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amarg
07-10-2010, 03:01 AM
Hi everyone! I have been lurking on this site for a couple of weeks and it's amazing and so informative. I have a few dilemmas that I am hoping someone can help me with. Here's the logistics - desired vacation time is September 11-18, 2010 approx (am flexible). Traveling from Toronto are myself, my husband and my daughter who will be one and also joining us is my sister, who is in Vancouver, BC. The issues we are having are
a)no direct flights from Vancouver to Aruba for my sister so she either has to come to Toronto and travel with us or go to Seattle and take a flight from there alone which will take her 12plus hours with a stop in either Atlanta, Carolina, Houston, etc. She will have to leave a day before us to arrive on the 11th. We have spoken to many airlines and travel agents and there is no way around it. Therefore, she can't get a package to Aruba unless she comes to Toronto first and flies with us or does one alone from Seattle, either way, very costly and don't know how to combine with ours. We would be willing to meet her somewhere in the US wherever her layover is except for two things, it's really hard on our baby to fly (she's not a fan) and my partner is not allowed to enter the US so we need a direct flight.
There is a great deal for us to go to the Radisson right now but it doesn't include any meals. If we add breakfast only, which is the only meal I'd like to add, it's a difference of $68 per person per day! What kind of breakfast is that? If we book flight and hotel separate, we get a great deal on the Radisson right now with breakfast, beverage credit, spa credit as you all know, but the flight from Toronto is $845 each return! The hotel would be another $2000 at least whereas the package is only $1300 each right now taxes included. The flight is so expensive because there is only one carrier flying direct to Aruba (Westjet) and they want you to buy a package and don't really sell the flights separately. I found the flight on a wholesalers site through Air Transat but they don't sell the flights separately at all. Therefore, these are my questions:

1)If we book the package for my partner and myself, can my sister take a flight down and join us and we can pay extra for her in our room as an additional guest when we get there? Or can that be arranged in advance? Then she can fly out of Seattle, save some money and just join us in Aruba.

2)How much does breakfast cost in Aruba?Is it worth it to add it on at the Radisson?

3)The packages we are finding have very limited rooms left. Will we be ok in a standard room with two double beds? My baby is fine cosleeping with dad and I can share a bed with my sis but I don't want to be on top of each other.

4)How hard and costly is it to upgrade our room on arrival? How probable?

5)Should we go AI instead? My husband doesn't drink alcohol and I rarely drink and we are not big eaters, and don't care for buffets but I'm concerned about cost of food and ease of getting it there. Also, we don't want to be tied to one hotel and like to explore. However, is it better to do go AI in Aruba?

6)Should we look into a timeshare instead? I've never rented one and have no idea how it works. Are we able to use all the amenities in the resort it belongs to as renters? Are they usually fully equipped to cook? How hard is it to get all our groceries and then just go out for some meals?

7)Will we be missing out on any experience if we stay in a timeshare rather than hotel? We are not big resort people and like to have things to do and see which is one of the reasons we chose Aruba. I can't lay on the beach for long. lol!

8)If we go with a timeshare instead of a hotel, is it still easy to find babysitting if we need it? How?

9)Are there hidden costs such as taxes or anything when renting a timeshare or is the advertised price the real price?

10) What's a good price for one and which one is best for us? I'd like to be centrally located, near the casinos for hubby and a kiddy pool would be nice or easy access to kid friendly stuff.

11) Does anyone know the best site to get a timeshare? Does anyone here have one? Is it better to wait to book it last minute to get a deal?

If we take the timeshare then I hope to spend about $1500 for the week. Then if we spend $1700 for both of our flights, that's $3200, still $700 more than the package at the Radisson which is about $2560 for both of us in a standard room no bells and whistles. However, it saves my sister (or should I say me, big sister) money on her package or trying to add her to my room. She can get a flight from Seattle to Aruba for $565 approx return with a stop in Atlanta.

I already have spoken to various agents like I said who aren't much help, I seem to be doing all the research and work. I have already spoken to MCM tours and was advised to talk to a Canadian Travel agent and my dilemma left her completely stumped and unable to offer a solution. She wanted us to book with her, which I understand, but like I said, we can't fly through the US and she had US flights only and she couldn't offer us a better rate on the room only at the Radisson (which she highly recommends though) and as for including my sister from BC, she was clueless.

Please help me as my head is about to explode and I don't want to miss out on the package if that's the way to go. If you like, please feel free to private message me or email me. Thanks and Sorry it's so long.

Arubalisa
07-10-2010, 10:52 AM
I will take a stab at answering what I am able...

Can you get a flight cheaper from the U.S.? If you are and the savings are substantial wouldn't it be easier for your sister to fly to Toronto and they you all drive together to the airport in the states to catch your flight?

If you can fly from the states, try to be flexible with your dates and fly mid week when it is usually less expensive. Some of the U.S. discount airlines though have inexpensive flights say Saturday to Saturday. I know out of Atlanta, Delta has been matching the discount airlines fares.

I know one of our members, a Canadian, Eagle Beach Boy, has done this in the past.



There is a great deal for us to go to the Radisson right now but it doesn't include any meals. If we add breakfast only, which is the only meal I'd like to add, it's a difference of $68 per person per day!

No, breakfast at that price should include caviar. You can order off the menu much cheaper, so skip that add on.


3)The packages we are finding have very limited rooms left.
Package companies receive a specific number (allotment of rooms) so they may be limited though the resort may not be booked solid.


Will we be ok in a standard room with two double beds? My baby is fine cosleeping with dad and I can share a bed with my sis but I don't want to be on top of each other.
My husband and I had some of our best nights sleep sharing a bed at the Radisson, again two queens should be fine.



