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Thread: Divi Links 3/29 -4/12 Trip Report

  1. #1
    Senior Member Lewny1's Avatar
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    Divi Links 3/29 -4/12 Trip Report

    Bear with me on this very very very long trip report

    We spent 14 nights at our timeshare at the Divi Links. Since we live pretty far from JFK and were traveling with my 3 1/2 year old and my Mom, we decided to spend the night before departure at the Sheraton JFK. Very nice hotel, great staff, great room, but a bit noisy from the highway traffic.
    Woke up early on Thursday morning (3/29) and took the free shuttle to the Jet Blue terminal. Great flight except that my daughter could not nap as there was a very cranky little boy sitting behind us that pretty much cried for the entire 4 1/2 hours. After napping for only about 30 minutes, my DD woke up and said (very loudly) "how am I supposed to sleep with all of this screaming". It made for a few laughs and I bit of embarrassment for Mom and Dad . Arrived about 15 minutes early, collected our luggage and headed for the Amigo car rental booth. Was VERY disappointed to say the least. They had waiting for us a very old Mitsubishi Lancer that sounded like it was going to stall out any second, rear looked like it had been in an accident, car was filthy and the back driver side tire was flat. Tried to trade it in on the spot but they had nothing available so they said to call the main office in the morning and they would try to switch it out. Our timeshare is a Saturday to Saturday but the airfares were sooo expensive this year that we had to do Thursday to Thursday. Since we arrived 2 days early, they did not have either of our rooms available (we have a 1 bedroom and a studio). They put us in a studio and said our 1 bedroom may be available the next day as the people were scheduled to check out. The front desk manager came over and said if someone needs to book for one night, they may give it away so it's not guaranteed that we can move. I was not happy about this. I let them know that I was not happy with this response and that I would assume that they would treat their members a bit better than some strangers off the street that only need the roonm for one night. I told them in a "nice way" that we own 2 weeks and 2 rooms and that it was a little disheartening to me that they would not sacrifice a few hundred dollars to accomodate their owners. After my speech and some coaxing by my husband, we were in the room by 3:00pm the next afternoon. My Mom's studio was ready early on Saturday morning. So after all that (it was now about 5:00pm) we just ordered some dinner from Mulligans (couldn't unpack since we had to move) and called it a night. Mulligans is quick and tasty. Mom and I ordered 2 Dutch pea soups (heaven on earth) and split a club sandwich, DH got the chicken fajita (which he also raves about) and we got a chicken satay for DD.

    Friday, 3/30
    Called Amigo and told them we needed to switch car. They said to come at 11:30am. DH grabbed us a light breakfast at Dushi bagels (egg white sandwiches all around) and after breakfast DH and I headed over to Amigo. After looking at us like we had 3 heads and asking us who we spoke with in the morning, they informed us that a gentleman had just headed over to the airport to pick up our new car and that it still needed to be cleaned (strike 2). AHHHH, here we go again. We decided to not let this spoil our trip. We told them we were headed to the beach for a few hours and we'd be back to pick up the car at 2:30pm. Off to the beach we went. Weather was gorgeous as was the ocean. DD made sand castles and we held her and "jumped the waves". Headed back around 2:00pm to shower. DH picked up the new car (which was a slight improvement but still not the greatest) and headed to the front desk to see about changing rooms. We moved into the one bedroom and unpacked. We then headed to the supermarket. After another long day, we decided to order Pizza Bob's, pick it up and eat in the room. DM (Dear Mother) watched my daughter and DH and I headed to Alhambra. DH won $450.00 on a slot machine and thinks were starting to look up!!!

    Saturday, 3/31
    Pool day. Went down early. Lots of free palapas as this is a big travel day. Spent a few hours at pool and then went back to shower. Mom's studio was cleaned and she moved her clothes in. DH picked up lunch from a local place, Palm Beach Refreshment, which recently changed owners. Food was still delicous and plentiful. We ordered 3 chicken satays which come over a bed of delicious rice (with shredded chicken and veggies), a small salad and 2 plantains. One portion is enough to feed 2 1/2 people so we had plenty of leftovers. Took a nap with my daughter after lunch (think I got too much sun). Stayed in that night. Picked up takeout from Smokey Joes (ribs for DH, turkey burger for me and shrimp on the barbie for DM). Had lots of leftovers as we were all still full from lunch.

