We didn't do HalfMoonCay, and here's why. It's like a 'fake' island. Nice sand, nice warm water, nice t-shirts, nice Para-sailing. Nice everything. It's a Carnival Corporate Sun/beach experience. Not our style. I suppose it would be great for kids insofar as it is a tightly orchestrated scene. It would probably be perfect as well for someone who was stir-crazy to get off the boat.
Ourselves?? We lazed around 1000 feet from shore 'round the NOORDAM's pool and never walked one step.
Insofar that I had a gimped ankle, I chose not to do a 2-tank dive. My SCUBA experience at THE WALL on GrandTurk was stupendous beyond words. Scuba-time is always fabulous. I brought my own mask/snorkel/rash-guard booties. GrandTurk is a world-famous underwater'Wow'. The gals hit JimmyBuffett's Margaritaville. GrandTurk is a diver/snorkelers paradise...little else from most accounts.
BONAIRE was where we took Woodwinds Catamaran Snorkel Excursion. It was wonderful. Ulf's capable crew were the best!! The turtles, coral and thousands of colorful fishies were THE highlight of my fellow cruisers 10-day cruise....and for good reason.
One enters the water with a flotation belt and Snorkel gear in about 12'feet of water...always accompanied by experienced crew. Some had NEVER, ever snorkeled before. Not to worry!! THIS is why people come to the Islands. This experience left us all giddy. To be fair.. a few people got cold feet at the very end and couldn't bear to enter the water for whatever reason. Boy, did they miss out. But for non-swimmers I can understand a last-minute hestitation. If only they had first snorkeled in the ship's Pool they'd been fine. Oh, well....
We loved Aruba...for different reasons. We guys headed off to 'Zee Rover' beach-side cantina/restaurant with our awesome Taxi-driver, Urbano Alders, who knew EVERYBODY and EVERYTHING about Aruba. He made our day extra-special. We hit the Valero Refinery's Baby Beach; a Very, very cool scene. Next?? Aruba's Super-Max Prison. Then the world's largest Salt-water de-salinization Plant. Then off for another beer in a local hang-out. Then to Aruba's Harley-Davidson dealer for the mandatory H-D T-shirt.
Oh,...did I fail to mention the Gals were 'shopping' during this 'Guy Thing' day?
Again, we went our separate ways, and found Aruba is spiffy/Neat as a pin and we guys had a good time doing our own thing. The gals enjoyed the shopping within blocks of the Pier. Duh...
I wished that maybe we could have spent an 'Overnight' on either Curacao or Aruba....but that's not the way Cruise ships do it.