4)How hard and costly is it to upgrade our room on arrival? How probable?

There is never a guarantee that you will be upgraded. The four times we have stayed at the Radisson we have always been more than happy with our rooms. I would book the best category you can afford.


6)Should we look into a timeshare instead? I've never rented one and have no idea how it works. Are we able to use all the amenities in the resort it belongs to as renters?
Yes, absolutely.


Are they usually fully equipped to cook? How hard is it to get all our groceries and then just go out for some meals?
If you do not mind cooking while on a vacation you will be just fine. Most timeshares will come fully equipped. I would just avoid a studio because they sometimes have smaller refrigerators or limited cook top.


7)Will we be missing out on any experience if we stay in a timeshare rather than hotel?
Pretty much one and the same except it sounds like you will be cooking 2/3 of your meals intead of dining out.


We are not big resort people and like to have things to do and see which is one of the reasons we chose Aruba. I can't lay on the beach for long. lol!
I am not sure what you mean by not being "big resort people". Are you looking instead for a villa? That would be nice, though in all likelihood, not on the ocean and more expensive.


8)If we go with a timeshare instead of a hotel, is it still easy to find babysitting if we need it? How?
Timeshares still have concierges and you can ask for recommendations here as well.


9)Are there hidden costs such as taxes or anything when renting a timeshare or is the advertised price the real price?
An owner can better tell you, but in Aruba there are added taxes and energy surcharges. When booking a resort, these should be included in your final price.


11) Does anyone know the best site to get a timeshare?
www.redweek.com (http://www.redweek.com)


Does anyone here have one?
Timeshares are listed here on the forum


Is it better to wait to book it last minute to get a deal?
When having to coordinate airfare, I would think this would be very very difficult. If you book your airfare in advance and cannot find a timeshare at the last minute what would you do then?

I for one, like to have everything set in stone in advance, but maybe that is just me.


5)Should we go AI instead? My husband doesn't drink alcohol and I rarely drink and we are not big eaters, and don't care for buffets but I'm concerned about cost of food and ease of getting it there. Also, we don't want to be tied to one hotel and like to explore. However, is it better to do go AI in Aruba?

Considering that cost is a huge factor, I would definitely consider all inclusive. Our family of three, with a child staying free (children 17 and under stay free at the Tamarijn), have found our vacations much more affordable staying at a resort such as the Radisson and Westin. When our budget can afford the Radisson and Westin we love staying at either of these resorts, but right now with a 13 yo who loves her food and parents who refuse to cook on vacation (so timeshare is a waste of money for us), all inclusive has become the best choice for us.

Even if you do not drink alcohol, one advantage to the all inclusive is that you will know up front before you even leave for Aruba how much your vacation will cost you and there will be no nickel and diming everytime it comes time to consider whether a restaurant's menu will fit your budget.

Some folks feel they need to eat and drink their money's worth to get theri value from the all inclusive. Besides our daughter staying free, we like the convenience. Dd of course loves the unlimited self serve soft ice cream and frozen virgin drinks.


10) What's a good price for one and which one is best for us?
This varies widely depending on where you stay-- Riu is 4 star and the most expensive vs. Tamarijn, Divi or Holiday Inn 3 star and less expensive AND time of the year.


and a kiddy pool would be nice or easy access to kid friendly stuff.
We really like the Tamarijn and it's sister resort the Divi. It is only a three star resort but the rooms are clean and staying in a room right on the beach cannot be beat. When you stay at one, you have use of all the facilities and amenities of the other. With children 17 and under staying free at the Tamarijn, the Tamarijn is a huge draw for families.

Tamarijn/Divi Restaurants (http://www.tamarijnaruba.com/restaurants/index.php)
You are limited to buffet dining for breakfast at either the Divi or Tamarijn. For lunch there are four choices: the two buffets, snack bar and grill at each and then a small oceanside bar at the Divi which serves sandwiches, pasta and hot dogs and hamburgers.

The Divi offers this special as well from time to time, but is overall a slightly higher priced resort than the Tamarijn. From what I understand they have just installed a new kiddie pool at the Divi. The Tamarijn is less expensive but you can always walk to the Divi or the resort provides golf cart transportation between the resorts.


I'd like to be centrally located, near the casinos for hubby
The Divi/Tamarijn has the Alhambra casino catercorner from the Divi. Again, golf cart transportation is readily available and it is a short walk from the Divi.

To get to the casinos in downtown Oranjestad or Palm Beach, bus transportation is easily affordable. I believe it is $2.30 or $2.60USD roundtrip.

There are a number of Tamarijn reviews at
http://www.aruba.com/forum/tags/tamarijn%20review.html (http://www.aruba.com/forum/tags/tamarijn%20review.html)

