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Thread: Griswold Family Vacation Trip Report!

  1. #1
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    Griswold Family Vacation Trip Report!

    Hi, I just wanted to thank everyone on the forum for helping me plan a great trip, especially Arubalisa and Andrea J. Your tips were invaluable!

    Special thanks to Bully the taxi driver for his hospitality and helpful advice!

    Griswold Family Vacation Trip Report
    Cast: Dad, Mom, Girl (13), Boy, (11)

    Friday, July 22nd: Mom and Girl got a pre-vacay mani-pedi

    Saturday, July 23rd: We woke at 4:00 am for a 7:30 flight… Who’s idea was this?!
    At least the flight was uneventful. We landed at noon.
    Bully picked us up right outside the door! He was so sweet and made us feel welcome.
    He dropped us off at the Radisson around 1:00.
    We were hoping our room would be ready but it wasn’t, so we decided to get lunch at Gilligan’s, which was good. We checked out the pool and beach, then checked again to find out if our room was ready yet, but it wasn’t. At 4:00 it was finally ready. I had requested an ocean view room with 2 beds. When we got up to the room it was garden view with one bed. L I trekked down to the desk again. 20 minutes later they had a room for us. We went back upstairs. This one had 2 beds but was garden view. We were too tired and hot to argue. The room was fine; we were just disappointed not to get the ocean view. Eventually I did ask for a rate adjustment, and they did give it to us. Other than that, our stay at the Radisson was great! I loved the beach. The hubby and kids loved the pool. We went to Gilligan’s several times for lunch and breakfast, and it was consistently good all week. The staff was always friendly and eager to help. My kids went into the kids’ club to use the arcade, but didn’t do any of the kids’ activities.
    After we finally got settled, Dad and the Girl took a nap. The Boy and I checked out the beach. We then cleaned up for dinner. We went to the prime rib buffet at Laguna. The prime rib was good, but the rest of the buffet was OK. Not bad, but not great. Dad and the Girl enjoyed the crepe station. The Boy did not like one thing there! Luckily they only charged us for his apple juice. I took him back to Gilligan’s for a chocolate milk to fill him up. We relaxed on the balcony a bit before bed. The view was OK. We were close to the lobby and looked directly down on Laguna and the fish pond. Most nights they had live entertainment at Laguna until 10:00 which might have kept us up had we not brought our white noise machine with us.

    Most nights we just stayed in the room and relaxed on the balcony or watched TV. We are not “club” people, and couldn’t have gone out with the kids anyway. Dad went to the casino twice. We watched 2 Star Wars movies, lol, and some bad sitcoms on ABC Family. Dad and kids swam in the pool once after dinner. After a day in the sun and swimming, we were all shot and ready for bed by 10:00 or so.

    Sunday, July 24th:
    Breakfast at Gilligan’s
    We enjoyed the resort this day, just hanging around the beach and pool, getting a feel for everything.
    Dinner at Texas de Brazil:
    It was very good, but a LOT of food! We shared a pitcher of sangria, which was good, but it kept me from filling up on food. The Girl really liked it. We were STUFFED when we left. Except for the boy, of course, who didn’t touch anything but bread. Unfortunately we paid full price for him to eat bread. I took him to Gilligan’s for a burger when we got back to the Radisson. We did have a 25% off coupon for Texas de Brazil though, so we technically came out even, instead of getting a true discount.

    Monday, July 25th:
    We discovered the Dunkin Donuts on the beach that morning. Luckily the Boy eats donuts! At 9:30 Bully picked us up for our pre-arranged 2 hour tour of the island. We saw a Divi Divi tree, typical Aruban homes, rock formations, native cave drawings, a catholic church, a cemetery, green and blue lizards, and Natural Bridge. Bully dropped us off at Certified Mega Mall to shop for t-shirts and snacks. I had the service desk call him when we were done, and he brought us back to the Radisson. We had lunch at the Hard Rock. It was EMPTY! The food was usual Hard Rock fare. We then spent the rest of the day at the pool/beach.
    Dinner at Madame Janette:
    OMG. It was phenomenal. The Girl was not thrilled with her meal. The Boy had lemonade. Dad and I enjoyed our meals, but although it was very good, I thought it was quite expensive. Maybe I was comparing it to the volume of food we had the night before? I had a mojito that was very good. It went straight to my head though, lol. The atmosphere was very nice. Bully stopped at McDonald’s for the Boy on our way back to the Radisson.