    Sunday, 4/1
    Light breakfast in the room and then Beach for the afternoon. Back to the room, shower, nap for DD and then headed for Gianni's for dinner. DM and I had the chicken parm with a side of penne. DH got veal with whiskey sauce and penne. Shared with DD. Don't know why this place gets such mixed reviews - we've been going every year (sometimes twice) since they opened and we have never had a bad meal. One time the service was not spectacular but all other times, the waitstaff has always been friendly, accomodating and attentive.

    Monday, 4/2
    Off to the Donkey Sanctuary. Desiree was not there yet but we had the pleasure of speaking to one of the other ladies whose name unfortunately escapes me. There was also a couple there from Wisconsin who come once a year for 2 weeks and volunteer one day to help out (they were lovely people). We bought some apples and carrots at the supermarket, bought some souveniers for DD at the sanctuary and made our yearly donation. Always a pleasure to be there. Every year on the way back from the Donkey Sanctuary we stop at a Wok place called Wok Away in Santa Cruz. Unfortunately, it was closed down. We were starving since we had not had breakfast but decided to head back. We stopped at The Kitchen since it got some great reviews and placed an order. It was getting late and DD was getting cranky so we told them we would be back in 15-20 minutes to pick up our order as we were going to bring DD and my Mom back to the room so DD could take her nap. When we returned to the Kitchen we found out that they had not even put our order in yet. We tried waiting patiently. After about 15 minutes of waiting, the same waitress who never put our order in informed my husband that they were out of skirt steak. We should have left at that point but still decided to stick it out. I am not exaggerating when I say it took about 45 more minutes for them to acknowledge our order. DM and I had ordered stir fry dishes and DH ended up ordering a burger and fries (when he found out they were out of steak). Not once did that waitress apologize to us nor did she offer us anything while we waited. Another waitress (I believe her name was Tamara) noticed what was going on and tried to rush our order. She offerred us free drinks but we refused (at this point we just wanted our food and to get out of there as we had been there for about an hour). Tamara then told us it would be only a few more minutes as they were just preparing the french fries. FINALLY ready. They did not charge us for the burger. We got back to the room and realized they had also given us THREE orders of fries (we only ordered one) and 2 orders of tasteless black beans. DH said his burger tasted like a brick, but DM and I thought our stir fry was tasty. Unfortunately, we will probably not be back there. The place was very nice and clean on the inside but there was no excuse for the terrible service that day. It may have been a fluke, but unfortunately, it was enough to turn us off. My poor mother thought we were in an accident when we did not return home for over an hour!!! Went in jacuzzi in the early evening. Showered, returned to room and Barbequed chicken for dinner. No casino - watched Dancing with the Stars

    Tuesday, 4/3
    No umbrellas at the pool at 9:00am. Towels wrapped around all chairs but only about 6 people in sight. Realized we need to get up at dawn to put down a towel and then back to bed if we want an umbrella. We complained to the Members office but nothing was really done so we just continued to get up at 6:00am on the days we wanted to go to the pool, put down the towels and then come back down later on in the morning after breakfast. So, off to the beach we went since we need an umbrella with DD who is as white as Casper!! Very little waves - nice breeze - just gorgeous. DH got Wendy's for lunch. I put DD down for nap and sat on the balcony listening to iPod while hubby went to Alhambra to play penny slots - broke even. Dinner that night was at Bavaria. First time there. Very casual. Staff was extremely friendly and prices were great. I hope this place continues to do well. DH started with ghoulash soup and DM, DD and I had the soft pretzels with garlic dip. Main course for DH was pork jaegerschnitzel, DM got some pork medallions dish, I ordered the weiner schnitzel and DD got delicious chicken tenders and fries. We were STUFFED and still had leftovers.

    Wednesday, 4/4
    Pool day. Got down there early to put towels down. Ordered hot dogs and coladas from the pool bar. Hot dogs were surprisingly good. Back to room and same deal as always (shower, DD down for nap, hubby to casino to play slots, me on balcony with iPod or book). DH and I went to Barefoot for dinner that night for first time. LOVED IT. Picked up Mulligans for Mom (her favorite dutch pea soup and an Italian panini) as she was on babysitting duty for hubby and my night out. DH and I split crab cake appetizer at Barefoot, DH ordered shellfish trio for main course and I had the grouper romano. We then split the assortment of desserts which consisted of flan, pistachio ice cream, chocolate mousse, cheesecake and brownie). I was so stuffed I could barely move, but somehow I still made it to the casino We headed downtown to the Seaport casiono which we hadn't been to for a few years. We like it there. Very laid back. I hit a straight flush at 3-card poker. Whoo Hoo.