amarg
07-10-2010, 02:28 PM
Hi there, we are a family of three (my husband, me and one year old daughter) and we are planning to go to Aruba in mid September from the 11th to 18th. We live in Toronto and are going to be joined by my sister who is in Vancouver, BC. We have run into some issues which we need advice on and so far travel agents here and MCM tours from the US haven't been to helpful. MCM was nice but completely unable to help me or give advice as we are in Canada and can't and won't go through the US as my husband can't enter the US which cuts down our options a lot in terms of flights. So here's our dilemmas:
There are great packages available for the Radisson and other hotels but they are for standard rooms which would be ok if it was just my small family but with my 25 year old sister coming, not ideal to be on top of one another.
Also, the flight options from Vancouver to Aruba are very rare and difficult. She either has to fly to Toronto and then take a completely new flight to Aruba with us or go through the US with 2 or 3 stops which is ridiculous. It's also very costly and there are ZERO packages from Vancouver to Aruba for that time and since they are based on double occupancy, it wouldn't work anyhow. Therefore, her best bet is to fly from Seattle, through Atlanta or Houston to Aruba and meet us there.
Now, we can do a package for $2562 inc. taxes, etc., at the Radisson for me, my husband and baby but then what about my sister? Can she fly to Aruba on her own and can we pay for her as an additional guest in our room? We are finding that we can't upgrade our room to get the package and so wonder how hard is it and how probable to upgrade once we book or arrive in Aruba?
We didn't want to do an AI for various reasons inc. my partner and I don't drink alcohol, we hate buffets and don't want to be tied to our hotel. To add breakfast to our package however, is an extra $68 per person per day! What kind of breakfast is that? I'm not sure it's worth it. Is it hard to find food in Aruba? I don't think so from this site but I don't want a hungry baby looking for breakfast in the morning. How expensive is food? What about a fridge for our room? Our baby doesn't need a crib and can sleep with dad and I can sleep with sister but I don't want to be crowded and getting on one another's nerves.
Therefore, I was thinking of renting a timeshare and getting our own food and then eating out when we want and more quiet for our baby. I have never rented one before so don't know anything about them. Do we get to use the amenities at the resort as renters? Are there hidden fees? Is it safe and how do I find a good one? I read a post on here about someone being ripped off for a 2bdrm apartment and am scared. I need help to find one and at a reasonable cost. Something with two large beds and preferable not a sleeper sofa as those aren't usually comfortable.
This does make our trip expensive as flights from Toronto to Aruba are an issue too. Unless we want to fly Air Canada and then connect at multiple stops in the US or take a US airline which also stops in the US, there is only one choice and that's a Westjet flight. The flight is only offered on Saturdays and they don't want to sell it without the package and I had to dig and dig to find it. The cost per person is $850 return! The package would have been only $1230 each so that means the hotel would have been $800 for the week for the two of us. I think a good timeshare is $1500 and up???? That means we will be spending a lot for the week as I told my little sis (not so little at 25) that if she gets her flight, of course accommodations are on us. So coming from Seattle she saves money but not doing the package costs us more I think unless we get a great timeshare deal and good advice from you folks.
The last thing is that we were hoping for a hotel with a babysitting service or kids amenities. Can we easily find a babysitter in a timeshare rental? What about kiddy pool or kids areas?
Like I said, the travel agents are fairly lazy and lost. They just want us to book what they suggest and MCM tours is unable to help.
Anyone have a timeshare? Any advice? Experience flying from Canada?
Thanks so much in advance.

amarg
07-10-2010, 02:40 PM
Wow, thanks for the reply, we can't fly from the US or stop in the US at all as my husband can't enter the US. That's why this has become a difficult one for us. If it was just me and my sister, no problem. However, I have found that my sister can fly out of Seattle to Aruba with a stop in Atlanta or Houston which is cheaper for her. However, the issue is adding her onto our room. There are no packages out of Vancouver at all! None, nada, zero. So if we take the package and go to the Radisson, what do we do with her? Also, I'm sure I would sleep fine in a Queen Bed too but the room we are offered is with two doubles or one king. I don't think a double would be ok for me and my sister and for my husband to sleep with my daughter. Not sure, but that's what I think. The problem is that most of the room categories seemed to already be booked at the Radisson or we would totally upgrade. I'm so lost.
I don't mind cooking at all but perhaps I will look into the Tamarjin but then we have the same issue. What do I do with my sister???? AAAAH! Maybe she will have to fly to Toronto and then take a package with us. The only thing is that they will be two completely separate airlines, flights, costs, etc., and it just seems silly to spend $500 to get to Toronto and another $1250 to Aruba when she can fly to Aruba from Seattle for $600.
As for not being "resort people" what I mean is that we love resorts and the luxury. It's just that my husband is not the type to sit by a pool or on the beach and just relax or swim. He's a city guy and like to sightsee, go to casinos, be active. He was bored on the resort in the Dominican as there wasn't much to do and the city was far away and he walked that resort about 50 times a day I tell you! Also, you can't be on the beach for long with a baby. It's too hot, she's scared of waves, gets tired, dirty, hungry, eats sand, etc., so the pool is preferable. Also, we like to shop so being near stores is good.
Thanks again.

