This may be a long - and probably boring - trip report for some people, however I hope there is some useful and interesting information for some of you.
We left for Aruba on JetBlue out of Boston on March 13 - uneventful flight - just the way we like it. Bully was waiting for us at the airport. He told me he had two pick ups off that flight, however he personally did ours as I booked him first - thank you Bully. Nothing like seeing your smiling face waiting for us. By the way, breezed through immigration and baggage claim. We were at the Divi AL in 30 minutes from arrival.
Check-in at the Divi was easy as usual. We became Red Parrot members as this was our 5th trip. Nice t-shirts and $100 in coupons which we chose to use at the Casino. There was about 10 places you could chose to use them. Headed to the bar as our room wasnít quite ready yet. Had my annual pina colada as we looked at the beautiful blue water. Room was ready about 2pm - nice room, Vista II, second floor, last room towards the water - woo hoo!!
Weather on arrival was cloudy and very windy - but heck, weíre n Aruba. It stayed that way for the first 3-4 days, but we managed to get a sunburn anyway. The windy was a bit annoying. It was the windiest it has ever been in our 5 years there. Had to hold onto your drink or zip - off the bar it went. It did calm down, but it wasnít the best weather we have ever had, but again, weíre in Aruba!
Went out with the Jolly Pirates on Friday. Lots of fun as usual. Water was choppy so I skipped the Antilla stop - been there/done that. It did pour at one point for about 15 minutes as we were between stops. The pirates refer to it as ďAruba snowĒ as the temperature did drop a few degrees and they were cold - ha. I invited them to visit Boston in January next year if they wanted to feel cold!! Some good snorkeling at the other two stops and not a lot of people on the boat so it was easy to get around. Nice show on the rope swing - not me, the pirates!! All the other people on the other boats were watching us.
Saturday was St. Patrickís Day. Went to the flea market and stopped at the Bunker Bar for a little while on the way back. Lots of green - beer, hair, beards, clothing - funny stuff. That night, we had reservations at Ginger at the Tam so we headed back over early to see what was going on. A large group of ďgreen peopleĒ at the Pizzi Tutti area playing great music on an Ipod and acting up. Lots of fun. Met fellow forum member Snidely (Joe and Mimi). Nice to talk to another Aruba forum member and compare experiences.
Great dinners at all the restaurants - Red Parrot 3 times, Ginger 2 times and Papparazzi 2 times. The food was great and the service was wonderful also. In past years, service has been spotty, but this year, greatly improved. I felt like the service throughout the resort was better - not that it was bad in the past, but this year everyone seemed more attentive. I did remark to a few people that it shows the quality of the resort as the same people have been working there for years. With all the places they could work in Aruba, they are still at the Divi/Tam. Just an observation on my partÖ
Finally got up the nerve to go parasailing. Would I do it again, not sure, but it was an interesting experience. We booked through the Divi and they came and picked us up. We drove to Eagle Beach and a boat picked us up there and brought us out to the parasailing boat off Palm Beach. There was a family of 4 on the boat already. The two children were going up also. They went up first came down all excited that they saw sea turtles. I was a bit nervous, but I figured heck, they did it and saw turtles so up I went. Going up I thought - this is really cool ! Up and up I went - ok, a little nervous now as I started swaying in the breeze! Didnít see anything - maybe because of my nerves. Must admit, although the view was incredible, I was happy to see them start to reel me in. Once in a lifetime experience for me!! They took us back to Eagle Beach at the end - all in all, about an hour. Good enough for me - had a nice cocktail when I returned to the Divi!!
Other than that, beached it every day. Divi has a new palaya system. Every night they collect all the chairs and lock them up. At 6:30 am, they come out and unlock the chairs and people are waiting to grab them and reserve them - although they still tell you that you cannot reserve them. The 9 days we were there, there were still palayas available at 9-10 am, but they did fill up shortly after that. The Divi and Tam were both sold out, but there were always chairs available, just not palayas. Seems like a better system to me. At least you KNOW that 6:30 is the time and people arenít reserving chairs at midnight. Heard this was due to a guest freaking out one night and throwing everyone's stuff in the pool as all the chairs were reserved. Not sure if thatís true, but made for a great story!