    Thursday, 4/5
    One week down and one to go. Headed to the Radisson for breakfast buffet at Laguna Fish Market. They must have been giving something away because I never saw the line so long before in my life. Still consistently good. Headed back and went to the beach in the late afternoon. Stayed until the sun set. Beautiful. DH BBQd burgers that night and we had some broccoli and rice pilaf on the side. No casino as I wanted to hold on to my win from the night before!

    Friday, 4/6
    Pool day. Mudslides and Pina Coladas poolside. Pizza Bob's for lunch and Driftwood for dinner. DM and I got Wahoo Aruban style and DH got blackened swordfish. DD got mac and cheese. Ice cream, cheesecake and Bailey's coffees for dessert. All delicious.

    Saturday, 4/7
    Another pool day. Luckily, no one had to get up at 6:00am for palapa as this was another travel day. Lunch was an array of leftovers from the previous few days. DD went down for her nap and DH went to Mulligans for a few Balashi's and to watch the Masters Cup (golf). That evening was another night out for DH and I. Mom babysat and got her customary Mulligans dutch pea soup and fried shrimp. DH and I always celebrate our post-anniversary in Aruba so we headed to Windows on Aruba to celebrate our 8th anniversary (which was really 2 weeks prior). This is by far our favorite restaurant for both quality of food and service. Sonja, our hostess, warmly greeted us for the second year in a row and promptly brought over 2 glasses of champagne with a sign wishing us a happy anniversary. She then took pics of us toasting and standing by the windows with the sunset behind us. For appetizer, DH ordered the bisque and brandy which is a lovely seafood bisque and I ordered the tomato and goat cheese salad. Both exquisite in both taste and presentation. Main course was chateaubriand for two (medium) with 3 dipping sauces. Cooked to perfection. We were both stuffed and hadn't planned on ordering dessert but as Divi members, we got free desserts so we ordered one and said we'd split it. We got the pistachio and hazelnut which was a pistachio cake roll, pistachio ice cream, a chocolate cylinder filled with hazelnut cream and crushed hazelnuts in caramel sauce. So yummy. If that wasn't enough, Sonja then returned with another dish that said Happy Anniversary with the #8 in chocolate sauce and a piece of carrot cake with a sparkler in the middle. More pics taken of our wedding rings by the plate, etc. We got the royal treatment to say the least. Stuffed as we were, we rolled ourselves back to the Alhambra. After a REALLY bad start, I was feeling lucky. I turned $60 into $265 at the roulette table and then decided to take the dice from DH who was losing his shirt at craps and after 2 very long rolls, lady luck prevailed and I won him back almost $400. Very happy to walk away slightly up after the huge beating we had taken earlier in the evening. Staying away from the casino for the next day or two!!!

    Sunday, 4/8
    Happy Easter! Very hot day. DD was very happy that the "Easter Bunny" made it to Aruba and she looked for eggs around our rooms in the morning. Dushi bagels for breakfast and then off to the beach. Back to room for usual (shower, nap, etc.). Had some snacks from Mulligans (chicken wings and onion rings). Hubby went back to Alhambra to play slots (he never learns) and lost $20. Off to El Gaucho for Easter dinner. All the adults started with mixed salads and we all got the 8 oz petite tenderloin for dinner with various sides. DD got spaghetti and meatballs. All shared white and dark chocolate mousse cake, ice cream and sherbet for dessert. Stuffed. Went back to room and finished off the night watching Happy Feet Two with DD :-)

    Monday, 4/9
    Pool day for a couple of hours until DD decided to have a temper tantrum at pool. For everyone else's sake, we packed up and headed back. Once she calmed down, we went up to the roof and relaxed in the jacuzzi. It wasn't plugged in and was only 85 degrees so we brought DD in and she played with all her rubber fish bath toys watching them "swim" back and forth as the jets pushed them. We found something she liked and calmed her down!!! Headed back to room and ordered lunch from Mulligans (dutch pea soup for me, Burgers and fries for DH and DM). Naptime for DD. She slept for a few hours (probably a result of her earlier temper tantrum). We walked around the hi-rise area at night. Bought some souveniers from the kiosks and ate a light dinner at the Hard Rock cafe that was surprisingly good (haystack chicken salad for me, chicken fingers for DD, pulled pork sandwich for DM and ribs for DH). Since DD was exceptionally good following her earlier meltdown, I got her a little drum and a set of maracas which she played with nonstop for the next few days.

