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Thread: Bradrobster Trip Report - June 13-23rd

  1. #1
    Senior Member bradrobster's Avatar
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    Bradrobster Trip Report - June 13-23rd

    First of all, let me apologize for not starting this sooner. It's been a crazy year at work, new position, 15 hour days...yada yada... I am not complaining, just saying that when it was time to detach for this vacation, this guy was ready to detach! That said, on with the trip reports! ( got a few days to catch up on!)

    Day 1- June 13th

    This was our first time on Jet Blue. Crazy thing is, we had a 7am flight out of Raleigh to Ft. Lauderdale. We got there around 445am using "schedule UBER", worked great. Strange thing was when we got to the airport, we walked in and of course the side where American and Delta were was crazy! At least 200+ people in various lines. We look over to the right where Jet Blue was and there were literally 6 people. I figured something had to be wrong but we took our bags, checked them, verified our passports and boarding passes and we were on our way to security in literally 5-7 minutes. We are precheck so we zipped through security and were sitting at the gate before 5:15..lol. Probably could have used the extra 30min of sleep but as soon as we would have done that, the circumstances would have been different.

    Flight was on-time and good for Jet Blue. I totally agree with the assessment of the Ft. Lauderdale airport terminal, talk about no frills. They really need to do something. It's small, loud and not accommodating at all. Flight was good and on time to Aruba so I was not complaining much.

    Got off the plane in Aruba, had our printouts from the ED online and they looked at them, pointed us to the automated lines and pushed us through quicker than those with the manual ones. Got our bags, stopped to get booze ( darn them...no normal Bacardi Silver!, good thing I travel with a plastic fifth of it just in case..lol). Great taxi to the Hilton to begin 3 days of "Pre-Vacation".

    Those who have read my reports before know the importance of "pre-vacation". It's sole purpose is to get one's self into that critical "vacation mode". For me, that is about 3 days. We start at the Hilton and then move to our 7 days timeshare at the Marriott Ocean club.

    Hilton check in was fine, typical haggle on room type/location for the amount of points and dollars they sucked out of me. Frustrating every year, may decide to go back to Marriott Hotel next year, we will see.

    Room was good except for the view, put our stuff down, went down and got towels and drinks and headed for the pool since it was later in the day. All was good, quiet and relaxing.

    We were looking for a quick and really good "go to" for our first night so we landed at Casa Tua which is just across the street from the Hilton and where you all have heard us rave about before. It' never disappoints. We got the beef carpaccio and the seafood pizza to share. Both wonderful, a beer or two for me and a couple of glasses of wine for Deb. About $60 with tip. Worth it.

    Back to the room for a wind-down night cap from our stash..lol....decompress and recap the day....as you know..these are the best parts.


    Day 2 - June 14th-Thursday

    We had booked a palapa the day before at the hut for free after 4pm. So I had my card and proceeded to go down there around 8:30am. I gave the guy my card with the number and my towels and off we went. We get over near the Bugaloe pier and we look and look. He gets on his radio, talks to someone, they go back and forth. He walks away from me to talk to someone, comes back and apolgizes and says "This was one of 3 new Palapas that they were supposed to install last night, they only did 2 of the 3, we are sorry but yours did not get installed." I had to laugh..but at least he was able to tell us they had found us another one. It all worked out, I put our stuff down and Deb came down and we went to Bugaloe for breakfast.

    She had the veggie sandwich, me 2 eggs scrambled with a side of bacon. Water and a Mimosa and we were out for $20. Really good food and we love Bugaloe.

    Lunch was just as easy, left our palapa, went to Bugaloe, each got the $15 fish basket ( Panko grouper pieces and shrimp, fries and small salad) 2 beers each , around $50 before tip. Fried grouper is amazing!

    Dinner......well.. We went back to Azia! Went there last year and loved it and were treated so well with awesome service. As soon as we walked in, Edward recognized us and sat us.
    We had Sushi, Octopus, Wine, Edamame,...all perfect with great service. The flavors of everything here are eye popping! It is so nice to get such high quality Asian Tapas and Sushi here in Aruba. Highly recommended. Around $75+ tip, totally worth it!


    Day 3 - June 15th-Friday

    Being proud of myself for using the Hilton's online palapa booking site for booking a free one after 4pm the day before, I walked proudly down to the towel hut, waited in line and told them my free palapa reservation. She looked, and looked...and then said, you don't have that one, someone else does. I told her, that I had it, put in my room number and name and it said "submitted". Nothing. She had me go all the way to the front desk. They were useless and sent me to the Spa to talk to the manager Sophia.

