Just returned from another trip to paradise 5/23/08 - 6/1/08. Flew direct from New York to Aruba on JetBlue for the first time and loved it. Flights both ways were on time and check in at JetBlue is very easy. TV Screens at each seat make the flight pass very quickly. You do lose signal as you get away from the U.S. but they then offer two free movies on the TVs. Limited snacks as with all airlines now and you will have to bring your own headphones from now on or pay for them.
On a side note, there was an article in ARUBA TODAY paper while we were there indicating that American Airlines is significantly cutting back on flights to Aruba, especially during the off-season. This includes cutting direct flights from NY to 4 per week from the present 7 per week. The tourism industry in Aruba is very concerned over this so we'll have to wait and see what happens.
Arrived in Aruba around 3:30 pm and took a cab straight to the Renaissance Ocean Suites downtown where we rented a timeshare for the week. Rented from someone on this forum and everything was very smooth. Our room was ready right away and we had a great view from the 5th floor of the ocean and the downtown area. Immediately went over to the private island and spend two hours in the ocean until the last shuttle boat headed back at 6:45 pm. In my opinion, the beach at the private island is the most beautiful and least crowded on the entire island of Aruba - especially during the off season. On most days, we would head over between 9 and 10 am and their were under 20 people on the family side of the island until well after noon. The children enjoyed the snorkeling at the island (which I think is comparable to most other locations - including DePalm Island), exploring, searching for and hand feeding the iguanas, checking out the pink duck and the pink flamingos, napping in the hammocks, and diving off the floating dock. We ate lunch most days at the restaurant on Renaissance Island and the food was excellent. I recommend the cajun snapper sandwich and the chicken satay, served with a peanut sauce.
We also enjoyed the pools at the Renaissance which were not very crowded and the kids had many banana smoothies at the swim up bar.
Because we travel with young children, staying downtown within walking distance to many fast food places is a bonus. We ate at Sbarro, Subway and Dunkin Donuts in the Renaissance Marina Marketplace when the kids needed a quick bite. We had dinner at El Gaucho which is still fantastic - the El Gaucho steak from Argentina is simply one of the best tenderloins I've ever had. Went to the Old Fisherman and had fresh caught fish in their garlic butter sauce which was awesome (both Mahi Mahi and Grouper). The kids really enjoyed Iguana Joe's where the kids Mac & Cheese is some of the best we've ever had. Took the kids to the Buccaneer Restaurant where the food is excellent and reasonably priced and there are fish tanks visible from all the tables. My kids absolutely loved this restaurant and let my wife and I enjoy a quiet meal while they watched turtles swim by, lobsters walking around, and schools of fish swimming around. This is a must do for anyone with kids and those adults like me who are kids at heart.
For the last two days of our vacation, we moved over to the Mariott Surf Club (first visit) where we rented a lock-out unit with a Queen bed and pull out couch from someone on the forum. The Surf Club is absolutely beautiful. I could not believe how nice the rooms were decked out. Top of the line everything as you would expect from a newer resort. Much busier than the Renaissance with many more children for my kids to play with. The pools are incredible and we all did the water slide about 200 times. The lazy river is great and almost everyone brings their own floats. Kids enjoyed the Chocolate Monkeys at the pool bar (Vanilla Ice Cream, Chocolate Sauce and Banana blended) and had virgin Passion Fruit Daquiris on the last day. The restaurant at the pool was good but overpriced. We also swam at the Ocean Club and the Mariott and we enjoyed the quiet pool at the Mariott with its plush red cushions on the chairs (great for an afternoon siesta).
We ran around with the kids each day from 6:00 am to about 10:00 pm and I think I fell asleep before the kids on a few of the days. I will work on posting some pictures over the next few days. Overall, another fabulous trip to Aruba with a total of about 6 raindrops as we swam in the ocean one day. Two other days were slightly overcast and the rest of the time there were only a few fair weather clouds. We went through nine bottles of sunscreen during the nine days as we have learned from past mistakes and re-lotion frequently.
Time to plan the next trip. Feel free to e-mail me with any questions about these properties.
Just viewed the picutures ...ah, the dock, the island, the flamingo's....Lets not brag to much about the private island. That way, it won't get over crowded.
Looks like your girls and wife had a fab time.
Anywork on the pool going on? How about the doors to the balconies?
Snorkel Mangel Halto, day or night with a waterscooter. Check out our website. E-mail Stuart at email@example.com or call Stuart local: 745-7459 Or visit: www.arubabobsnorkeling.com 47th trip in June 2015 and 48th trip in Nov 2015.