Andrea J.
07-10-2010, 02:42 PM
my replies are in bold


Hi there, we are a family of three (my husband, me and one year old daughter) and we are planning to go to Aruba in mid September from the 11th to 18th. We live in Toronto and are going to be joined by my sister who is in Vancouver, BC. We have run into some issues which we need advice on and so far travel agents here and MCM tours from the US haven't been to helpful. MCM was nice but completely unable to help me or give advice as we are in Canada and can't and won't go through the US as my husband can't enter the US which cuts down our options a lot in terms of flights. You really need to go thru a travel agent for the flight issues.So here's our dilemmas:
There are great packages available for the Radisson and other hotels but they are for standard rooms which would be ok if it was just my small family but with my 25 year old sister coming, not ideal to be on top of one another.
Also, the flight options from Vancouver to Aruba are very rare and difficult. She either has to fly to Toronto and then take a completely new flight to Aruba with us or go through the US with 2 or 3 stops which is ridiculous. It's also very costly and there are ZERO packages from Vancouver to Aruba for that time and since they are based on double occupancy, it wouldn't work anyhow. Therefore, her best bet is to fly from Seattle, through Atlanta or Houston to Aruba and meet us there.that is undoubtedly her only option for cost effectiveness
Now, we can do a package for $2562 inc. taxes, etc., at the Radisson for me, my husband and baby but then what about my sister? Can she fly to Aruba on her own and can we pay for her as an additional guest in our room? We are finding that we can't upgrade our room to get the package and so wonder how hard is it and how probable to upgrade once we book or arrive in Aruba? the upgrades are readily available based on availability at check in.
We didn't want to do an AI for various reasons inc. my partner and I don't drink alcohol, we hate buffets and don't want to be tied to our hotel. To add breakfast to our package however, is an extra $68 per person per day! What kind of breakfast is that? I'm not sure it's worth it. Is it hard to find food in Aruba?food in aruba is a non issue. there are more food options than you can shake a stick at. breakfasts can be a muffin or coffe to a full breakfast buffet, price $4 to $20 I don't think so from this site but I don't want a hungry baby looking for breakfast in the morning. How expensive is food? What about a fridge for our room? Our baby doesn't need a crib and can sleep with dad and I can sleep with sister but I don't want to be crowded and getting on one another's nerves.i think 2 rooms are necessary
Therefore, I was thinking of renting a timeshare and getting our own food and then eating out when we want and more quiet for our baby. I have never rented one before so don't know anything about them. Do we get to use the amenities at the resort as renters? Are there hidden fees? Is it safe and how do I find a good one? I read a post on here about someone being ripped off for a 2bdrm apartment and am scared. I need help to find one and at a reasonable cost. Something with two large beds and preferable not a sleeper sofa as those aren't usually comfortable.go to the timeshare threads and see what is available, and timeshare renters get all of the amenities that owners get....pool, beach palapas etc
This does make our trip expensive as flights from Toronto to Aruba are an issue too. Unless we want to fly Air Canada and then connect at multiple stops in the US or take a US airline which also stops in the US, there is only one choice and that's a Westjet flight. The flight is only offered on Saturdays and they don't want to sell it without the package and I had to dig and dig to find it. The cost per person is $850 return! The package would have been only $1230 each so that means the hotel would have been $800 for the week for the two of us. I think a good timeshare is $1500 and up???? That means we will be spending a lot for the week as I told my little sis (not so little at 25) that if she gets her flight, of course accommodations are on us. So coming from Seattle she saves money but not doing the package costs us more I think unless we get a great timeshare deal and good advice from you folks.
The last thing is that we were hoping for a hotel with a babysitting service or kids amenities. Can we easily find a babysitter in a timeshare rental? What about kiddy pool or kids areas?
Like I said, the travel agents are fairly lazy and lost.i do not think they are lazy, your list of stuff is huge and maybe they are "overwhelmed" They just want us to book what they suggest and MCM tours is unable to help.
Anyone have a timeshare? Any advice? look into timeshares and keep reading all of the categories on the forum. Experience flying from Canada?
Thanks so much in advance.

amarg
07-10-2010, 07:53 PM
So after much consideration and all the help from this forum - you guys are great! We have decided to rent a timeshare. I need one from a saturday to saturday in September and prefer the 11th to 18th but am flexible. I guess that's week 37? Also, it needs to have two real beds (sleeper sofa won't do nor will a pullout). Other than that, as long as it's nice, close to amenities, reasonably priced and clean, we're good. If anyone sees one or has one for rent, please let me know asap. thanks.

hatteras
07-10-2010, 08:28 PM
Try arubarentals.com. They are based in Canada and helped me find two timeshare weeks. I don't live in Canada (although Vancouver is one of my favorite cities), so I don't know anything about getting to Aruba from there, but I found them to be very helpful in our situation. Good luck and keep us posted.

sunworshipperII
07-10-2010, 10:31 PM
redweek.com or myresortnetwork.com or this board resorts sometimes are a week off here or there so check there own timeshare calendars. Costa linda, playa linda, marriott, casa del mar, renaissance(downtown) lacabana, there are quite a few to pick from..check out all their individual websites, if you want 2 real beds you probably need a 2 bedroom.....I have stayed at marriott surf, and costa linda for timeshare resorts... I like both 2 different beaches, marrioitt area lots to do , costa linda area (eagle beach) a little quieter IMO.. check them all out.

sunworshipperII
07-10-2010, 10:35 PM
redweek has a 2 bedroom at marrioitt surf 1 king 1 queen and sofa bed for 1400.00 sept 10-17...check it out..

damnyankeeuk
07-11-2010, 03:11 AM
I don't understand why your husband cannot fly through tthe US. I thought that as a transiting passenger he would not have to clear US Customs, but instead wait in a departure lounge. I would check with the airlines to see if that is the case before getting in a panic trying to avoid flying into the US.

Arubalisa
07-11-2010, 10:32 AM
It is for personal reasons.

I don't understand why your husband cannot fly through tthe US. I thought that as a transiting passenger he would not have to clear US Customs, but instead wait in a departure lounge. I would check with the airlines to see if that is the case before getting in a panic trying to avoid flying into the US.

Randi
07-11-2010, 06:52 PM
We find that Canadian airlines are more pricey than the US carriers but since this is not an option you must deal with it. Air Canada does fly directly to Aruba and in September you should be able to get a decent price.

I would say that going the time share route may be your best option as you can accomodate your family plus your sister much easier and much more spacious. The grocery stores are amazing and that helps keep costs down and allow you to be able to enjoy dinners out, when you want to go. We have used redweek.com and they are great as it tug2.com We are Marriott owners and Surf Club and Ocean Club are always listed in redweek.com

Also, traveling with a child is also easier in a timeshare environment as it is not always so much fun to be eating in restaurants three times a day. Having a full kitchen for meals, snacks, etc is the best. Even when you babies become "big babies";)

I would say that your sister is best to travel to Aruba via the US and meet you there as it will be far cheaper. We do not live in Toronto so we tend to overnight somewhere and then carry on to Aruba, it isn't terrible and will certainly make the travel time a little easier to do it in two days coming from Vancouver. If US Air or some other airline flies out of Vancouver she can fly direclty to Atlanta, Miami, Philadelphia, Boston, etc. that has direct flights to Aruba. Aruba is not a place that Canadian travel agents know alot about so I understand that you may not have had confidence in her answers. My travel agent (that we use for trips other than Aruba as we are timeshare owners and do not need services of a travel agent) actually called me to get information about ARuba to pass onto another client. Do your homework and don't get stressed out.