    Long story short, after much discussion, Sophia got us a palapa and a reserved spot at the pool. After all the early morning turmoil, it all turned out well.

    You know us creatures of habit, we had breakfast at Bugaloe ( Gouda omelet with side of bacon for me, and eggs and mimosa for Deb), about $20 again.

    For lunch, we walked down to Moomba and had a great grouper baguette and Deb had the seafood salad ( shrimp, grouper, calamari), both really good. Nice to see Moomba maintaining the quality still. Couple of beers and we were out for under $50.

    Dinner...well.. had to go back to Azia. We were looking awesome flavors and easy of getting it so we went back!. Edward and team did not disappoint! Sushi, Korean BBQ, Mushroom with udon, all amazing. Around $60 before bar, really awesome food and service here. We made a reservation for later in the week when we will have the whole crew ( both adult kids and their significant others).

    Day 4 - June 16th-Saturday

    Transition Day - Today we checked out of the Hilton ( I picked up a rental van ( needed to sit 6) from Budget Friday afternoon). Breakfast at Bugaloe again with Gouda Omelet and Bacon and eggs and toast for Deb.

    Went down to the Marriott Ocean Club. Room not ready but it was early so no complaints. I would rather wait for a better room. Dropped luggage with Raul and then headed back to airport to pick up daughter and her boyfriend. They got in fine on the American direct flight from Charlotte. They arrived ontime, gathered bags and booze and we picked them up without incident.

    Drove back to the Marriott, dropped more bags with Raul and then sent them to the Sands Eatery to get some food and drinks. Deb and I then sent them to the beach while we went back to the aiport for round 2. My son and his girlfriend arrived on the 2nd American flight from Charlotte ontime. We picked them up without incident. We decided to hit Ling and Son's quickly because as most of you know the roads around Superfood are all messed up right now. As long as you go slow, you can do it but pay attention, especially at night.

    Got essentials at Ling and Sons ( Mixers, snacks as we would hit Superfood on Sunday). Went back to hotel and got quick lunch at Sands Eatery at Ocean club. Pricey as we got drinks too, food was average, I am trying to be nice. Ocean club needs to step it back up a notch as the Waves bar at Marriott hotel has a better kitchen with probably the same food source.

    Early night as we were exhausted. Tomorrow is Fathers Day, I must get up early for the palapa !

    Day 5 - June 17th - Sunday

    Fathers day....well.. I loved this because as a Dad, it is incredible to share a vacation with your adult kids who have graduated college and established themselves along with their significant others. It really is a feeling of accomplishment so I did not mind getting up and going to get the palapa.
    Got a great one with 6 chairs, got breakfast in the Ocean club at the little coffee/ice cream place. $7 bucks for a bacon/sausage egg and cheese. Not bad at all, especially for the convenience

    Lunch we went over to Waves at the Marriott and had Lunch ( Poke, Fish Tacos and Fish and chicken Sandwich) all really good. Met back up with our friend Gabriel who works there, he was awesome as always. Dropped about $100 with drink specials but food and drinks were good!

    For Dinner, we went back to Casa Tua. We had a reservation for the Gazebo that we made 3 weeks before we showed. We got there only to find that someone else had been booked there in the Gazebo. Very frustrating as they were busy and there were not many seating options. Deb was pissed, obviously because not only had she emailed them and been confirmed twice in the last 3 weeks but they copied all their owners on the booking.

    I won't go into all the detail here but I will say that the manager and waiter did try to do their best to make this an enjoyable evening. The food was awesome as always and they did help with drinks and such. It was just disappointing as this is a place we not only frequent but we also clearly promote them in my reviews because the food and service is very good. I am hoping this was just a one time thing.

    Day 6 - June 18th-Monday

    Got palapa early, did breakfast in the room with great bread, eggs, butter and ham slices from Superfood. Really good, packed a few beers and booze for mixer assist in the backpack cooler.

    Had great beach day, even got the really good Nathan's hotdogs at the Ocean Club's Juice bar for lunch


    We headed up around 3pm to get ready for our Snorkel tour on the Blue Melody's Black Pearl. Albert, Joanne and team always provide such a great experience and it was great again. Snorkling was clear and beautiful, grilled gouda sandwiches were tasty and filling and the whole trip was very relaxing with some great pics we captured.