    Tuesday, July 26th: We hit Dunkin Donuts again on our way to the Jolly Pirates snorkel cruise. It was our first time snorkeling. We went to 3 sites. The first was the Antilla wreck. It was windy and rough. The boy had a rough time and went back on the boat. I had a rough time but didn’t give up. Dad and Girl got the hang of it and enjoyed themselves. The second stop was Boca Catalina, which was much more calm. We all did fairly well there. The last stop was Malmok beach. That was calm as well, and enjoyable. We stayed there for quite a while. After we all came back on board, they pulled out the rope swing, and I think the Boy must have jumped off the boat 20 times! They also served lunch here. I saw that they brought it onboard from the shore, so it wasn’t melting on the boat. We had worked up quite an appetite in the water so the Girl and I ate quite a bit. It wasn’t the best food, but it hit the spot. The Boy was too busy on the rope swing to eat. Dad was a little sea sick and didn’t want to chance eating. We went to the beach/pool for a short time before cleaning up before dinner.
    Dinner at Amazonia:
    We ate on the porch, which was very nice. It was basically Texas de Brazil again, but I liked the salad bar at Amazonia better. It was very close though. We got the Boy a chicken nugget meal here, but of course he didn’t like the nuggets. He did eat the fries, and some of my sausage. Go figure.

    Wednesday, July 27th:
    Another day at the resort. We tried the Laguna breakfast buffet this time. It was much better than the dinner. The omelet station was great. The Girl and I did aerobics in the pool at 11:00. After swimming a bit more, we had lunch again at Gilligan’s, then moved over to the bar, where we played Bingo at 1:00. The boy won us a free pool cabana!!! We used it the next day. The girl also won a free frozen drink.
    Dinner at Buccaneer:
    The atmosphere was great for the kids. Their kids’ menu was OK. The Boy got a burger but only ate half. The Girl got chicken parm and ate it, but said it wasn’t the best. I wouldn’t expect a seafood place to have great Italian food, so, I’ll give them a pass. Dad had a steak and liked the variety of foods on his plate. I got the Shrimp Provencal, which was good, and also had a variety of foods – potatoes, a noodle casserole, broccoli. I also got the scallops scampi appetizer, which was very good. They also had very good coffee.

    Thursday, July 28th:
    We went out to Linda’s Dutch Pancakes for breakfast. Dad and the Girl LOVED it! I liked it, but I’m not a crepe fanatic. The Boy ate half his pancake. We then spent another day at the resort. We enjoyed the pool cabana! It came with a cooler filled with water bottles. We went to lunch at Bugaloe bar and grill on the end of De Palm Pier because the Girl wanted to eat on the ocean. The atmosphere was great, but the food was OK. Dad said the burger tasted like a meatloaf. The boy didn’t like his burger, so the Girl ate it. She had ordered a grilled cheese, but it was really a French bread cut in half with cheese melted on it. I ate part if it – it wasn’t bad, just different from what she expected. I had a BLT, also on French bread.
    Dinner at Casa Tua:
    We originally had a reservation for El Gaucho, but we were all “steaked out” by this point, so I cancelled it. Casa Tua hit the spot. I had a salad, because the lunch had filled me up. At this point, Dad’s IBS finally caught up with him. He thinks it was something he ate at lunch. He couldn’t finish his penne carbonara, so I did! It was really good! The kids enjoyed the pizza.

    Friday, July 29th:
    I wanted to explore Orenjestad a bit. Dad and kids balked but went reluctantly. We went to the bell desk and asked them to get us a taxi to bring us to the archeological museum. Both the bell captain and the taxi driver had to ask where it was! When we got there, it was empty except for us. It was small but cute and FREE! We spent about 20 minutes there, then walked on the street a little, then went to the Renaissance to get a taxi back to the Radisson. Everyone agreed they enjoyed it. We made it back to the Radisson in time to hop into our bathing suits and do the pool aerobics at 11:00. We had lunch at Gilligan’s and ate while we played Bingo again. This time we all won Radisson t-shirts except for Dad, and 2 more free drinks. We were spoiled by the cabana the day before, so we got the same one for Friday. We had wanted to do tubing or parasailing, but when we went Friday afternoon, they told us all the boats for the day were sold out. You would have thought that when we went earlier in the week to ask about pricing, that they would have told us to get there early. It wasn’t a big deal though, it’s something to do next time!
    Dinner: Smokey Joe’s
    OMG. The ribs were SO good! Dad and the Girl shared a double rack. I shared 2 appetizers with the Boy. We were STUFFED, for much less money than Texas de Brazil or Amazonia or Madame Janette. Smokey Joe’s is a BIG restaurant, and it was PACKED.