    Tuesday, 4/10
    Linda's pancakes for breakfast. Plain pancake for DD, ham, gouda and mushroom for DM and myself and omelet for DH. All fabulous. Off to see the Lourdes Grotto (hadn't been there in 10 years) and some shopping downtown. DH bought me a beautiful ring and we got some more souveniers. Mom babysat again that night and hubby and I headed to Madame Janette's. Unfortunately, I had a wicked headache during dinner and didn't eat much. DH ordered potato leek soup for appetizer which he swears is the best soup he's ever eaten in his life. We both ordered "light" dinners. He got the sea bass delight (comes with mixed salad) and I ordered the tenderloin delight (comes with mixed salad). I ate the salad and only a few bites of the tenderloin (hubby ate the rest for lunch the next day). We split sorbet for dinner. I took 2 more advil and started to feel a bit better. Off to casino for our last hurrah. Took a BEATING again, but this time never made anything back. Oh well

    Wednesday, 4/11
    Last full day in Aruba. Made this a beach day. DM stayed in room and started packing while DH, DD and I spent 3 hours on the beach. They were having water issues so we were praying the water would be back on by the time we returned because there is nothing worse than being full of sand, saltwater and suntan lotion and not being able to shower. The beach was wonderful. Light breeze, light waves, crystal clear water, etc. We soaked in the last of paradise and headed back. Water was back on. Yea. Ordered lunch from Mulligans and then decided to go back up to the roof and enjoy the jacuzzi one last time. Another shower, nap for DD, penny slots for DH and then a girls night out. DM and I headed over to Chalet Suisse while DH and DD cleaned up the fridge and ate the last of the leftovers. We love this place. It's just a really pretty restaurant and the food and service is always consistent. We each had a few fruity beverages and took advantage of the early bird specials. Cream of mushroom soup, Chicken Milanese and hot kisses for DM and caesar salad, chicken milanese and hot kisses for me. All Delish!! Mom is not a gambler but I convinced her to go to Alhambra with me for an hour. We both lost $20.00 in slots. I told her that I had a feeling she's be lucky with roulette. She didn't want to play. I coaxed her to play and even gave her $50. We headed to the table. She put 2 chips and #4 and 2 chips on #23. First spin - #4 hits. She changes it up a bit. Second spin - she hits a quarter box for another $8. Third spin - she hits a half box for $17. A few spins later and she was up $100.00. She walked away happy and I think next year there will be a few more girls nights out!!!!

    Thursday, 4/12
    Leaving day. Few last minute items to pack. Then perfomed my yearly last day ritual. I go out onto balcony alone. I look out at all that beauty (ocean, golf course, lagoon) that is Aruba and I quietly thank God for all of the blessings I have in my life. I then say farewell until next year to our favorite place on earth.
    Returned rental car to Amigo lot (they were not open yet) and flew through the airport (apparantly, Thursday is nothing like Saturday). Waited for shops to open to get some duty free items and boarded plane. Another great flight. Landed in JFK a few minutes early. Our neighbor was waiting for us with his minivan (he owns a private taxi service). DD was happy to be home to all of her toys. In a few short years, she will begin to appreciate Aruba they way that her Mom, Dad and Grandma do, but for now, she's allowed to just be a kid
    We hit a few snafus along the way, but we did not let it spoil our trip one bit. We had 14 days of absolutely beautiful weather (I don't believe we saw a drop of rain), fantastic meals, great entertainment and alot of laughs. I gained SIX pounds but I'm not upset about that either. It was worth every pound (although I did start my diet today). 50 more weeks until paradise. The countdown begins......

  2. #2
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    loved reading your report.
    sure, a few snafus but it all worked out well.
    yes, you and your mom must have more girls night's out!

    so happy you all had a good time

    and i do "get it" when you say you spent time on your balcony being grateful ...aruba and family time!

    thanks for posting

    Quote Originally Posted by Lewny1 View Post
    Bear with me on this very very very long trip report

