Seamless fantasy

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CocoCay beach (Photo by Barry and Carla Hester used with permission of SeaLetter Cruise Magazine)

Half Moon Cay (Photo by Alan Walker used with permission of SeaLetter Cruise Magazine)

To achieve a seamless experience, the islands have been cut off from their pasts and given new histories.

All the islands have formidable, if fictitious, histories, created by marketing departments hundreds of miles away, and made manifest by off-island fabricators and construction companies. Three chunks of a fake pirate ship, for example, have been sunk in CocoCay's lagoon for snorkelers to explore, and a fake grave site with a marble slab memorializes Blackbeard, who is "rumored" to have roamed the island. Passengers disembarking on Holland America's Half Moon Cay enter the West Indies Village over a drawbridge and through the ruins of a Spanish fort created by Indigo Service Corporation, a design firm in Miami. . . . The island's truer, recent history, as a transit point for drug smuggling, has been played down, with the traffickers' runway being converted into a road for tram service to the beach. Patron 1998, 68

So what?