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DaveNJodie
12-05-2008, 10:26 PM
Finally here after a 12+ hour day of traveling. Flew USAir and we were not impressed. No movie or radio. $15 charge for first checked bag. $2 for a can of soda or a water, $1 for a tea, $5 - $7 for a snack and $7 for a beer. Nice to be nickeled and dimed all day.

Check-in at the Renaissance Suites was great and front desk was extremely pleasant and helpful even though they were very busy. New balcony door is great as is the flat screen TV. The pool is nicely resurfaced and the boat launch area within the Renaissance Marina came out great.

As is our family tradition, we went straight to the room to change into bathing suits and hit the pool where we watched a gorgeous sunset. After a quick swim we walked over to Iguana Joe's for dinner. Kids loved the mac'n'cheese and plantains and adults enjoyed mahi mahi fajitas, steak fajitas, and ribs.

As were are all wiped out from a long day, we are hitting the sack. I'll keep you posted as the trip goes on (but only after the sun goes down). Off to Renaissance Island tomorrow for some swimming and snorkeling.

Dave and Jodie

Liz - Aruba Lover
12-06-2008, 12:04 AM
Sounds like your off to a good start on your vacation. Enjoy!

qlaval
12-06-2008, 12:24 AM
HI Dave, Hi Jodie

Thanks for the update at the Renaissance. :thumb:
Will be on the lookout for your daily trip reports.

Enjoy your vacation!

Pierre

DANNYO
12-06-2008, 06:10 AM
:behappy:Wow,thats a long flight,glad you are there,have a great vacation. :behappy:

cindyo
12-06-2008, 07:47 AM
Ah, dave and jodie, thanks for that update...it sounds exactly like our first day ! Have a blast, and thanks for the info on the rooms. Nice to see the new TV's there. keep us posted, we will live thru you !!!!

Arubalisa
12-06-2008, 11:41 AM
Just looked and with a temperature of 86 degrees and with a beautiful day like today I am sure you are all at the beach. Enjoy! :D We will be living vicariously through your reports as the week progresses. :o

huffdaddy
12-06-2008, 09:23 PM
Jodie,

Looking forward to your posts. We just got back from the Renaissance after three awesome weeks. I am in withdrawal already and can't wait for next year. Your posts will keep me sane and dreaming about our next visit. Keep them coming!

danadog56
12-06-2008, 11:25 PM
Dave amd Jodie,
Have wonderful time.....forget about USAir for the time being and concentrate on relaxing and de-stressing.....
I am like huffdaddy and still in withdrawl and envious of all now enjoying the island.....we live vicariously through each other, so keep us posted on how your vacation is going....and of course, Have a Wonderful Time !!!!!!

DaveNJodie
12-08-2008, 08:19 AM
Saturday...ate at the breakfast buffet next to the Renaissance Suites pool restaurant - food was excellent with made to order omellettes, pastries, smoked salmon, dutch potatos, bacon, sausage, etc. Children are half price which made this reasonable. Lathered up with lotion and headed to the private island. Gorgeous as always with no visible damage from the storm in October. There was very little wind on Saturday and the snorkeling was outstanding. We snorkeling outside of the breakers and the visibility was fantastic. Had lunch at the restaurant on the island which was very good (and still reasonable). Kids all had red snapper fish fingers with fries, salad and a soda (for $6) and adults had the chicken satay (skewers with a peanut sauce), and the broiled red snapper sandwich. Around 2pm we headed back to the pool at the Ren Suites and watched football while in the water at the pool bar while the kids played. Watched the sunset from the pool and then had the concierge book a reservation for El Gauchos. No problem with short notice as the island appears very quiet right now. Dinner was excellent as always and the El Gaucho steak is still one of the best we've ever had. All seven of us had the same steak with my girls splitting one. For those who check the menu on the internet, be aware that prices have gone up (the steak was about $7 more than advertised on the website). Speaking of prices, none of the cab drivers are sticking to the rate sheet which was posted on the forum. No one would take us from the airport to the Renaissance for less than $20 and the other family we are traveling with was charged extra for heavy bags - not cool.

Sunday - we ate at the hotel's breakfast buffet again and then walked downtown to do some shopping at the cruise ship stands. The girls bought a few trinkets and then we took the bus down to the weekend flea market just before the low rise hotels. We bought a few more souveneers and took the bus back downtown. As we stepped off the bus it started pouring and rained until about 3pm. We had PB&J sandwiches in the room and watched TV for a while. The rain cleared around 3pm and we went down to the pool for the rest of the afternoon. Again watched some football from the pool and had a casual dinner at SBarro (about $25.00 for a 18" pizza). We listened to the live music outside the Waterfront Crabhouse for a while and then went to bed.

Monday...the sun is out and we're heading to the private island after a bowl of cereal in the room...we'll keep you updated.

Dave and Jodie

cindyo
12-08-2008, 08:31 AM
Thanks for the report...I can picture your vacation "step by step"....cindy

arubamark
12-08-2008, 07:57 PM
No one would take us from the airport to the Renaissance for less than $20 and the other family we are traveling with was charged extra for heavy bags - not cool.


