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Thread: Aruba Royal

  1. #71
    Senior Member KATH2ME's Avatar
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    randi,

    yes," power to people", as I once said a while back

  2. #72
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    After reading the online forums, trying to be sure it was ok to rent from someone other than the major US auto rental agencies (which apparently are mostly only franchises anyway, and not very beholden to the US mother-ships), we rented a Jeep Wrangler from Royal Aruba. It was the end of high season, and they were offering a 25% discount, which made them $50-$100 cheaper than most alternatives.

    As promised they were there to meet us at the airport when our flight landed (mid afternoon) and promptly drove us to their off-airport location to collect the Jeep. We loaded up and off we went to our hotel. We were off to a good start.

    That evening as we drove to dinner, we noticed the check engine light was on.. but all the gauges seemed to tell happy stories, so we figured ok, no big deal. Several miles down the road we started to get a ding-ding-ding noise from the dash. Again, all the gauges seemed ok, and as we slowed down to go around a rotary the noise stopped. We had dinner, drove back and had a similar experience. Also we noticed the turn signal indicator was always on.

    We called the next day and Royal Aruba quickly promised to send someone out to look at the vehicle. When we called later they told us we must have been driving with the emergency brake on. I doubted that (I've been driving stick shift with a manual brake forever), but since its the "Happy Island" I thanked them for promptly checking the Jeep and decided we'd try again. That night when we went out (they had left the brake down, perhaps to reinforce their diagnosis ) and we triple checked, and off we drove. Again, we heard the ding-ding-ding.. but we made it to dinner and back, and called back the next day... we had thought we might take a day-long trip at some point and were concerned the Jeep was telling us that would not be wise.

    And so we got Jeep #2 for the trip (they swapped it out). While waiting for Jeep #2 to arrive, they discovered that the warning chime was trying to tell us that one of the driving lights was out, which is why we only had warning at night (when we had the lights on), but not during the day. At that point we should have just kept Jeep #1 now that we knew it wasn't anything serious, but Jeep#2 was already en-route, although annoyingly the driver took it to the wrong hotel originally, so I spent 45 minutes waiting in the parking lot past the time they had asked me to be there.

    So we got Jeep #2. Its eccentricity was no rear-view mirror.. it was ok for 2-3 days.. until it refused to start. We don't know the final diagnosis on that, but our guess was a dead battery. So they came and brought us Jeep #3. I had called ~10am.. they asked if I could meet them at Jeep #2 (out in the parking lot) in "45 minutes". I guess I should have learned from the 1st swap being late... at 11:30 (not 10:45).. Jeep #3 finally showed up. I didn't care if it had come at 10:45 or 11:30, but would have preferred to spend that 45 minutes on the beach, not waiting in the parking lot (I had a local cell #, so they could have called me on that).

    We got Jeep #3, and that got us thru the rest of the trip. It did look like the airbag had been deployed at some previous point, as there was a tear in the steering wheel center, and I could not find any horn to press, the one time on the trip I needed it.

    We were given a small discount for the trouble (freely offered, we did not ask)

    We returned the Jeep to the airport location and were quickly shuttled over to the airport, altho I would caution that the office was un-staffed when we got there, and they have a sign on the door with the phone #'s to call, to get someone to shuttle you over.. caution for folks that might not have a cell phone with them (or not be wanting to have it on with international roaming prices, etc) (we had a local SIM card, so no big deal)

    In general, it wasn't the best of rental experiences. Everyone was very nice, but I might have traded "nice", for more reliable vehicles.

    I write the review with mixed emotions... they were very nice folks... and other than a dead battery (I'm guessing), nothing more serious was wrong with any of the vehicles. At the same time, in all my previous rentals in the US and several other countries, I've only ever had 1 rental vehicle ever need to get swapped.

    so their prices were lower, and I guess its up to other renters to decide if there is a reason for that, and if the tradeoff is worthwhile.

    As a general note, it was our 1st trip to Aruba. I'd be much less likely to rent ANY vehicle next time, or for just part of the trip, depending on where I was staying. We stayed at the Renaissance and found we did not need a car several of the days b/c so much was within walking distance.

  3. #73
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    Ours had a missing rear view mirror, too

    We rented from Royal last month and had an OK experience. Our Jeep was dark green and had over 60,000 miles on it. I couldn't discern its model year, but I would guess it was around 2004 or 2005.

    The plastic roofing material had a rip on it, and we weren't able to close it to fully seal the Jeep. As a matter of fact, after messing with it for about five minutes we gave up and just left the entire back of the Jeep open air. Thankfully not a drop of rain fell while we were in Aruba for 7 days. It forced us to make sure we didn't leave valuables in the Jeep. Of course, even if we had the back sealed, it would only be false sense of security for your valuables.

    We were not given a key to the lockable center armrest, which would have been nice.

    The auto tranny shifter knob broke off if you weren't super-gentle with it.

    I didn't drive the Jeep that aggressively (although I wouldn't call myself a passive driver either), and my rough calculations said we only got about 12 mpg, which is poor even for a Wrangler. I think running the A/C full blast to compensate for the rear's being opened contributed to the problem. Last year we rented a hard-top Wrangler in Hilo, HI and got more like 17-19 mpg.

    As for your Jeep #2's missing rear view mirror, did we have the same Jeep? We were going to swap ours out for a different Jeep on our second day, but when we drove to the office no one was working there. It was about 10:30am, and the sign on the door says it opens at 10am. There were some other customers waiting outside who were very disappointed that I was not from Royal but merely another tourist. (We did not call in advance, and since it was a 10 minute drive from the Ren--we also stayed there-- I don't know why you waited for them to come vs. driving there yourself).

