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Old January 19th, 2008, 12:30 AM
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Kuki Kuki is offline
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Z End.
Picking up where I left off… We pre-booked online months in advance, and got the Taupe Cabana for our time on Half Moon Cay. The cost of the Cabanas is $299 for 1 -4 people. Included in that cost you have the use of the private cabana, with your choice of sodas and bottled water, and the services of a Cabana Boy. Also included are float mats, and snorkel gear. Those who’ve booked cabanas also receive priority tender tickets. Our Cabana Boy today was responsible for 4 other cabanas as well.

When you arrive at your cabana, it’s already stored with the sodas and water that you pre-select. And there’s a large fruit plate and a vegetable tray, as well as nachos and sauces. The open deck portion of the cabana has two sun loungers with misters, as well as a shower. The covered portion has a large table and 4 arm chairs, with a fan overhead, a small air conditioning unit, and a small refrigerator. When the island’s staff are setting up the loungers and clamshells on the beach they avoid setting them out on the sand directly in front of the cabanas, so access to the water from the Cabanas is easy.

I don’t do many ship’s excursions in most Caribbean ports of call anymore, but to my mind, living the high life in a cabana on Half Moon Cay is one that is a special treat.

There’s a barbeque buffet lunch served on the island, beginning at 11:30 A.M. We simply asked Pepito, our cabana boy, if he’d mind bringing us a sampling of lunch items. He returned a short while later with a barbeque feast, with plates of burgers, shrimp, chicken, ribs and desserts. The cabana boy will also get any drinks you’d like to order from the bar.

These kids work very hard because all of the set up first has to be brought ashore from the ship, and then they spend the entire day looking after the cabana guests. If you book a cabana, be sure to tip the cabana boys generously. They earn it! We wore ours plum out!!

Now it may seem that I’ve ignored all the other activities available on Half Moon Cay, of which there are many. But, with our visit to the island being the last day of our cruise, I think that a day doing little other than relaxing in the luxury of a cabana is a near perfect way to end a cruise.

While relaxing on the deck of our cabana today watching as people passed on the beach nearby all day, I confirmed my observation from early in the cruise; there was indeed a wide cross section of age groups on this sailing. It skewed somewhat to the senior’s crowd, but certainly not enough to allow me to use all my old stereotypical blue hair jokes.

To my own tastes, tonight’s dinner menu offerings may have been one of the best of the entire cruise, and each course was delicious.

As many other cruise lines do, dinner ended this evening with the dining room staff singing a farewell song. What was different tonight on the Zuiderdam was the music is not taped or “canned?. Here, the staff were singing live and loud, and actually seemed to be enjoying themselves. There was no one begging for excellent ratings on their comment cards, just what felt like quite a sincere thank you to us for allowing them to serve us.

The best line I’ve heard on the cruise was when one of the waiters was introducing the song. He said... If you know this song, sing along. If not, sing any song you know. That’s “Kuki humor?, and a wonderful way to leave the dining room for the last time.

After dinner I stopped in at the casino to cash in a few remaining chips, remnants of my once vast fortune, and say goodbye to some of the staff whom I’ve enjoyed gambling with, and chatting to. A very hospitable crew, from management to dealers!

Yet another nice treat awaited us when getting back to the cabin to put our luggage out in the hall for pick up. Even though it’s the last night of the cruise, there was a towel animal waiting for us on the bed, along with a room service breakfast menu to fill out if we wanted breakfast in the cabin for the morning. It was so pleasant that tonight was still just another night of the cruise, unlike on many cruise lines, where you get back to the cabin the last night, and everything is locked tight, and made to feel like they’re leaving you a note saying thanks for going.

Because we’re boarding the Carnival Freedom tomorrow for another cruise, it will be much easier for them to get me off the ship than if I were headed home. I hope you’ve enjoyed taking this trip with me, and I DO ENCOURAGE you to sail along with us for another week. You don’t have to pack, and you don’t have to endure flying. You only have to slip on over to the CruiseMates Carnival message board.

And a note to “Rinker? --- I actually didn’t eat inside the Lido Restaurant once, but I checked the windows twice, and both times they looked clean. I’m betting at times with sea spray, rain, or whatever, they occasionally get dirty, but I mostly ate my food from Lido Al Fresco on the aft deck where the windows were always clean.
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