    Hit the hot tub at the Ocean club on our return, we were all exhausted. Kids..lol...went down to Champions to get wings later which they said were really good. They got 16 wings assortment for $20....so not bad. All off to bed, will update Tuesday and beyond next!
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Pegmeister's Avatar
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    Enjoying your trip report. Sounds like you are all settled into vacation mode!

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  3. #3
    Super Moderator Jacki's Avatar
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    Sounds wonderful! I certainly hope we can continue to head to Aruba together as a family when my kids are all out of college!

    The palapa reservation thing still sounds SO frustrating to me. If I get down to the beach & there is one available I take it. If not, oh well - I missed out & will have to wait for one to open up. I think if I had actually reserved one & it was not available for whatever reason I'm afraid I would get thrown into Jersey mode and be mad!



    Jacki ~ loving Aruba from NJ
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  4. #4
    Aruba since 1979
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    thanks so much for sharing your vacaion with us.

    i do know how much fun it is having the adult children and grandchildren in Aruba.

    enjoy your family time and all that Aruba has to offer and thanks!
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Aruba4ever's Avatar
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    Thanks for taking some time out of your busy trip to give us our Aruba fix. Enjoy the rest of the trip and keep those reports coming

  6. #6
    Senior Member bradrobster's Avatar
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    Day 6 - June 19th-Tuesday

    Grabbed the palupa around 7:30. We found that the Ocean Club hard core folks line up at 7 so they are all gone by the time we get there. We still get a great one because this is just a great time of year to come. At least half of the palapas at the Ocean club are empty. We know that will change as we leave because many more schools will get out this week.

    We have been doing breakfast in the room. We had gotten dutch ham, eggs, gouda, good bread and other things. I get butter here that I cannot get in the states ( Elle & Vire ) so we do a piece of toast, fried egg, ham and gouda...amazing!

    The kids walked down to Eduardo's and Scott's brats and got bowls and breakfast sandwiches, they loved them all and prices are good.

    Back to the beach, water has been a bit cooler than last year but the weather has actually been a bit cooler this week. Highs in the lower 80's and stronger than normal winds have kept us very comfortable but you still have to watch the sun as a few of us have some pink spots after re-coating several times. We always tell people that the wind will make you feel like your not getting burned, it is very true.

    For lunch, we had kabobs from Superfoods that we were supposed to grill Monday night after the Blue Melody but we ended up being so full from the Gouda sandwiches from the cruise that we saved them for lunch. I really love the prepared skewers of tenderloin from Superfood. We got some of the spicy and some of the chimichurri. I was not thrilled about standing over the grill in the heat of the day but it was fine. We had two pieces of salmon that we made aluminum foil pouches for with butter and lemon. Did all that on the grills in about 20 min and Deb made rice and salad in the room and we had a wonderful lunch.

    Finished the afternoon with some pool and ocean time but had to head up around 4pm to get ready for our 6pm reservation at Barefoot. We gave ourselves plenty of time to get there thinking that traffic would be worse. I had already checked way ahead of time and there were no cruise ships in port Tuesday. I had emailed them a reservation request 3 weeks ago and confirmed again when we hit the island. They had a great front row table for us 6 on the beach. It was a bit hot until 6:30 when the sun started to go down but the beauty and the awesome food made it all worthwhile.

    We had shrimp croquettes and Tuna two ways for appetizers. They were fantastic, those shrimp croquettes, I could eat a dozen of them. For dinner, my son and I had the Snapper Amsterdamn, Deb and Mackenzie had the Grouper Romano, others had the Blackened Mahi and the Sirloin steak. Literally we all cleaned our plates, wonderful food and views. We splurged on desert and had the brownie, the dutch apple and the coffee cream brule. Beers, Wine, prosecco, and water for me ( the driver), total was around $325 before tip. Great family dinner and worth it !

    Back to the Ocean club for a walk around the properties and then night caps on the balcony. Hard to believe Tuesday is over!

    More to come!
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  7. #7
    Super Moderator WaltVB's Avatar
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    So glad you are on the island and having fun. I've been missing trip reports, but you're saving the day! Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    You making us miss the Aruba good times!
    Sean and Susan
    [Countdown=12/01/2013 2:30 AM;]I'm finally there]Count down:[/Countdown]
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  9. #9
    Member Worktotravel's Avatar
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    Enjoying your trip report - thanks for sharing!!
    Susan
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  10. #10
    Senior Member cpjones's Avatar
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    Wow.... two installments in a day... thanks for taking the time to share so much of your wonderful time. Glad Barefoot pleased you.... we have reservations in less than 2 weeks.
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