    BTW the missing rear view mirror was sitting in the glove compartment. By the time we found it there I had no interest in trying to affix it to the windshield. Also, I'm not sure how the license tags work in Aruba, but it seemed like ours and many others were expired.

    I would recommend renting somewhere else, but in all honesty most of the other rental cars I saw on the island looked no better than ours. And I didn't feel too guilty getting this Jeep roughed up on the trails as it wasn't in super shape to begin with.

    The only firm whose Jeeps looked nicer came from--I don't remember their name--either Amigo or maybe All Drive, but their prices were 50-70% higher than Royal, so probably not worth it. ($450 vs. $300 for a week, for example).

  4. #74
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    I'm sure it was the same Jeep

    I did see several nice/new/shiny rental Jeeps, I think it was perhaps Budget? But if I remember correctly they were almost 2x the cost.

    I didn't mind so much it wasn't new and shiny... I just didn't want to get stranded on the far side of the island if it broke down.

    (at least) One of the 3 Jeeps did come with the armrest key, but I had decided it was just better not to leave anything in the Jeep anyway... we didn't even bother to lock the doors... I'd feel the same way in the US, altho LOL, I might lock the doors here.

    As for waiting for them to come vs. driving back to the office.. for Jeep #1 it seemed the ideal arrangement (b/c I assumed they'd be close to the promised time, not 45 minutes late).. ie. I could hang out at the pool until the arranged time, walk 50 yards out to the parking lot, get the new keys, and go right back to the pool (or hop the shuttle to the island)... and with Jeep #2 (dead battery, would not start), I definitely had no option there.

    I suppose if this was the worst part of the trip.. it was a still a very good trip

  5. #75
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    Sorry, I didn't mean to criticize you for not driving a non-working Jeep to their office. I had read reviews about rental car service on the island from this board and others and had very low expectations of any delivery service. As it turned out, I'm glad I didn't swap for another Jeep, as it might not have been any better!

    Oh, and ours came with an extra key, but it wouldn't open the center console. It was an automatic, not a stick.

    The Jeep was not the worst part of our trip (that would have been the shady drug dealers downtown), and the things I mentioned (low mpg, ripped roofing, shoddy shifter and the rear view mirror) are more of annoyances than anything.

    Also, Royal was great at airport drop off and pick up. The people working there were also fast at checking us in and out and didn't try to up-sell insurance or anything. When they show up to work they do fine!

    Still a great trip!

  6. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by uknowbeers View Post
    Sorry, I didn't mean to criticize you for not driving a non-working Jeep to their office. I had read reviews about rental car service on the island from this board and others and had very low expectations of any delivery service. As it turned out, I'm glad I didn't swap for another Jeep, as it might not have been any better!

    Oh, and ours came with an extra key, but it wouldn't open the center console. It was an automatic, not a stick.

    The Jeep was not the worst part of our trip (that would have been the shady drug dealers downtown), and the things I mentioned (low mpg, ripped roofing, shoddy shifter and the rear view mirror) are more of annoyances than anything.

    Also, Royal was great at airport drop off and pick up. The people working there were also fast at checking us in and out and didn't try to up-sell insurance or anything. When they show up to work they do fine!

    Still a great trip!
    No worries.. and I sort of misspoke when I implied driving stick.. all the Jeeps were automatic.. I was trying (mistakenly) to refer to the emergency brake style (next to the shifter, vs to the left of the foot brake), as in I wasn't forgetting to use it

    I guess one should factor the cost of getting a local cellphone rental (or SIM card) so you can call if/when a breakdown happens.

  7. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by LoveMeSomeAruba View Post
    Anyone have insight into this rental company? Good/Bad experiences?

    Any information would be great. They appear to do Airport Pickup/Dropoff and have good rates.

    Thanks!

    I did not have a good experience with this company. The Jeep they gave us to use was in terrible disrepair. It even had a hood latch missing and we called to have them fix it multiple times. We even sent emails. When they finally answered the phone they said they would come to the resort to fix it and of course they never showed up. We ended up having to tie the hood shut with a shoelace. This vehicle also needed shocks badly.
    Next time we will spend the extra money to rent from somewhere else. "Get whatcha pay for" so they say. Never from Royal Aruba again. My husband got the name off of the Aruba.com site too! They should not be promoting this place.
    While we were down there everytime we saw a Jeep from Hertz we said "We'll get that one next time" Not sure if they are any better riding but at least we saw they all had hood latches!!!
    Hope this helps

  8. #78
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    wow great info ... I was about to rent from them .

  9. #79
    Member badney's Avatar
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    We rented from Royal in Jan/Feb and found them to be alright. I emailed Ardley a few months before arrival re: renting the Lexus SUV. He was quick to respond and answered any follow-up questions I had in a timely manner. Even though it was high season and there were no deals on the website, he offered us a 10% discount, more if we paid in cash.

    It was not explained well where we pick up the shuttle, so we had to ask a couple people, but eventually found them across the way. As there is only one Lexus SUV, it was not ready for us when we arrived at the office. We were told to take a SUV they had in stock at the time and they would deliver the Lexus at 5pm. They gave us a Ford Escape that sputtered whenever we came to a stop and had interior plastic pieces falling off! True to their word, they were there at 5pm, almost on the nose. The Lexus, while showing its age, was fine for our week and we had no issues.

    We were told we could return the car either to the rental office or we could park the car at the airport with the keys inside. We opted for the rental office, and we were in and out in less than 10 minutes. We are going back in Feb next year and look forward to renting the Lexus again (secretly hoping they add a newer one to their fleet!)

  10. #80
    Member trnst7's Avatar
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    Well, I arrive in 2 days and I have been trying to decide to keep my reservation or not. I had a decent experience last year so i've decided to take a chance again this year with Royal and keep my reservation. I will keep you posted on the outcome.
    Next Aruba trip in

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