Good luck!

amarg
07-13-2010, 04:15 PM
I have found good deals on renting at the Casa del Mar and Marriott. Obviously the CDM is slightly better in price for rental size. We can also get 2 weeks in the same room there or switch and save a couple hundred. However, the Marriott looks great too and I don't know if we should stay there? So far I haven't found back to back weeks there in the same room or by same owner. We are renting a car so could stay a week at CDM and week at Marriott or both weeks at one place? We are fairly young and like lots to do and see. Both seem kid friendly for my one year old. Should I experience both places as a newbie to Aruba or stay at one? Which one? Thanks for any advice.

Andrea J.
07-13-2010, 05:18 PM
both places are GOOD
marriott properties are a bit more upscale and less laid back than CDM.

if it were me, and for convenience sake only, i would take the 2 back to back weeks at CDM in the SAME unit.

take some time, go up to visit the marriott surf and marriott ocean club properties and maybe on your NEXT trip to aruba, you can go there for your stay.

sunnysmiles
07-14-2010, 06:37 AM
We move after 1 week for our 2nd week and it isn't too bad - different scenery (inland to beachside). But like Andrea I think if you can get 2 weeks in one place go for that! Why waste a day moving if you don't have to?! (the checkout to checkin times are usually a few hours difference, not that you can't find something to do in that time but it is kind of a pain!)

amarg
07-15-2010, 11:52 PM
All booked! Yay! I booked our flights today for Sept 18 to Oct 2 and spoke to the owner of the timeshare we are renting at CDM for those two weeks and gave her my VISA info. She is going to run it through her business account at work in the morning. I am so excited and can't wait to go. Anyways, the timeshare owner assures me that all I need from her in order to stay in her suite for those weeks is this: She will email the resort and tell them that I will be checking in on Sept 18 and staying for those two weeks. They will send her a confirmation email with my name on it. She will type up a word document verifying that I have permission to stay in her timeshare for those dates and I will print out both the email confirmation from Casa Del Mar with my name on it and the Word document from her and present that with photo ID at time of check in at the resort.
Does this sound right to you guys? I don't need a rental agreement? I asked her as I found one to print out on this site and she says it's not necessary and that she has never used one before so I didn't push. I tried calling CDM but couldn't get through and have sent an email and haven't heard back. All I asked them was if she in fact owned the timeshare for those weeks and had permission to rent to me and what I needed in order to stay there. I am waiting to hear but she seems very nice and legitimate.
Anything I need to know about renting the TS for 2 weeks? Advice? What's the resort like and the presidential suite particularly as that's what we are renting? They look great on the website.
I need to start writing down things to remember for my one year old. One thing I am wondering is what to do with her potty? She uses it at home but I certainly don't want to lug it to Aruba. And yes, before you ask, my one year does use the potty - she wanted to and does great! Obviously she's not diaper free but does use it for most of her "eliminating". Thanks.

Andrea J.
07-16-2010, 12:02 AM
bring the potty or a small version thereof.

i rent timeshares often and have no formal rental agreement form.
i put the name of the renter on the reservation, lacabana is notified of the name change.
renter pays a portion as a non refundable deposit and then the balance a few months out.
easy
simple
and since your trip is within a couple of months, i am sure that u had to pay 100% upon making the reservation and that is the norm.

BUY trip/travel insurance in the event that you have to cancel, have medical issues while on aruba, flight delays or cancellations, lost luggage etc.... a policy for the 3 of you (not including your sister) will run you less than $200.
go to www.insuremytrip.com.

make certain a receipt with dates, amount of rent received, and a copy of the reservation with your name on it is in hand.

again, bring a smaller potty version........no sense having a setback.





All booked! Yay! I booked our flights today for Sept 18 to Oct 2 and spoke to the owner of the timeshare we are renting at CDM for those two weeks and gave her my VISA info. She is going to run it through her business account at work in the morning. I am so excited and can't wait to go. Anyways, the timeshare owner assures me that all I need from her in order to stay in her suite for those weeks is this: She will email the resort and tell them that I will be checking in on Sept 18 and staying for those two weeks. They will send her a confirmation email with my name on it. She will type up a word document verifying that I have permission to stay in her timeshare for those dates and I will print out both the email confirmation from Casa Del Mar with my name on it and the Word document from her and present that with photo ID at time of check in at the resort.
Does this sound right to you guys? I don't need a rental agreement? I asked her as I found one to print out on this site and she says it's not necessary and that she has never used one before so I didn't push. I tried calling CDM but couldn't get through and have sent an email and haven't heard back. All I asked them was if she in fact owned the timeshare for those weeks and had permission to rent to me and what I needed in order to stay there. I am waiting to hear but she seems very nice and legitimate.
Anything I need to know about renting the TS for 2 weeks? Advice? What's the resort like and the presidential suite particularly as that's what we are renting? They look great on the website.
I need to start writing down things to remember for my one year old. One thing I am wondering is what to do with her potty? She uses it at home but I certainly don't want to lug it to Aruba. And yes, before you ask, my one year does use the potty - she wanted to and does great! Obviously she's not diaper free but does use it for most of her "eliminating". Thanks.