    We spent 14 nights at our timeshare at the Divi Links. Since we live pretty far from JFK and were traveling with my 3 1/2 year old and my Mom, we decided to spend the night before departure at the Sheraton JFK. Very nice hotel, great staff, great room, but a bit noisy from the highway traffic.
    Woke up early on Thursday morning (3/29) and took the free shuttle to the Jet Blue terminal. Great flight except that my daughter could not nap as there was a very cranky little boy sitting behind us that pretty much cried for the entire 4 1/2 hours. After napping for only about 30 minutes, my DD woke up and said (very loudly) "how am I supposed to sleep with all of this screaming". It made for a few laughs and I bit of embarrassment for Mom and Dad . Arrived about 15 minutes early, collected our luggage and headed for the Amigo car rental booth. Was VERY disappointed to say the least. They had waiting for us a very old Mitsubishi Lancer that sounded like it was going to stall out any second, rear looked like it had been in an accident, car was filthy and the back driver side tire was flat. Tried to trade it in on the spot but they had nothing available so they said to call the main office in the morning and they would try to switch it out. Our timeshare is a Saturday to Saturday but the airfares were sooo expensive this year that we had to do Thursday to Thursday. Since we arrived 2 days early, they did not have either of our rooms available (we have a 1 bedroom and a studio). They put us in a studio and said our 1 bedroom may be available the next day as the people were scheduled to check out. The front desk manager came over and said if someone needs to book for one night, they may give it away so it's not guaranteed that we can move. I was not happy about this. I let them know that I was not happy with this response and that I would assume that they would treat their members a bit better than some strangers off the street that only need the roonm for one night. I told them in a "nice way" that we own 2 weeks and 2 rooms and that it was a little disheartening to me that they would not sacrifice a few hundred dollars to accomodate their owners. After my speech and some coaxing by my husband, we were in the room by 3:00pm the next afternoon. My Mom's studio was ready early on Saturday morning. So after all that (it was now about 5:00pm) we just ordered some dinner from Mulligans (couldn't unpack since we had to move) and called it a night. Mulligans is quick and tasty. Mom and I ordered 2 Dutch pea soups (heaven on earth) and split a club sandwich, DH got the chicken fajita (which he also raves about) and we got a chicken satay for DD.

    Friday, 3/30
    Called Amigo and told them we needed to switch car. They said to come at 11:30am. DH grabbed us a light breakfast at Dushi bagels (egg white sandwiches all around) and after breakfast DH and I headed over to Amigo. After looking at us like we had 3 heads and asking us who we spoke with in the morning, they informed us that a gentleman had just headed over to the airport to pick up our new car and that it still needed to be cleaned (strike 2). AHHHH, here we go again. We decided to not let this spoil our trip. We told them we were headed to the beach for a few hours and we'd be back to pick up the car at 2:30pm. Off to the beach we went. Weather was gorgeous as was the ocean. DD made sand castles and we held her and "jumped the waves". Headed back around 2:00pm to shower. DH picked up the new car (which was a slight improvement but still not the greatest) and headed to the front desk to see about changing rooms. We moved into the one bedroom and unpacked. We then headed to the supermarket. After another long day, we decided to order Pizza Bob's, pick it up and eat in the room. DM (Dear Mother) watched my daughter and DH and I headed to Alhambra. DH won $450.00 on a slot machine and thinks were starting to look up!!!

    Saturday, 3/31
    Pool day. Went down early. Lots of free palapas as this is a big travel day. Spent a few hours at pool and then went back to shower. Mom's studio was cleaned and she moved her clothes in. DH picked up lunch from a local place, Palm Beach Refreshment, which recently changed owners. Food was still delicous and plentiful. We ordered 3 chicken satays which come over a bed of delicious rice (with shredded chicken and veggies), a small salad and 2 plantains. One portion is enough to feed 2 1/2 people so we had plenty of leftovers. Took a nap with my daughter after lunch (think I got too much sun). Stayed in that night. Picked up takeout from Smokey Joes (ribs for DH, turkey burger for me and shrimp on the barbie for DM). Had lots of leftovers as we were all still full from lunch.

    Sunday, 4/1
    Light breakfast in the room and then Beach for the afternoon. Back to the room, shower, nap for DD and then headed for Gianni's for dinner. DM and I had the chicken parm with a side of penne. DH got veal with whiskey sauce and penne. Shared with DD. Don't know why this place gets such mixed reviews - we've been going every year (sometimes twice) since they opened and we have never had a bad meal. One time the service was not spectacular but all other times, the waitstaff has always been friendly, accomodating and attentive.

