you can customize the burger when you are ordering it. I asked for the burger to be cooked medium (by default, they cook well done). Mine was still cooked well done, but was juicy nonetheless. The bun is one of the highlights of the burger and the chicken sandwich. I would say the burger here is in the top three cruise ship burgers I have tried. The French fries are among the best you will find anywhere. They are fresh, hot and very crispy.

High Tide Burger, chicken sandwich and fries

After lunch, we decided to check out the Sea View Pool, located aft on Deck 9. We walked up some stairs to Deck 10 and found a shuffleboard court. We could not resist engaging in the traditional cruise activity. Rickee stomped me by a score of 38 to 10.

Rickee kills on the shuffleboard court

In the afternoon, we participated in Team Trivia in the Crow's Nest on Deck 12 followed by Foodie Trivia in Billboard On Board on Deck 2. We did much better at Foodie Trivia with 14 out of 15 correct answers.

We met some of our fellow journalists for an early dinner this evening at Canaletto on Deck 9. Canaletto is Holland America's Italian-themed specialty restaurant located at one end of the starboard side of the Lido Market.


The meal begins with delicious, warm bread served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping. The three-course meal consists of a "Small Plate" followed by a pasta course, then a main course. The Small Plate courses are large enough to be shared by two people. I ordered the Antipasto and Rickee had the Beef Carpaccio. Both were delicious. My pasta dish was the potato Gnocchi with braised beef short ribs. I had this on our previous HAL sailing on Nieuw Amsterdam and remembered how good it was. Rickee had the Spaghetti Bolognese. Both dishes were so large that they became our main courses. A trio of Gelato was the perfect ending to a delicious meal. At $15 per person, Canaletto is the best dining value on Holland America.

Bread served at Canaletto

After dinner, Rickee and I hurried down to Deck 2 for the 8:30pm "Bernstein to Bublé" performance at Lincoln Center Stage on Deck 2. We were able to get seats on the front row where we enjoyed listening to a classical quintet perform flawlessly for 40 minutes. A pianist was accompanied by two violins, a viola and a cello. The partnership between Lincoln Center and HAL has paid off. This was the best live classical performance we have ever attended.

Bernstein to Bublé performance at Lincoln Center Stage

After the performance, we walked back to Queens Lounge on Deck 2 where B.B. King's All Stars were just about to fire up their 9:15pm performance. We were completely blown away by the jazz performance. Is it possible that Holland America is now the "go to" cruise line for musical entertainment?

B.B. King's All Stars

The 45-minute performance had us out in time to make the 10pm show of Thousand Steps at World Stage featuring the Koningsdam Singers & Dancers. I can say with confidence that we have never crammed so much musical entertainment into a single evening on a cruise ship!

Tomorrow, we will enjoy a relaxing day at sea as we sail back to Port Everglades.

Originally posted on: 11/11/2016
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