amarg
07-22-2010, 11:45 AM
So we rented a TS at CDM and felt ok about the deal and excited about our trip. I had enquired what the daily surcharge would be and the owner told me $9.35 and when I questioned her as to if she was sure, she said yes. Well I had contacted the resort with my questions and finally heard back and the daily charge s $18.15! That's double what we expected. When we add the crib rental and Internet we are looking at $25 day more than the rent at least. Why is the surcharge so high and is this usual? Amar

Arubalisa
07-22-2010, 12:27 PM
http://www.casadelmar-aruba.com/rates.html (http://www.casadelmar-aruba.com/rates.html)
Government taxes and Energy surcharges are not included and are payable upon checkout.
Energy surcharge
$8.80 daily for a two-bedroom Presidential Suite
Government Timeshare Tax
$9.35 daily for a two-bedroom Suite (Presidential)
$18.15

The surcharge is correct. I really think you need to take up the difference between what the owner told you and what is actually charged by the resort with the owner him or herself. Even more so if you felt you were misled. Imo no one here can answer or speak for the owner.

Andrea J.
07-22-2010, 01:59 PM
this is the norm

crib rental and internet are options
can u bring a portacrib?

Karen Lutzker
07-22-2010, 03:36 PM
I own 4 weeks at Casa del Mar and rented my unit twice. Both times I was
up front with the people that rented the unit mentioning all additional charges. The person you are renting from probably did not realize that those additional charges went up recently. What you were quoted sounds about right for last year. It I were renting from another individual I would never give out my credit card number. You were much better off wiring the funds to their bank account. My husband and I have been visiting Aruba several times a year for almost 34 years and know our way around the island very well. I don't post that often, but if you have any additional questions or advice, please send me a PM. Have a wonderful trip to Aruba.

Randi
07-22-2010, 09:20 PM
The only good thing about paying by CC is if there is a problem you can contact Visa for help.

Re porta crib: if you bring one from home then if your daughter needs a nap on the beach during the day you can bring it out. Also, if you rent one who knows how old it is?

amarg
07-22-2010, 11:13 PM
I did pay via Visa and I feel okay with that. I don't think they are shady or anything. I think they probably didn't know the full fees charge to renters. I think that owners renting out their units should make sure they know all the fees and have correct info for the renters, IMO.
As for the portacrib, I doubt I'll use it and won't bring one from home. My DD usually ends up in bed with me and since there's a king size bed, there's no problem there. I don't mind sleeping with her but she moves and kicks! I got a beach sunshade tent that's amazing. It just pops up and folds down into a flat smallish circle so I'll bring that for sure. What about water toys or float devices for the pool? Do they have any there?I am going to buy a weekly card for the internet. I'm not sure of cost but think that makes most sense. Thanks for the offer Karen, I may take you up on it. I apologize if I offended anyone here by saying I felt a little misled about the daily surcharges. I didn't mean it as an attack or slight on anyone. Nor is that person a member of this site. I am sure of that. Anyways, thanks for the feedback as usual guys. I processed it and am over it anyhow.

Andrea J.
07-22-2010, 11:40 PM
[LIST]
internet access cards can be as little as $35 and up per week.
the sunshade thing that you speak of: the winds may cause it to blow away.
can it be attached to something heavy?
beach toys: best bet is bring some from home.



I did pay via Visa and I feel okay with that. I don't think they are shady or anything. I think they probably didn't know the full fees charge to renters. I think that owners renting out their units should make sure they know all the fees and have correct info for the renters, IMO.
As for the portacrib, I doubt I'll use it and won't bring one from home. My DD usually ends up in bed with me and since there's a king size bed, there's no problem there. I don't mind sleeping with her but she moves and kicks! I got a beach sunshade tent that's amazing. It just pops up and folds down into a flat smallish circle so I'll bring that for sure. What about water toys or float devices for the pool? Do they have any there?I am going to buy a weekly card for the internet. I'm not sure of cost but think that makes most sense. Thanks for the offer Karen, I may take you up on it. I apologize if I offended anyone here by saying I felt a little misled about the daily surcharges. I didn't mean it as an attack or slight on anyone. Nor is that person a member of this site. I am sure of that. Anyways, thanks for the feedback as usual guys. I processed it and am over it anyhow.

amarg
07-22-2010, 11:46 PM
It has a bottom to it so when you sit on it, it's weighted. It's like a tent with a dome on half of it. It has mesh along the sides for air flow and breathing. Does that make sense? It does have bungee cords attached to it so you could put pegs on it and stick it in the dirt or attach weights to it. It's awesome. Unfortunately, despite being $20 more expensive, the one I wanted was sold out of every store in Toronto. That's a lot of stores. That one was similar but zipped up for privacy into a little room so you could change.

amarg
07-22-2010, 11:48 PM
Can anyone thing of any other must haves for kids? Do I need lots of toys? We are bringing an umbrella stroller and I got an extra sunshade for it as the original canopy sucked to put it mildly. I was thinking my laptop and portable DVD player for distraction and practical purposes. The DVD player is really small so better for restaurants and outings. The laptop I need for general use and youtube and skype. High chair rented at resort. What else is a must have for kids?

amarg
07-23-2010, 12:18 AM
Question about phone calls. If I bring my unlocked iPhone which can take any sim card, can I purchase a local card in Aruba and will my phone work there? I know that the sim card is ok to install but what about the network Iphones run on - 3G? Does it matter or will it be fine? Are iphones worldphones? I guess I could look it up and/or contact Apple but iI don't want them to know I jailbroke and unlocked my phone. I also can't seem to get skype, siphone or friendcaller to work on my iphone. Maybe I've configured them wrong. If you are techy and know what I'm talking about, help and private message me.