    Monday, 4/2
    Off to the Donkey Sanctuary. Desiree was not there yet but we had the pleasure of speaking to one of the other ladies whose name unfortunately escapes me. There was also a couple there from Wisconsin who come once a year for 2 weeks and volunteer one day to help out (they were lovely people). We bought some apples and carrots at the supermarket, bought some souveniers for DD at the sanctuary and made our yearly donation. Always a pleasure to be there. Every year on the way back from the Donkey Sanctuary we stop at a Wok place called Wok Away in Santa Cruz. Unfortunately, it was closed down. We were starving since we had not had breakfast but decided to head back. We stopped at The Kitchen since it got some great reviews and placed an order. It was getting late and DD was getting cranky so we told them we would be back in 15-20 minutes to pick up our order as we were going to bring DD and my Mom back to the room so DD could take her nap. When we returned to the Kitchen we found out that they had not even put our order in yet. We tried waiting patiently. After about 15 minutes of waiting, the same waitress who never put our order in informed my husband that they were out of skirt steak. We should have left at that point but still decided to stick it out. I am not exaggerating when I say it took about 45 more minutes for them to acknowledge our order. DM and I had ordered stir fry dishes and DH ended up ordering a burger and fries (when he found out they were out of steak). Not once did that waitress apologize to us nor did she offer us anything while we waited. Another waitress (I believe her name was Tamara) noticed what was going on and tried to rush our order. She offerred us free drinks but we refused (at this point we just wanted our food and to get out of there as we had been there for about an hour). Tamara then told us it would be only a few more minutes as they were just preparing the french fries. FINALLY ready. They did not charge us for the burger. We got back to the room and realized they had also given us THREE orders of fries (we only ordered one) and 2 orders of tasteless black beans. DH said his burger tasted like a brick, but DM and I thought our stir fry was tasty. Unfortunately, we will probably not be back there. The place was very nice and clean on the inside but there was no excuse for the terrible service that day. It may have been a fluke, but unfortunately, it was enough to turn us off. My poor mother thought we were in an accident when we did not return home for over an hour!!! Went in jacuzzi in the early evening. Showered, returned to room and Barbequed chicken for dinner. No casino - watched Dancing with the Stars

    Tuesday, 4/3
    No umbrellas at the pool at 9:00am. Towels wrapped around all chairs but only about 6 people in sight. Realized we need to get up at dawn to put down a towel and then back to bed if we want an umbrella. We complained to the Members office but nothing was really done so we just continued to get up at 6:00am on the days we wanted to go to the pool, put down the towels and then come back down later on in the morning after breakfast. So, off to the beach we went since we need an umbrella with DD who is as white as Casper!! Very little waves - nice breeze - just gorgeous. DH got Wendy's for lunch. I put DD down for nap and sat on the balcony listening to iPod while hubby went to Alhambra to play penny slots - broke even. Dinner that night was at Bavaria. First time there. Very casual. Staff was extremely friendly and prices were great. I hope this place continues to do well. DH started with ghoulash soup and DM, DD and I had the soft pretzels with garlic dip. Main course for DH was pork jaegerschnitzel, DM got some pork medallions dish, I ordered the weiner schnitzel and DD got delicious chicken tenders and fries. We were STUFFED and still had leftovers.

    Wednesday, 4/4
    Pool day. Got down there early to put towels down. Ordered hot dogs and coladas from the pool bar. Hot dogs were surprisingly good. Back to room and same deal as always (shower, DD down for nap, hubby to casino to play slots, me on balcony with iPod or book). DH and I went to Barefoot for dinner that night for first time. LOVED IT. Picked up Mulligans for Mom (her favorite dutch pea soup and an Italian panini) as she was on babysitting duty for hubby and my night out. DH and I split crab cake appetizer at Barefoot, DH ordered shellfish trio for main course and I had the grouper romano. We then split the assortment of desserts which consisted of flan, pistachio ice cream, chocolate mousse, cheesecake and brownie). I was so stuffed I could barely move, but somehow I still made it to the casino We headed downtown to the Seaport casiono which we hadn't been to for a few years. We like it there. Very laid back. I hit a straight flush at 3-card poker. Whoo Hoo.

    Thursday, 4/5
    One week down and one to go. Headed to the Radisson for breakfast buffet at Laguna Fish Market. They must have been giving something away because I never saw the line so long before in my life. Still consistently good. Headed back and went to the beach in the late afternoon. Stayed until the sun set. Beautiful. DH BBQd burgers that night and we had some broccoli and rice pilaf on the side. No casino as I wanted to hold on to my win from the night before!

    Friday, 4/6
    Pool day. Mudslides and Pina Coladas poolside. Pizza Bob's for lunch and Driftwood for dinner. DM and I got Wahoo Aruban style and DH got blackened swordfish. DD got mac and cheese. Ice cream, cheesecake and Bailey's coffees for dessert. All delicious.

