Considering that most of our trip was thrown together at the last minute, it went fairly well. There were a few things that got on my nerves though.
For the flight down we were booked on the first flight of the day to Charlotte, but as an airline employee we only get to go if there is an empty seat. The first flight is weight restricted as there was fog in Charlotte and the plane needed to take extra fuel. Fortunately there weren't a lot of bags in the hold and they managed to get us on the airplane. Got my biscuits and gravy for breakfast in Charlotte and on down to Aruba with no problems.
While waiting for our flight in Charlotte, we booked a rental car with Amigo. It was ready and waiting when we got there, just a few hours later. The only problem was that it had been in an accident at some point and had an airbag deployment. The horn would go off every time you hit a bump, so we had to bring it back and get it disconnected.
Despite booking a "run of the house" deal at the Divi just a couple days before leaving we ended up with a room in the "vista II" building. The ocean view and proximity to the beach makes that building my favorite accommodation on the island. We had to change rooms at the last minute but we knew that ahead of time, no rooms were available from Saturday to Saturday and it beat going ot another hotel. The room on the last night was on the back side of the building and was very musty and dank.
I thought the service at the Divi and Tam was significantly worse than in the past. I tend to tip very well for good service, yet I found myself somewhat reticent to tip many of the people during this trip. Several times I had to go to the bar to get a refill on a coke at the buffet or bartenders would disappear for long periods of time. I also really don't get the lunch service hours. People would start gathering around the pizza bar at 10:30 or so waiting for it to open at 11. If you waited until 11 to get there, it would often take 30 minutes or more to get a drink and even longer for pizza. The buffet was closed from around 10 until 12 or 12:30 and the pizza bar was the only place to get something to eat during that time. It seems like very bad planning at a common time to eat.
I booked my dives with Red Sail on Sunday. The woman at the desk didn't tell me that a number of the dives that I wanted to book were canceled or sold out until after charging my credit card for the eight dive package. I ended up with a very different program than I had intended, but the dives went well overall. I met some great people and did my first night dive. On that one dive alone we saw a 20-ish pound lobster, a large puffer and a couple turtles including one that was at least 3-4 feet long.
We did a four hour tour with Cerry and learned even more about the island that we love so much.
Stopped at the rum shop in the large green and white building on the main street and got an education on the many versions of Palmera rum and left with more than we had planned. Best part is that it was significantly cheaper than at the airport duty free.
The only off-site dinner on this trip was at Wacky Wahoo and the food was excellent as usual. Service was much faster than in the past, despite having late reservations. Significant improvement to the one aspect of the experience that had been slightly lacking in the past.
Coming home we could have been through the gauntlet in less than 30 minutes had we not stopped to shop for so long at the duty free areas.