    After dinner we went back to the room to pack.

    Saturday morning, the Girl and I ate breakfast at Gilligan’s. I had to have their Eggs Benedict one more time, and the Girl wanted another banana smoothie. We got donuts for the boys on our way back. Bully picked us up at 9:30 to bring us back to the airport. He gave us all hugs when he dropped us off. He brought his son with him. He was sweet! We will miss Aruba and Bully!

  2. #2
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    I forgot to say, that we reserved a palapa every day at 4:00 except for Thursday and Friday, and did not have a problem getting one. On Tuesday we didn't use it until 3:00 after the snorkel cruise and it was still available. Laguna and Gilligan's were never crowded. I am assuming this is because part of the hotel is under renovation, so it wasn't filled to capacity.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Arubalisa's Avatar
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    Gosh I cannot believe you are all home already!

    Thanks for sharing your vacation story with us.

    Time to plan your next trip.



  4. #4
    Senior Member DANNYO's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing your vacation with us.Did your son like Aruba ?

  5. #5
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    welcome home and glad that you and family had a good time.

    i too do not know where archealogical (SP) museum is.
    i do know it is there but due to laziness and probably disinterest, never went.

    does your son weigh under 50 lbs?
    my son, now almost 26 until he was almost 10 ate only mashed potatoes, tomato soup, buffalo wings, cereal and tuna sandwiches. it was a nightmare to deal with him.

    i am sure that the watersports places do sell out often during school breaks.....not only were the USA kids out of school, so were the Aruban kids. Too bad that your family did not get to participate in that.

    welcome home.......time to begin planning your next trip?


    Quote Originally Posted by Griswold Family Vacay View Post
    Hi, I just wanted to thank everyone on the forum for helping me plan a great trip, especially Arubalisa and Andrea J. Your tips were invaluable!

    Special thanks to Bully the taxi driver for his hospitality and helpful advice!

    Griswold Family Vacation Trip Report
    Cast: Dad, Mom, Girl (13), Boy, (11)

    Friday, July 22nd: Mom and Girl got a pre-vacay mani-pedi

    Saturday, July 23rd: We woke at 4:00 am for a 7:30 flight… Who’s idea was this?!
    At least the flight was uneventful. We landed at noon.
    Bully picked us up right outside the door! He was so sweet and made us feel welcome.
    He dropped us off at the Radisson around 1:00.
    We were hoping our room would be ready but it wasn’t, so we decided to get lunch at Gilligan’s, which was good. We checked out the pool and beach, then checked again to find out if our room was ready yet, but it wasn’t. At 4:00 it was finally ready. I had requested an ocean view room with 2 beds. When we got up to the room it was garden view with one bed. L I trekked down to the desk again. 20 minutes later they had a room for us. We went back upstairs. This one had 2 beds but was garden view. We were too tired and hot to argue. The room was fine; we were just disappointed not to get the ocean view. Eventually I did ask for a rate adjustment, and they did give it to us. Other than that, our stay at the Radisson was great! I loved the beach. The hubby and kids loved the pool. We went to Gilligan’s several times for lunch and breakfast, and it was consistently good all week. The staff was always friendly and eager to help. My kids went into the kids’ club to use the arcade, but didn’t do any of the kids’ activities.
    After we finally got settled, Dad and the Girl took a nap. The Boy and I checked out the beach. We then cleaned up for dinner. We went to the prime rib buffet at Laguna. The prime rib was good, but the rest of the buffet was OK. Not bad, but not great. Dad and the Girl enjoyed the crepe station. The Boy did not like one thing there! Luckily they only charged us for his apple juice. I took him back to Gilligan’s for a chocolate milk to fill him up. We relaxed on the balcony a bit before bed. The view was OK. We were close to the lobby and looked directly down on Laguna and the fish pond. Most nights they had live entertainment at Laguna until 10:00 which might have kept us up had we not brought our white noise machine with us.