    Saturday, 4/7
    Another pool day. Luckily, no one had to get up at 6:00am for palapa as this was another travel day. Lunch was an array of leftovers from the previous few days. DD went down for her nap and DH went to Mulligans for a few Balashi's and to watch the Masters Cup (golf). That evening was another night out for DH and I. Mom babysat and got her customary Mulligans dutch pea soup and fried shrimp. DH and I always celebrate our post-anniversary in Aruba so we headed to Windows on Aruba to celebrate our 8th anniversary (which was really 2 weeks prior). This is by far our favorite restaurant for both quality of food and service. Sonja, our hostess, warmly greeted us for the second year in a row and promptly brought over 2 glasses of champagne with a sign wishing us a happy anniversary. She then took pics of us toasting and standing by the windows with the sunset behind us. For appetizer, DH ordered the bisque and brandy which is a lovely seafood bisque and I ordered the tomato and goat cheese salad. Both exquisite in both taste and presentation. Main course was chateaubriand for two (medium) with 3 dipping sauces. Cooked to perfection. We were both stuffed and hadn't planned on ordering dessert but as Divi members, we got free desserts so we ordered one and said we'd split it. We got the pistachio and hazelnut which was a pistachio cake roll, pistachio ice cream, a chocolate cylinder filled with hazelnut cream and crushed hazelnuts in caramel sauce. So yummy. If that wasn't enough, Sonja then returned with another dish that said Happy Anniversary with the #8 in chocolate sauce and a piece of carrot cake with a sparkler in the middle. More pics taken of our wedding rings by the plate, etc. We got the royal treatment to say the least. Stuffed as we were, we rolled ourselves back to the Alhambra. After a REALLY bad start, I was feeling lucky. I turned $60 into $265 at the roulette table and then decided to take the dice from DH who was losing his shirt at craps and after 2 very long rolls, lady luck prevailed and I won him back almost $400. Very happy to walk away slightly up after the huge beating we had taken earlier in the evening. Staying away from the casino for the next day or two!!!

    Sunday, 4/8
    Happy Easter! Very hot day. DD was very happy that the "Easter Bunny" made it to Aruba and she looked for eggs around our rooms in the morning. Dushi bagels for breakfast and then off to the beach. Back to room for usual (shower, nap, etc.). Had some snacks from Mulligans (chicken wings and onion rings). Hubby went back to Alhambra to play slots (he never learns) and lost $20. Off to El Gaucho for Easter dinner. All the adults started with mixed salads and we all got the 8 oz petite tenderloin for dinner with various sides. DD got spaghetti and meatballs. All shared white and dark chocolate mousse cake, ice cream and sherbet for dessert. Stuffed. Went back to room and finished off the night watching Happy Feet Two with DD :-)

    Monday, 4/9
    Pool day for a couple of hours until DD decided to have a temper tantrum at pool. For everyone else's sake, we packed up and headed back. Once she calmed down, we went up to the roof and relaxed in the jacuzzi. It wasn't plugged in and was only 85 degrees so we brought DD in and she played with all her rubber fish bath toys watching them "swim" back and forth as the jets pushed them. We found something she liked and calmed her down!!! Headed back to room and ordered lunch from Mulligans (dutch pea soup for me, Burgers and fries for DH and DM). Naptime for DD. She slept for a few hours (probably a result of her earlier temper tantrum). We walked around the hi-rise area at night. Bought some souveniers from the kiosks and ate a light dinner at the Hard Rock cafe that was surprisingly good (haystack chicken salad for me, chicken fingers for DD, pulled pork sandwich for DM and ribs for DH). Since DD was exceptionally good following her earlier meltdown, I got her a little drum and a set of maracas which she played with nonstop for the next few days.

    Tuesday, 4/10
    Linda's pancakes for breakfast. Plain pancake for DD, ham, gouda and mushroom for DM and myself and omelet for DH. All fabulous. Off to see the Lourdes Grotto (hadn't been there in 10 years) and some shopping downtown. DH bought me a beautiful ring and we got some more souveniers. Mom babysat again that night and hubby and I headed to Madame Janette's. Unfortunately, I had a wicked headache during dinner and didn't eat much. DH ordered potato leek soup for appetizer which he swears is the best soup he's ever eaten in his life. We both ordered "light" dinners. He got the sea bass delight (comes with mixed salad) and I ordered the tenderloin delight (comes with mixed salad). I ate the salad and only a few bites of the tenderloin (hubby ate the rest for lunch the next day). We split sorbet for dinner. I took 2 more advil and started to feel a bit better. Off to casino for our last hurrah. Took a BEATING again, but this time never made anything back. Oh well

