The next stop after Antigua was Grand Turk. Grand Turk is the capital island of the Turks and Caicos, (population 5,000). It is here that Christopher Columbus first made landfall on his initial voyage to the New World in 1492. Almost 500 years later, US astronaut John Glenn “discovered” Grand Turk himself, after he became the first American man to orbit the earth and splashed down a mile off shore.
The Carnival Corporation has developed a cruise terminal here that is a destination all it’s own. There are retail shops, a beautiful huge pool, a Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville, and of course there is a beach all set up with many chairs. And the water! It just keeps getting prettier and prettier on each island.
It’s not as crowded as it looks. I’m the last person that likes to be around many people at one time but have to say taking a cruise with 3,000 people and probably 1,000 crew members is really not bad at all. The ship is so big that once on it, there is plenty of space and it’s easy to be alone somewhere. Ask my daughter. She lamented the fact that each night that she went “bar hopping” there was no one to socialize with except the bartenders. Fortunately, she met a woman her age from the Ukraine towards the end of the cruise and they did things together.
Next stop was Half Moon Cay, an island in the Bahamas that Holland America bought in 1997 for 6 million dollars. The 2,400-acre island serves as a private retreat for passengers of Carnival, Princess Cruises, and Holland America. This was the only island where we had to take a boat to the shore. Normally the cruise ships use their lifeboats that hold about 150 people each. But Half Moon Cay has some much larger open air boats permanently located there to transfer passengers and therefore the process goes much quicker.
Carnival Corporation invested $15 million to spruce up Half Moon Cay, but just two percent of it has been developed. Located less than 100 miles southeast of Nassau, the island houses its passenger facilities on less than 50 acres; much of the remaining land serves as a preserve for migratory birds. Physically, the island boasts a 2.5-mile-long crescent-shaped beach — the source of the name Half Moon Cay.
Crew members from our ship ferried our lunch to shore and set up buffet lines. There were covered picnic tables for everyone that are each surrounded by tall hedges.
Actually the hedges surround everything and when it was time for me to head back to the ship I had no idea what direction I was going. Here again, it was possible to be all alone because I didn’t see a soul until I wandered into the shopping area. From there, I knew where I was.
Bartenders from the ship set up several bars in the area including in this ship that was built by a whiskey company but I can’t remember their name.
My daughter Lauren decided to see a little sun but she was so slathered in sunscreen that she came back to Colorado as white as she left.
Back to the cold. But not for long.