    Most nights we just stayed in the room and relaxed on the balcony or watched TV. We are not “club” people, and couldn’t have gone out with the kids anyway. Dad went to the casino twice. We watched 2 Star Wars movies, lol, and some bad sitcoms on ABC Family. Dad and kids swam in the pool once after dinner. After a day in the sun and swimming, we were all shot and ready for bed by 10:00 or so.

    Sunday, July 24th:
    Breakfast at Gilligan’s
    We enjoyed the resort this day, just hanging around the beach and pool, getting a feel for everything.
    Dinner at Texas de Brazil:
    It was very good, but a LOT of food! We shared a pitcher of sangria, which was good, but it kept me from filling up on food. The Girl really liked it. We were STUFFED when we left. Except for the boy, of course, who didn’t touch anything but bread. Unfortunately we paid full price for him to eat bread. I took him to Gilligan’s for a burger when we got back to the Radisson. We did have a 25% off coupon for Texas de Brazil though, so we technically came out even, instead of getting a true discount.

    Monday, July 25th:
    We discovered the Dunkin Donuts on the beach that morning. Luckily the Boy eats donuts! At 9:30 Bully picked us up for our pre-arranged 2 hour tour of the island. We saw a Divi Divi tree, typical Aruban homes, rock formations, native cave drawings, a catholic church, a cemetery, green and blue lizards, and Natural Bridge. Bully dropped us off at Certified Mega Mall to shop for t-shirts and snacks. I had the service desk call him when we were done, and he brought us back to the Radisson. We had lunch at the Hard Rock. It was EMPTY! The food was usual Hard Rock fare. We then spent the rest of the day at the pool/beach.
    Dinner at Madame Janette:
    OMG. It was phenomenal. The Girl was not thrilled with her meal. The Boy had lemonade. Dad and I enjoyed our meals, but although it was very good, I thought it was quite expensive. Maybe I was comparing it to the volume of food we had the night before? I had a mojito that was very good. It went straight to my head though, lol. The atmosphere was very nice. Bully stopped at McDonald’s for the Boy on our way back to the Radisson.

    Tuesday, July 26th: We hit Dunkin Donuts again on our way to the Jolly Pirates snorkel cruise. It was our first time snorkeling. We went to 3 sites. The first was the Antilla wreck. It was windy and rough. The boy had a rough time and went back on the boat. I had a rough time but didn’t give up. Dad and Girl got the hang of it and enjoyed themselves. The second stop was Boca Catalina, which was much more calm. We all did fairly well there. The last stop was Malmok beach. That was calm as well, and enjoyable. We stayed there for quite a while. After we all came back on board, they pulled out the rope swing, and I think the Boy must have jumped off the boat 20 times! They also served lunch here. I saw that they brought it onboard from the shore, so it wasn’t melting on the boat. We had worked up quite an appetite in the water so the Girl and I ate quite a bit. It wasn’t the best food, but it hit the spot. The Boy was too busy on the rope swing to eat. Dad was a little sea sick and didn’t want to chance eating. We went to the beach/pool for a short time before cleaning up before dinner.
    Dinner at Amazonia:
    We ate on the porch, which was very nice. It was basically Texas de Brazil again, but I liked the salad bar at Amazonia better. It was very close though. We got the Boy a chicken nugget meal here, but of course he didn’t like the nuggets. He did eat the fries, and some of my sausage. Go figure.

    Wednesday, July 27th:
    Another day at the resort. We tried the Laguna breakfast buffet this time. It was much better than the dinner. The omelet station was great. The Girl and I did aerobics in the pool at 11:00. After swimming a bit more, we had lunch again at Gilligan’s, then moved over to the bar, where we played Bingo at 1:00. The boy won us a free pool cabana!!! We used it the next day. The girl also won a free frozen drink.
    Dinner at Buccaneer:
    The atmosphere was great for the kids. Their kids’ menu was OK. The Boy got a burger but only ate half. The Girl got chicken parm and ate it, but said it wasn’t the best. I wouldn’t expect a seafood place to have great Italian food, so, I’ll give them a pass. Dad had a steak and liked the variety of foods on his plate. I got the Shrimp Provencal, which was good, and also had a variety of foods – potatoes, a noodle casserole, broccoli. I also got the scallops scampi appetizer, which was very good. They also had very good coffee.