Andrea J.
07-23-2010, 08:30 AM
again, ANYTHING pegged into the sand and or dirt such as an UMBRELLA or mesh tent like thing, could very easily become airborne.

re: your questions about toys and iphones, please use the search feature in the left hand column here. enter the word iphone and see what posts pop up.
then, do the same with children's toys.


It has a bottom to it so when you sit on it, it's weighted. It's like a tent with a dome on half of it. It has mesh along the sides for air flow and breathing. Does that make sense? It does have bungee cords attached to it so you could put pegs on it and stick it in the dirt or attach weights to it. It's awesome. Unfortunately, despite being $20 more expensive, the one I wanted was sold out of every store in Toronto. That's a lot of stores. That one was similar but zipped up for privacy into a little room so you could change.

Randi
07-23-2010, 09:04 AM
When my kids were young we actually packed life jackets rather than floaties!! It is way safer and has the little strap on the collar which is good for grabbing. The life jacket was safer in the ocean especially. My kids used the life jackets until they were about 7 years old as it gave them and me far more independance. We are ocean people so they could swim around as could I without as much worry knowing they had a secure life jacket on rather than floaties. The pool is a different story when they are older. Our kids had no issue as that is how they were brought up. So many parents (and grandparents) saw the life jackets and wanted to get one for their kids.

Randi
07-26-2010, 05:09 PM
. my partner is not allowed to enter the US so we need a direct flight.


Amarg, I don't mean to make you nervous but here is something to think about...
When flying over US airspace one must be prepared that there are occasions that a flight will have to land in the US. This has never actually happened to us but to many of our friends. Once in Buffalo because the flight crew had reached their max. number of allowed flying hours, another in Miami due to mechanical, and another due to a medical emergency. There are thousands of reasons your plane could have to stop in the US!

If your husband is not allowed to enter the US, if your flight has to land the airline must submit his name for clearance and if you need to stay over night (which can happen) you will have to clear customs and if his name is on a list then I really don't need to tell you what can happen?

I am not a lawyer but perhaps you should consult one?

Andrea J.
07-26-2010, 05:34 PM
yes randi good point!!
i am certain a lawyer can advise way better than us.

there are many instances where a plane has to make a diversion.
we flew from bos to philly to aua once and had to divert to miami for medical reasons.
another time flew from halifax ns to boston and had to divert to bangor due to a passenger being unruly. (drunk and disorderly..........my then 5 yr old enjoyed watching the police take this guy down right there in the aisle of the plane...quite exciting for a kid ......pre 9/11 days)


none of these were of real concern to us, but if we were in the same situation as amarg's husband we certainly would have been concerned.

amarg
08-09-2010, 02:19 AM
Hi there, we finally booked my sister's flight from Gatwick today on Thomson Air. She is joining us for the last week of our vacation.
I'm a little miffed at the way they operate I must say.

First off, they charge 40 pounds to check one piece of luggage. Also, I was told that to use a credit card incurs a charge of 2.5% but a UK debit card has no additional expense. So I got my sister to book the trip herself online using her UK debit card (it's supposed to be on us but I will just pay her back) but she was still charged 3 pounds. It said either 2.5% for using a Visa or other CC or 3 pounds for using the debit card. Of course, you don't see this until the very end of your booking when you are ready to pay.

The best part, if you need to call and speak to a representative about anything to do with your trip, you are charged by the minute for each call.
We still have some questions that we can't find answers to online so before we start calling and wasting more money (I've already called a few times to book the tickets) I wonder if one of our UK residents can answer a few questions for me.

Is there any food on the flight? Is there a meal or snacks or both? Can you purchase anything and cost?

Are there any beverages provided at all? If not, can you purchase any?

Should she take food and drink in her carryon?

What about tv or movies on the flight?

Is there anything else she should know about the flight? She is fairly small at 5 ft even and 90lb so the seat room isn't an issue.

She needs to purchase travel insurance but this will be her first time as a UK resident. Who is the best one to go through with the least amount of hassle, best rates, best coverage and lowest deductible (excess fees) or no deductible in case of claim? She is a UK resident as she's lived there for a year now but isn't a permanent resident. She is on a work visa so I am not sure how that works. Any advice or suggestions? I've been googling but it's overwhelming and much different than here. The 800 numbers aren't accessible for me so it's all very painstaking.

In case you are wondering why I am doing so much for my sister and why she just doesn't do it herself? Well she's my little sister for one and 2- for personal reasons I need to help her. Thanks.

Andrea J.
08-09-2010, 06:42 AM
maybe "damnyankeeuk" can answer some of these questions.

some answers by me.....yes to food in her carry on. yes to drink, provided it is purchased on the secured side of secure area.
unsure if there are movies, my flight orlando to aua on saturday had bare basics....no movie, ran out of liquor in 1st class, no real food in 1st class, only soft drinks and few bags of mixed salty stuff or cookies.

unsure if www.insuremytrip.com will be of use for UK residents. check it out.

why did i think you sister was flying from pacific northwest?

Arubalisa
08-09-2010, 08:43 AM
http://www.aruba.com/forum/f18/finally-made-46960/


Flight with Thomson air was a nightmare. 9 and a half hours, with no drinks unless you paid for them, my daughter had to have a tea with her meal...they ran out of ice after 2 hours in the air, and that was after being delayed for 2 hours before takeoff.
Greg


near as I could tell, the service on the flight was the norm. !

Chadd
08-09-2010, 11:54 AM
Hi there, we finally booked my sister's flight from Gatwick today on Thomson Air. She is joining us for the last week of our vacation.
I'm a little miffed at the way they operate I must say.

