History of Half Moon Cay (Little San Salvador Island), Bahamas

Holland America Line purchased the island of Little San Salvador from several Bahamian owners in December, 1996 for a price of $6 million USD. It has since developed 50 acres of the 2,400-acre island, with the stated goal of maintaining as much habitat as possible for wildlife.  The island was uninhabited and had no infrastructure.  Construction began shortly after the purchase to build the infrastructure to turn Little San Salvador into a private resort island. All mechanical systems such as electrical generators, reverse osmosis water plants, sewer treatment and incineration plants needed to be installed. Due to the topography of the island, the developed areas needed to be raised by 14 feet in order to be above the flood plain. A marina was dredged and constructed in order to allow safe tender operation.

Half Moon Cay was officially opened as a port of call on December 12, 1997 by Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham. Holland America Lines bought the island initially and Carnival took ownership of the island when they acquired Holland America. Carnival owns it now, but the only time a Carnival ship will visit this island, is when it's not being used by a Holland America ship.

The name of the island was changed from Little San Salvador to Half-Moon Cay after the purchase. Half Moon Cay was named after Holland America's logo, which depicts explorer Henry Hudson's ship, the Half Moon, and also to reflect the island’s spectacular crescent-shaped white sand beach. Henry Hudson’s ship is featured on the Holland America logo.