    Thursday, July 28th:
    We went out to Linda’s Dutch Pancakes for breakfast. Dad and the Girl LOVED it! I liked it, but I’m not a crepe fanatic. The Boy ate half his pancake. We then spent another day at the resort. We enjoyed the pool cabana! It came with a cooler filled with water bottles. We went to lunch at Bugaloe bar and grill on the end of De Palm Pier because the Girl wanted to eat on the ocean. The atmosphere was great, but the food was OK. Dad said the burger tasted like a meatloaf. The boy didn’t like his burger, so the Girl ate it. She had ordered a grilled cheese, but it was really a French bread cut in half with cheese melted on it. I ate part if it – it wasn’t bad, just different from what she expected. I had a BLT, also on French bread.
    Dinner at Casa Tua:
    We originally had a reservation for El Gaucho, but we were all “steaked out” by this point, so I cancelled it. Casa Tua hit the spot. I had a salad, because the lunch had filled me up. At this point, Dad’s IBS finally caught up with him. He thinks it was something he ate at lunch. He couldn’t finish his penne carbonara, so I did! It was really good! The kids enjoyed the pizza.

    Friday, July 29th:
    I wanted to explore Orenjestad a bit. Dad and kids balked but went reluctantly. We went to the bell desk and asked them to get us a taxi to bring us to the archeological museum. Both the bell captain and the taxi driver had to ask where it was! When we got there, it was empty except for us. It was small but cute and FREE! We spent about 20 minutes there, then walked on the street a little, then went to the Renaissance to get a taxi back to the Radisson. Everyone agreed they enjoyed it. We made it back to the Radisson in time to hop into our bathing suits and do the pool aerobics at 11:00. We had lunch at Gilligan’s and ate while we played Bingo again. This time we all won Radisson t-shirts except for Dad, and 2 more free drinks. We were spoiled by the cabana the day before, so we got the same one for Friday. We had wanted to do tubing or parasailing, but when we went Friday afternoon, they told us all the boats for the day were sold out. You would have thought that when we went earlier in the week to ask about pricing, that they would have told us to get there early. It wasn’t a big deal though, it’s something to do next time!
    Dinner: Smokey Joe’s
    OMG. The ribs were SO good! Dad and the Girl shared a double rack. I shared 2 appetizers with the Boy. We were STUFFED, for much less money than Texas de Brazil or Amazonia or Madame Janette. Smokey Joe’s is a BIG restaurant, and it was PACKED.

    After dinner we went back to the room to pack.

    Saturday morning, the Girl and I ate breakfast at Gilligan’s. I had to have their Eggs Benedict one more time, and the Girl wanted another banana smoothie. We got donuts for the boys on our way back. Bully picked us up at 9:30 to bring us back to the airport. He gave us all hugs when he dropped us off. He brought his son with him. He was sweet! We will miss Aruba and Bully!

  6. #6
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    I can't believe we are back already either! Lazy days by the pool went by quickly!

    Yes, my son liked Aruba. He liked the pool. Food is not his priority, lol. The 2 times we went to Walt Disney World he survived the entire week on chocolate milk! He is normal weight and height. Just picky!

  7. #7
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    Me too, can not believe you are home already-- where did that time go???

    glad to hear you have a great time. We stayed in the Curacau building floor 6 even side-- awesome view of the ocean-

    I do want to thank you for updating your questions. It was a big help.

    (only a 25%off Texas De Brazil? was that the first time you signed up on the web page
    Last edited by serene56; 08-01-2011 at 02:52 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member cpjones's Avatar
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    Great report..... Thanks.... Planning the next trip?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by serene56 View Post
    Me too, can not believe you are home already-- where did that time go???

    glad to hear you have a great time. We stayed in the Curacau building floor 6 even side-- awesome view of the ocean-

    I do want to thank you for updating your questions. It was a big help.

    (only a 25%off Texas De Brazil? was that the first time you signed up on the web page

    Yes, that was the first time I signed up with TDB.

  10. #10
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    Next year we are going to the Jersey Shore - Wildwood/Cape May.

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