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Thread: Weston's Covid Trip 1/30/21-2/5/21

  1. #1
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    Talking Weston's Covid Trip 1/30/21-2/5/21

    Good Morning All!

    My wife and I both took Vault tests on Wednesday. We received our results back just after midnight this morning. Both of us were negative. We uploaded our info and bought the insurance for the ED forms and received the highly coveted green check mark!
    A large group of us typically go to New Orleans every year for Mardi Gras but with cancelling of events and parades in New Orleans along with the pandemic we pivoted to still have a vacation during this time period. The last time we were in Aruba was for our honeymoon in October of 2018 so we are very excited to go back!

    We leave out of Hartford tomorrow morning on Southwest, connect through Baltimore, and onto our happy place!

    As some of you know I work for a Marriott property, and all the properties on the island right now have the associate rate available. This time around we ended up deciding to stay at the Stellaris Marriott. We stayed at the Ritz for our honeymoon. We are bringing my cousin and his girlfriend with us for their first international travel ever. We told them that we are setting the bar high for them, and they will be disappointed when they travel elsewhere in the future. One thing we though was interesting about Stellaris, was that if you book a king bed room, you get a stand up glass shower. If you book a two queen room you get a tub/shower combo. My wife enjoys taking a nice bath or two while on vacation so we opted for the 2 queen room. My cousin opted for the king bed room. The Stellaris did send upgrade offers for view and for Tradewinds club but we declined both. We figured we would take our chances with asking for a complimentary upgrade when we got to the property with the island not being as busy.

    We have not mapped out everything we want to do but we are hoping to do a Trikes Aruba tour this time around. It will give my wife and I a new experience while still showing the island to my cousin and his girlfriend. Brights is always a stop for us. Local Store and many great steaks are in the plans for us. My cousin is looking forward to the seafood. We have a car rented through National at the airport. This is the first time we are renting through a company directly at the airport. They were significantly less then a few of the local agencies that we checked in with.

    Will do my best to keep you all updated!
    Last edited by Weston; 01-29-2021 at 10:14 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Enjoy and look forward to your updates!! Safe travels!
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Pegmeister's Avatar
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    Safe travels!! Enjoy your vacation!!

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  4. #4
    Super Moderator WaltVB's Avatar
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    Hope you have a blast, keep in touch!

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  5. #5
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    Enjoy and safe and fun travels

    I hope that you get to take a trikes tour.
    It has been on our list for a long time and we never, gotten around to it.
    I think it is because neither of us wants to drive, we just want to ride
    AIDTM THINK.. is it Thoughtful? Helpful? Inspirational? Necessary? Kind?

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  6. #6
    Senior Member cpjones's Avatar
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    Outstanding.... I like the 'Brights' part of the plan!
    A little nonsense now and then is relished by the best of men!
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  7. #7
    Senior Member robin's Avatar
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    safe travels






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  8. #8
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    We are excited to here about your stay and adventures. Have fun!
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  9. #9
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    Hi Everyone,

    Currently sitting on our balcony at Stellaris!

    Left Hartford this morning. It was 15 degrees out. I was surprised how many people were at the airport this morning. I made it through Security with my global entry/pre check in about 15 minutes. The rest of our traveling companions it took about a half hour. Our 610am Southwest flight to Baltimore had 109 people on it. I believe they said it sat 143. Flight was uneventful. Only water and mixed snacks served. We had breakfast at the mexican restaurant in concourse b. I am sorry the name slips me. Good breakfast burritos that were served with fruit cups. We had sides of seasoned breakfast potatoes with peppers and onions. Our 1015am fight from Baltimore to Aruba sat 179 people and only had 80 people on it. The flight was uneventful. Again water and mixed snacks were served. As we were making the final descent we saw at least 4 cruise ships in the port. When we landed in Aruba we made it to the airport associates checking covid tests in about 5 minutes after exiting the plane. We were given a blue placard that said already tested. We then had passports scanned by the Aruban officials and walked down the stairs to baggage area. My wife and I thought the baggage took a long time this trip. I would say we waited about 30 minutes for luggage to come out. When the bags finally came out, the baggage claim area became so busy. It was like 3 or 4 flights all descended on the baggage area at once. No social distancing and very cramped. The line from the customs bag screeners ran all the way from the bag x ray machines through the snaking lines, past baggage claim 3 and up the stairs back towards where you have your passports scanned. I would say this was about a 45 minute wait to get through after getting the luggage. Before we entered that line the line in duty free was about 12 people deep so we opted not to get anything there and work through getting through the bag screen. When we made it out to the arrivals hall we went across the street to pick up our rental car at National. Very good covid preventative measures. 2 patrons allowed in office at a time, dedicated enployee sanitizing handles, pens, counters, etc. Filled out the paperwork for our ford fusion. We began loading the car and the manager saw us struggling to fit all of our luggage in the trunk. He came over and offered us an suv upgrade at no charge. We thanked him tremendously and gave him a nice tip. I don't think that would ever happen in the states. We loaded up the suv that he brougt us and were on our way to the resort. When we arrived, it was so quiet. We checked in with a great desk agent named Beverly. We talked hotel business when I gave her my Marriott Associate papers. She said that the hotel was at 12% occupancy on 412 rooms. A little more then 40 rooms sold. She asked for the verification cards given out at the airport thay verify you had been tested for covid and were negative. She wrote our name and ED number on the back of each one. She also gave us a paper with the three testing lpcatioms for returning to the USA that Andrea has already posted. I asked if we could upgrade our rooms from the limited view we had and she said we would be very happy when we got upstairs. We went upstairs. My cousin's room and my room both on the 6 floor with a beautiful ocean and pool view. I was estatic as we had bypassed the $80 plus tax upgrade offer and ended up getting the same rooms as that offer for just the tip that we gave Beverly. We freshened up amd headed to Superfoods for some items around 7pm. The store was still busy. Still making every person coming in have a cart. We exited about 8pm as they were closing up. We then headed to Local Store. It was busy. Every table full. We waited about 20 minutes and sat down inside. Currently inside is 5 tables. Outside had about 8-10 tables. 4 maximum allowed at each table. The food was very good as usual. The one thing that always gets us there is no soda pitcher sales. Most restaurants in Aruba do not have soda refills but will typically sell us a pitcher but not there. At 945 we were signing for our check and they were quickly trying to close up by 10 pm. You can feel the anxiousness in the air with the 11pm curfew in place. When we had checked into the hotel they told us, whatever we did make sure to be off the roads by 11pm. When we got back to the hotel, the lobby of stellaris was packed with what looks to be 18-21 year olds maybe all here as a group
    I would say 50-75 people. We came up to our room where the wife is currently enjoying her first bath bomb and I am enjoying a beverage and the much warmer then Connecticut weather out here on my balcony typing to all you great people!

    The plan for tomorrow is sleep in, beach, pool, Brights and try to get our appointments lined up for going home testing with the hospital.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member ArubaAce's Avatar
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    Wow only 12% capacity! You have the place to yourself. A once in a life time. Enjoy...
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