Two cruise ships in port every day but Saturday and Sunday. One day a tall ship went by - what a majestic sight. The crew was all standing on the masts (I know thatís not what they are called but donít know the right word) as the ship went by. I didnít recognize the flag but looked it up when we got home and they were from Columbia. We went downtown that morning and they were all over the place, looking sharp in their white uniforms. A great site to see.
As I said, rest of the time spent lounging on the beach, having a few cocktails and just relaxing. Met lots of nice people from New England and beyond. Seemed to be a lot more people from Europe and South America this year - and a lot more kids. Not sure if thatís because the Tam sold out first and they flipped over to the Divi. Lucky kids - little ones in Aruba. Didnít dare tell my kids that!!
Bully arrived to pick us up for our flight home - ever the jokster. He told the bell captain to tell us he couldnít make it - what??!! He then came out from behind the bus that was there - laughing all the time. Got to the airport and breezed through check-in, Aruba customs, US customs - 30 minutes from drop off to the gate. Flight home uneventful also. A little bumpier, but nothing major. Arrived to 70 degree weather in Boston. Heard it was that way the whole time we were gone. Doggie happy to see me - oh, and I guess the kids too? I think they were just happy I was home to resume taking care of their doggie - but thatís another story!!
All in all a great time. Wish the weather could have been a little sunnier, but it was warm and the water was calmer this year. Hopefully will be returning next year??
Thanks for the trip report. We are headed to Aruba in September out of Boston on Jet Blue! Can't wait! It's funny watching people going parasailing the way that you just rise up out of the boat like that. The wind is perfect for that in Aruba. Glad you had a great time.
you are one brave lady...parasailing!
was it a spur of the moment trip or did you have it planned ahead of time?
glad all was terrific!
what time did the line form to get an unlocked lounge chair? and do people stand under "their chosen palapa" waiting for their partner to bring back the chairs?
Thanks Andrea - yes, we had planned it. Rob has parasailed many times before, but it was a first for me. We waited until the wind calmed down a bit though!
People go out about 6:20 to wait for the young man to come unlock the chairs. Some put books and towels on the little table under the palapa but we never did. We just went out at 6:30 (well, Rob did - I was still in bed!) and we always got a front row, usually the same one. The Divi has added more palapas. They lost some a few years back and finally replaced them so that helped. The new system has really made it much nicer. We are early birds anyway so getting up at 6:30 was fine with us. As I said though, you didn't HAVE TO. We did because we wanted front row in the bar area, but there were still some available later in the morning and later in the day, some would open up as people left the beach around 2pm.
Sorry you had to come home but happy that the Divi was as good as ever.
Also sorry for the clouds, but on the bright side it sounds like you did not have much rain. AND you made the best of it. Thanks for reminding everyone that they can still get sunburned when it is cloudy.
Sounds too like you had June like winds
Caribbean cruise season is winding down as the ships all head to Alaska and Europe. Were cruise passengers an issue on the beach?
Didn't realize it was windier in June. Good to know as we were thinking of going a little later next year. We didn't notice many non-Divi/Tam people at our beach, however Eagle Beach seemed pretty crowded the few times we went by it. We were on the bus on day coming back from shopping downtown and a group of people from a cruise ship were trying to figure out how to get to a beach and which one to go to. Me being the overly-helpful one gave them the Eagle Beach/Palm Beach low-down and told them how to get to both. One reason I don't cruise. Being a beach person, I love stepping out the door and being on the beach. The idea of getting off a boat, in a taxi or bus and having to figure out which beach to go to and how to get there and then being on a time-table to get back to the boat...not my idea of a relaxing vacation - reminds me of a herd of cattle, but we have friends who love it, so to each their own.
Average wind speeds in Aruba increase from March with an average of 17 mph to June, when it is the highest at 20 mph with average gusts of 37 mph vs. average gusts in March of 34 mph.
Originally Posted by hockeymom
One reason I don't cruise. Being a beach person, I love stepping out the door and being on the beach. The idea of getting off a boat, in a taxi or bus and having to figure out which beach to go to and how to get there and then being on a time-table to get back to the boat...not my idea of a relaxing vacation - reminds me of a herd of cattle, but we have friends who love it, so to each their own.
Tip -- Take a cruise with lots of days in port and stay on the ship. You have all of the pools and the ship for the most part to yourselves .