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2004-11-16 16:28:51

Cruise Line Unveils New Activities at Private Island

Signature of Excellence Initiative Delivers Swimming on Horseback, a Stingray Adventure and Other New Ways for Guests to Have Fun at Half Moon Cay, in the Bahamas.

Holland America Line announced today that, as part of the comprehensive Signature of Excellence initiative, guests now have several new and exciting activities to choose from while visiting the exclusive, private island paradise of Half Moon Cay. Enhancements include a horseback riding and swimming excursion, a stingray adventure, a guided personal watercraft tour and a fun-filled aqua park. These new activities provide more ways for guests to enjoy themselves while experiencing the warm sun, white sandy beach and turquoise waters of this Caribbean island retreat. These new activities augment Half Moon Cay's extensive array of existing excursions including scuba diving tours to explore the marine life, catch-and-release deep sea fishing trips in the island's beautiful waters, eco tours by glass-bottom boat, kayak trips and parasailing.

The highest rated port of call on Holland America Line's Caribbean itineraries, Half Moon Cay is located on 55 acres of the 2,400-acre Little San Salvador Island, an international bird sanctuary in the Bahamas. The island paradise is accessible only to guests of Holland America Line and Windstar Cruises. It is a destination on most Caribbean itineraries and on Panama Canal cruises sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. For the past five years, Half Moon Cay has won the annual Editor-in-Chief Award for "Best Private Island" from Porthole Cruise Magazine.

"Our goal with Half Moon Cay is to provide our guests with the very best Caribbean private island experience," said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, senior vice president, marketing and sales, Holland America Line. "And now we're proud to offer guests several new activities that deliver a sense of exploration, discovery and adventure that help bring our exclusive, unforgettable destination to life."

The cruise line worked directly with the Bahamian government to ensure that new facilities were designed to minimize their environmental impact and preserve this island paradise in a manner consistent with its natural beauty. As a result, Half Moon Cay is listed with the Bahamian National Trust as a site of environmentally sustainable tourism.

New Excursions Provide More Ways to Enjoy Island Paradise

Guests visiting Half Moon Cay can now take advantage of the following new activities:

  -- Horseback Riding by Land and Sea The new Horseback Riding by Land and Sea excursion provides guests an unforgettable way to explore the island's natural beauty and ride a horse while it swims in the ocean. Guests travel by tram to a corral where they receive a brief orientation before saddling up on these specially-trained horses. Winding trails, accessible only on horseback, lead to a panoramic vista at one of the highest points in the Bahamas, overlooking the breathtaking shores of Half Moon Cay and the surrounding islands. During the ride, guides share insight into Bahamian history, people and culture. Once back at the corral, horses are "dressed" for swimming in special saddle pad and halter. Riders then venture into the ocean for the amazing experience of riding a horse while it's swimming.

  -- Stingray Adventure For those who prefer to get a closer look at the incredible sea life, the new Stingray Adventure offers guests the opportunity to swim or snorkel with these gentle and mysterious creatures in a secluded cove, which is part of a beautiful 700-acre lagoon. The program starts with a fascinating session from an expert lecturer on the Southern Stingrays and some of the other marine life living in the lagoon. Guests learn about the habits, behavior, feeding and breeding of these amazing creatures. Under the direction of guides, guests get the chance to interact with the stingrays, touching their silky wings and, if they wish, hand feeding the beautiful stingrays.

  -- Personal Watercraft Adventure The new Personal Watercraft Adventure allows guests to experience Half Moon Cay from the natural inner saltwater lagoon aboard a personal watercraft. The guided tour takes guests along the island's picturesque shoreline, navigating around natural reef formations, inlets, islands and sand spits; with interesting stops at the tidal outlet, the Bahamian village and Stingray Cove. A highlight of the adventure is a buoyed course that allows guests to test their watercraft skills. Holland America Line has carefully selected special four-stroke watercraft machines for this excursion that have low emissions and consume 50 percent less fuel than two-stroke machines. Additionally, the course is located near an area of the beach that is removed from the island's other activities.

  -- Half Moon Lagoon The new Half Moon Lagoon aqua park, opening November 21, is conveniently located on the shore of Half Moon Cay's main beach and provides island-themed action and adventure in the sun. Guests of all ages can have fun climbing on 21 large water "toys" in the shapes of marine life such as whales, octopi, sharks and dolphins. A pirate ship in the aqua park shoots water from cannons to the delight of children and adults alike. Floating pads offer a relaxing way to enjoy the sun or the cooling "raindrops" from a fountain. A boardwalk leads guests to a large sundeck and the palapa-covered Half Moon Saloon, where, following some refreshments, guests can use a slide to get right back into the water.

Other features for guests to enjoy on Half Moon Cay include an aqua-sports center, a fully-equipped Club HAL children's playground, beach chairs, volleyball, shuffleboard, basketball, a network of nature trails and a designated wild bird reserve. Guests can also rent an air-conditioned, private beach-front cabana for the day, have a beachside massage, and then enjoy traditional barbecue fare. -
About Holland America Line (a division of Carnival Corporation and plc (NYSE: CCL - News and CUK - News))

In 2005, Holland America Line's fleet of 12, five-star, premium ships are offering nearly 500 cruises from 27 home ports -- 17 in North America. Itineraries range in length from two to 116 days, visit all seven continents and offer the most extensive selection of ports the line has ever visited on cruises to the Caribbean and Panama Canal (175), Alaska (134), Canada/New England (18), and longer, exotic voyages to Europe (45) and Transatlantic (8), Mexico (43), Hawaii/Asia/Pacific (20), South America (17) as well as one Grand World Voyage.

As a part of its renowned Tradition of Excellence, Holland America Line is investing $225 million in the Signature of Excellence initiative providing unparalleled product and service enhancements to its fleet. The comprehensive enhancements focus on five areas vital to Holland America's guest experience: spacious, elegant ships and accommodations; sophisticated five-star dining; gracious, unobtrusive service; extensive enrichment programs and activities; and compelling worldwide itineraries. Enhancements have been started on all ships and will be completed by the end of 2006. For more information, consult a travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit

World's Leading Cruise Lines

The highest-rated premium cruise line in the world, Holland America Line is a member of the exclusive World's Leading Cruise Lines alliance, which also includes Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Cunard Line, Seabourn Cruise Line, Costa Cruises and Windstar Cruises. Sharing a passion to please each guest and a commitment to quality and value, these lines appeal to a wide range of lifestyles and budgets. The World's Leading Cruise Lines offer exciting and enriching cruise vacations to the world's most desirable destinations.

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