First off, they charge 40 pounds to check one piece of luggage. Also, I was told that to use a credit card incurs a charge of 2.5% but a UK debit card has no additional expense. So I got my sister to book the trip herself online using her UK debit card (it's supposed to be on us but I will just pay her back) but she was still charged 3 pounds. It said either 2.5% for using a Visa or other CC or 3 pounds for using the debit card. Of course, you don't see this until the very end of your booking when you are ready to pay.

The best part, if you need to call and speak to a representative about anything to do with your trip, you are charged by the minute for each call.
We still have some questions that we can't find answers to online so before we start calling and wasting more money (I've already called a few times to book the tickets) I wonder if one of our UK residents can answer a few questions for me.

Is there any food on the flight? Is there a meal or snacks or both? Can you purchase anything and cost?

Are there any beverages provided at all? If not, can you purchase any?

Should she take food and drink in her carryon?

What about tv or movies on the flight?
The charges are common for European low cost carriers. Check out Ryanair some time and see their list of add on fees.

As for meal/snacks:
http://www.thomson.co.uk/editorial/extras/travel-options.html

Insurance:
Thomson does offer it as well:
http://www.thomson.co.uk/editorial/legal/insurance.html

Their website is actually pretty well laid out. Checking it out may save some time and stress.

amarg
08-09-2010, 12:59 PM
Thank you. I wasn't sure if anyone else beside Damnyankeeus had flown with Thomson air and it just sounded very awful. She will just bring her ipod to entertain herself and buy some drinks and food to be safe.

Yes Andrea, I have 2 sisters coming, one (Tiffany) is flying from Vancouver to Toronto and then to Aruba with us. The other sister (Jesse), is flying straight in from UK to Aruba. There is another sister (Paris) who is the youngest at only 18 and lives at home with Mom and Dad. We are still trying to convince our parental units that it's ok for her to miss 2 weeks of school to come to Aruba. I don't think they're buying it.

She would have to fly in from Vancouver as well with Tiffany and fly home so it would be well over 2 weeks of missed Grade 12. I don't think letting her fly home alone is wise and nor would she. She is very shy and quiet and hasn't traveled very much at all. I think it's because the 3 of us are so talkative and overwhelming, as well as overprotective of our baby sister, that she kind of gets lost in the noise sometimes.

Jesse needs to do some investigating about the travel insurance because most of the companies only insure permanent UK residents and she's there on a work permit. I'm not sure how it works for people in her situation. Anyone out there have a similar situation where you lived somewhere else to work and then traveled from there? Thanks.

amarg
08-13-2010, 08:25 PM
My baby is a very very picky and difficult eater. She was born very premature at 27 weeks and feeding has always been an issue and one of my main stresses daily and while on vacation especially.
I am worried about feeding her in Aruba and know that Aruba has jarred foods in the grocery stores but Maya is not a fan of jars to say the least. In fact, she doesn't like much but she will occasionally eat certain flavors of an organic frozen babyfood that we have up here called Sweet Pea and there's also Mother Hen. I can sometimes mix these purees (they come in cubes like icecubes) with other foods and get her to eat them or mix them into her yogurt or cereal.
I don't think Aruba carries anything like this. I don't know if anyone has seen any kind of baby food at Ling and Sons besides jars. There is also an American Brand called Plum Organics that she will sometimes eat but we don't have it up here, I have to get it from Buffalo.
So my questions are:

Has anyone seen any frozen baby food in Aruba? Does anyone know if they carry Plum Organics?

If I was to take some frozen food with me, how would I take it on the flight safely and so it doesn't melt. Do I check it or can I carry it on since it's baby food? I was thinking of packing a small cooler and carrying it on but don't know if I can.

If I'm going to carry on a cooler, I may as well take other food in it so maybe I should make my carryon the cooler and just put all my stuff into the bags of the others flying with me?

Any advice?

I know Aruba has great food, great restaurants as well as grocery stores. That's not the point, it's just my daughter doesn't eat well and it's a medical concern, not just mine and I need to make proper plans in advance.

Andrea J.
08-14-2010, 12:15 AM
we bring frozen food in checked luggage in a soft sided collapsable cooler.
this particular trip we brought, frozen sliced turkey breast, pasta sauce w/ meatballs and sausage, frozen chicken/rice and brocolli casserole, butter.

all stayed hard/frozen.

i have only seen jarred baby foods and boxes of the cereal/oatmeal kind of stuff at the grocery stores.

amarg
08-14-2010, 12:01 PM
Do you put the soft cooler inside your suitcase? I guess I can line it with icepacks? Our flight is 3.5 hours and I'm thinking with having to arrive early at the airport, travel, arrival and then to CDM, we are looking at 7 hours. I hope the food will stay frozen for that long.
Can you recommend a good brand of cooler? I have to go buy one.

Andrea J.
08-15-2010, 12:09 AM
our soft sided collapsable cooler was bought at walgreens.
if you freeze all that stuff good and solid........put it in the cooler along with some ice packs and wrap clothes around that soft sided cooler to insulate.....it should stay frozen.

we loaded our cooler full of frozen stuff into out suitcase at 8 am on the 7th, got onto the flight at 11:30, arrived in aua at 3, unpacked it at about 4:30! still frozen.

amarg
08-15-2010, 12:28 AM
Great! I didn't think of wrapping the cooler but makes sense. Just hope security doesn't decide to open it.
I don't think I've ever prepared so much for a trip. Traveling with a baby is a whole other ball game.

Randi
11-12-2010, 10:09 PM
We heard so much about your preparation but you never did a trip report after? We are all dying to hear how you all made out? Did your husband make it to Aruba without having to stop in the US? Did you get rainy weather due to the hurricances in the area (that is the problem going to the Carribean during the hurricance season)?

You know details.......

Randi
11-17-2010, 12:14 PM
HELLLLOOOOO AMARG!! We are waiting for your trip report??? Where are you???:)