I'm assuming you never got in touch with Bully huh? Enjoy the rest of your trip. If you want I can give you Bully's number incase you need him to go to dinner or somewhere. Let me know I'll PM ya.

rob o
12-08-2008, 08:21 PM
Thanks for the report....continue to enjoy!

DaveNJodie
12-09-2008, 09:22 AM
Never heard back from Bully. We finally found a cab driver named Hilton who stuck to the published taxi fares...

Monday...woke up to the heat of the sun...not a cloud in the sky. We had cereal in our room and then packed up for the private island. Kids fed the fish from the bridge leading to the adult side of the island and then fed the flamingos for a little while. We set up near the restaurant and the kids hunted for hermit crabs and snails while the adults relaxed in the water. We stayed on the island from about 9 am to 3 pm with a short lunch at the restaurant. Even though we lotioned three times during the day, we all burnt our shoulders and necks a bit. Went early to the Buccaneer for dinner which was good. Kids loved the turtles swimming by and the lobster bisque was excellent. Our friends had the Paella Arubiana which was a huge tasty meal, and we had the land and sea (grouper, shrimp, and filet mignon) as well as the catch of the day (broiled red snapper). Prices are very reasonable and it was a fun night out.

Dave and Jodie

Arubalisa
12-09-2008, 10:54 AM
Thanks for the daily update. Sorry about the sunburn, but sounds like a terrific family vacation. :)

arubamark
12-09-2008, 02:46 PM
Never heard back from Bully. We finally found a cab driver named Hilton who stuck to the published taxi fares...

Monday...woke up to the heat of the sun...not a cloud in the sky. We had cereal in our room and then packed up for the private island. Kids fed the fish from the bridge leading to the adult side of the island and then fed the flamingos for a little while. We set up near the restaurant and the kids hunted for hermit crabs and snails while the adults relaxed in the water. We stayed on the island from about 9 am to 3 pm with a short lunch at the restaurant. Even though we lotioned three times during the day, we all burnt our shoulders and necks a bit. Went early to the Buccaneer for dinner which was good. Kids loved the turtles swimming by and the lobster bisque was excellent. Our friends had the Paella Arubiana which was a huge tasty meal, and we had the land and sea (grouper, shrimp, and filet mignon) as well as the catch of the day (broiled red snapper). Prices are very reasonable and it was a fun night out.

Dave and Jodie

D & J - Glad you made it to the Buccaneer! I can't wait to go back myself. If you are doing some flotaing around the water on a raft or whatever you need to apply more then 3 times even if it is waterproof/sweatproof. We usually apply 5 / 6 times easy. Unless I had 20 Balashis and kinda pass out.;)

DaveNJodie
12-10-2008, 10:43 AM
Tuesday...casual breakfast of egg sandwiches from Dunkin Donuts. Kids were a little tired so we spent the morning at the pool. Had lunch at the pool bar (which the kids really enjoyed). Fried grouper, chicken fingers, shrimp and chicken wings all were excellent. Did a little more shopping downtown in the afternoon and then the kids took a short nap while we relaxed on the balcony. Went to the Bon Bini Festival at Fort Zoutman (almost across the street from the Ren Suites). Local crafts for sale, a local meal for $7.50 consisting of a beef/chicken and pork kabob, yellow rice, corn, macaroni salad and plantains. Yummy! Also ham and cheese pastichi for $1.00. The local bands, singers and dancers were excellent. What a great night out for the $3.00 entrance fee.

We then went to see the show at the Crystal Theater called Havana Dance. The show was good but not great - very similar to the Lets Go Latin show that used to play in the same theater. I would say the show is similar to the Vegas type productions on the cruise ships. A bit too pricey at $49.00 for adults and $25 for kids. They didn't even offer drink service.

Wednesday...had breakfast at the dutch pancake house (thanks forum members). The crepes were outstanding and very filling. Another gorgeous day so we're off to the private island...

Arubalisa
12-10-2008, 10:56 AM
Another gorgeous day so we're off to the private island...
:o I am extremely jealous! :o

mattnewhampshire
12-10-2008, 12:29 PM
Thanks for the updates!!

DaveNJodie
12-11-2008, 09:00 PM
Wednesday and Thursday...

More of the same with perfect weather and days spent in paradise at the private island. Wind has been very calm and snorkeling has been unbelievable! Mosquitos have been bothersome at the open-air restaurants - bring your bug spray. We had our best picture-perfect sunset this evening...so clear you could seee Venezeula in the distance.

Unfortunately, we have to leave the Renaissance tomorrow and we head over to the Aruban Resort for a few days. Kids are excited for the water slide. I'll let you know how the renovations are going.

Dave and Jodie

nojo
12-14-2008, 04:48 PM
Wednesday and Thursday...

Unfortunately, we have to leave the Renaissance tomorrow and we head over to the Aruban Resort for a few days. Kids are excited for the water slide. I'll let you know how the renovations are going.

Dave and Jodie

Will be interested to hear your report re: renovations at the Aruban- we will be there this fri 12/19-12/27