    Wednesday, 4/11
    Last full day in Aruba. Made this a beach day. DM stayed in room and started packing while DH, DD and I spent 3 hours on the beach. They were having water issues so we were praying the water would be back on by the time we returned because there is nothing worse than being full of sand, saltwater and suntan lotion and not being able to shower. The beach was wonderful. Light breeze, light waves, crystal clear water, etc. We soaked in the last of paradise and headed back. Water was back on. Yea. Ordered lunch from Mulligans and then decided to go back up to the roof and enjoy the jacuzzi one last time. Another shower, nap for DD, penny slots for DH and then a girls night out. DM and I headed over to Chalet Suisse while DH and DD cleaned up the fridge and ate the last of the leftovers. We love this place. It's just a really pretty restaurant and the food and service is always consistent. We each had a few fruity beverages and took advantage of the early bird specials. Cream of mushroom soup, Chicken Milanese and hot kisses for DM and caesar salad, chicken milanese and hot kisses for me. All Delish!! Mom is not a gambler but I convinced her to go to Alhambra with me for an hour. We both lost $20.00 in slots. I told her that I had a feeling she's be lucky with roulette. She didn't want to play. I coaxed her to play and even gave her $50. We headed to the table. She put 2 chips and #4 and 2 chips on #23. First spin - #4 hits. She changes it up a bit. Second spin - she hits a quarter box for another $8. Third spin - she hits a half box for $17. A few spins later and she was up $100.00. She walked away happy and I think next year there will be a few more girls nights out!!!!

    Thursday, 4/12
    Leaving day. Few last minute items to pack. Then perfomed my yearly last day ritual. I go out onto balcony alone. I look out at all that beauty (ocean, golf course, lagoon) that is Aruba and I quietly thank God for all of the blessings I have in my life. I then say farewell until next year to our favorite place on earth.
    Returned rental car to Amigo lot (they were not open yet) and flew through the airport (apparantly, Thursday is nothing like Saturday). Waited for shops to open to get some duty free items and boarded plane. Another great flight. Landed in JFK a few minutes early. Our neighbor was waiting for us with his minivan (he owns a private taxi service). DD was happy to be home to all of her toys. In a few short years, she will begin to appreciate Aruba they way that her Mom, Dad and Grandma do, but for now, she's allowed to just be a kid
    We hit a few snafus along the way, but we did not let it spoil our trip one bit. We had 14 days of absolutely beautiful weather (I don't believe we saw a drop of rain), fantastic meals, great entertainment and alot of laughs. I gained SIX pounds but I'm not upset about that either. It was worth every pound (although I did start my diet today). 50 more weeks until paradise. The countdown begins......

  3. #3
    Senior Member Arubalisa's Avatar
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    Excellent! Thanks for taking the time to share. I felt like I was right there with you.

  4. #4
    Senior Member danadog56's Avatar
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    great vacation review.....the small "snafus" as andrea called them did not seem to keep you from having a wonderful time......which is great...
    hopefully our vacation will be a great....
    thanks for posting
    ARUBA....HOME AWAY FROM HOME

  5. #5
    Member arubanewbie's Avatar
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    Thanks for the report! We recently bought a timeshare at the links and will be there for our first stay June 2nd for 2 weeks. We are VERY excited! We are taking my mom and our 2 boys ages 9 & 7. Some of the reviews on trip advisor have had me a little nervous, have heard of lots of complaints regarding the water not working and bad customer service. Do you have any pointers or tips for us during our stay there?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Lewny1's Avatar
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    My pointers for you Arubanewbie would just be to let the little things roll off your back and enjoy being in Aruba. We love the views, pool, beach and restaurants at the Links but I will admit that when it comes to customer service, it's definitely not the Marriott. I can't tell you how many times I called the Front Desk to be told "hold one minute" and they literally put the phone down so you can hear everything that is going on and then get back on the phone 10 minutes later. We have lost water twice since we bought and last year we lost power. The water was only off for a few hours this year and we went to the beach. When we returned, it was turned back on. The last time we lost water, it was at night and we needed to shower. They gave us a room key over at the Dutch Village. A bit of an inconvenience but not terrible. When we lost power last year, my then 2 1/2 year old freaked out a bit since it was around 9:00pm. We put on her portable DVD player as light until she fell asleep. We also lit a citronella candle. This year we brought a flashlight just in case!!! Every time I start to get frustrated I remember two things a) This is not New York city and b) all of the other wonderful things about Aruba more than make up for the shotty customer service. Enjoy your trip!!!

  7. #7
    Member arubanewbie's Avatar
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    Thanks so much for your advice. We are pretty easy going, so I am sure it will be fine. Hopefully we won't need the front desk for anything, and if the water goes out, hopefully it won't be during a shower ! And I just put flashlight on my packing list

  8. #8
    Junior Member
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    Great review thank you! A lot of ideas for suppers and lunches
    Thanks!

  9. #9
    Senior Member cindyo's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great review Lewny !

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