Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Island Princess Christmas Cruise [Day 4] - Aruba

Land ho!!!

We were very excited for Aruba's beautiful beaches, and were disappointed to learn that we had so little time to spend there. We got there at 7:00 AM and had to be back onboard by noon. Wanting to make the most of our time, we got off as soon as they let us.

The buses were very colorful.

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Again, we were only in port with small ships.

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The downside of getting into port so early is that Aruba wasn't ready for us. There were no cabs. We had to walk a ways and ask a few people until we found the bus stop where the cab then swung by to offer us a ride ($5/person - heck yes, take me to a beach). When the driver asked us what ship we were on, and we told him Island Princess, he said, "You guys aren't supposed to be in port today! You aren't on the list." Well, no wonder there were no cabs. No one knew we were here!!!

The driver took us to Eagle Beach, the second best beach in the world. When we were driving up, he saw how large the waves were and offered to take us somewhere else, but we were ready to get to a beach, so we declined.

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Hardly anyone was there.

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The tide was coming up so high that it was going almost all the way up the beach, under the chairs.

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There was also no one there to sell us chairs. We found one guy, but he said he only sold chairs to the resort and that the public beach cruise chair guy would be coming in at 10 AM. 10 AM?? We found ourselves some chairs and just sat in them til then.

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When the chair guy finally came, he wanted $60 for the four chairs. A little steep, but whatever.

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Tiger Rag time.

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While waiting on the cab to come back and get us, we decided to get drinks, since the bar had just opened. I got the rum punch, and the rest of the family tried the local beer, Balashi.

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The drink prices were steep, too - much more than we're used to paying in the Caribbean. I suppose Aruba is more expensive since they don't get three large cruise ships a day.

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When we returned to the ship, they were having a barbecue buffet on the pool deck.

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It was impossible to find a place to sit anywhere inside or outside. We finally were able to sit down at the bar inside Horizons.

We then watched us sail away.

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We really enjoyed Aruba and would have appreciated more time there. It was a little annoying because I expected us to be flying to Colombia like we did to Aruba. However, we were strolling. Perhaps it's because the water is shallow in that channel, so we couldn't move very fast. Or maybe we had to move out of the way to allow another ship to come in. I would've appreciated an extra hour or two in Aruba, though.

After that, we really had nothing better to do than sit on the pool deck and drink. Rachel also made us some friends - Michael and his sister Abby from North Carolina. He was willing to be a Pi Guy.

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I hardly have anything to say about dinner because in most cases, I don't remember the menu. In comparison to Royal Caribbean, Princess has much more choices and offers four (or five if you like pasta) courses rather than three. There are more nightly standards than on Royal. However, I wasn't a big fan of the food. I didn't think it was any better than Royal Caribbean's. It might have been worse. But I don't sail for the food, anyway.

Like I've mentioned before, the ceilings in the dining room were much too low. It was very annoying to me. There was also hardly anything to look at. I much prefer Royal Caribbean's grand dining rooms. Dinner also seemed to drag out incredibly long. This might be because we had the wine package, so we had to first select our wine, then select our food, then wait for three courses to come, then order dessert (Rachel and I rarely ordered dessert, and it annoyed me that my parents always did. That required us to spend even more time in the drab dining room... sometimes we'd get permission to leave early).

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Tonight we were so bored that we left dinner to take photographs. I was excited about my new dress that I bought just for the cruise the night before leaving.

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NEXT: Day 5 - Cartagena, Colombia