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Published: June 21st 2017
Geo: 12.53, -70.03
Serenade has docked in Aruba before we awake. We are in a position near the container dock which we thought was going to be some distance from the main terminal building but we can see that it would only be a 5/10 minute walk at most. Carnival Breeze is approaching the dock at a slow rate of knots. She passes us on our starboard side and docks in between us and Serenade's sister ship, Jewel of the Seas.
We breakfast in the WJ and manage to find a couple of seats outside at the back of the ship. True to its reputation Aruba is windy just as it was when we were here last year. Back in our stateroom we shower and change and remember to put sunscreen on before heading down to deck 2 to leave Serenade. There is a free shuttle to the port entrance gate but we decide to walk the short distance and get the steps up on our fitbits.
At 10.30 it is already very warm as we make our way out of the port. We cross the busy main road over to the bus station where we purchase 2 round trip tickets for the Arubus
at $4 each. It is only a short wait before we catch bus 10b that will take us up toward Palm Beach our destination. The bus is pretty small and soon fills up, the only air conditioning is the open windows which brings a blessed breeze but only when the bus is moving. We quickly make our way along the coastline firstly passing Eagle Beach that is already full of sun worshippers and onto Palm Beach where most of the main hotels are situated.
We alight close to a row of shops and intend to look around them first of all. Most say they open at 10am but its already 11am and they remain firmly closed. I guess those are guide times only. We head toward the beach itself. Palm Beach is even more crowded than Eagle Beach. The sun is approaching its zenith and it's mighty hot but luckily the heat is tempered by the cooling easterly breeze? We find a small beach bar called Carlitos where we order a couple of the local Balashi Beers which are ice cold and very nice.
The view is mostly of oil covered bodies that are strewn across the golden beach. There is a
lot of water sport activity going on from windsurfing, jet-skiing to those people who enjoy being pulled behind a motor-boat in a big rubber ring. The sea itself is a gorgeous aquamarine and no doubt a cooling respite from the midday heat. We are not really beach people and so we don't venture onto the sands other than to take a few pictures.
We pay our bar bill and head back toward the shops which at 12.30pm still remain closed. We surmise that whilst people are on the beach there is no point being open. We head toward the Hard Rock Cafe where we intend to lunch. The burgers we have are very nice as those available on the ship are dismal in comparison.
We board an Arubus and head back toward the port. The bus is quieter when we get on but soon fills again as we pass Eagle Beach. The shops near the port are bustling with people. We take a look around but don't buy anything. Again we walk back to the ship and head to our stateroom. We relax for a few hours before heading back out again.
We booked a late afternoon excursion before we left the uk.
It's a sunset Catamaran & Cocktail cruise. Our coach is already waiting when we emerge from Serenade and so we take our seats for the trip to the boat. When we finally get moving we find we are driven to the other side of the port to the small marina there..we could have walked ourselves in the time we were waiting for the bus to fill up.
We have to wait a while for security to unlock a gate before we get to board the Fiesta. A large Catamaran that will take us out to sea for our cruise. The crew are friendly and no sooner do we set sail than the music is turned up and the rum punches are flowing.
We follow Jewel of the Seas out of the marina before turning southward. The sails are unfurled and the boat starts bouncing along the wave tops in the late afternoon sun. We enjoy a Pina Colada and a Green Iguana. No idea what was in the Green Iguana but it was very good. The boating is pitching quite heavily now and I start to feel as green as my drink. At that moment we tack around and the boat settles down. The sun slowly sinks toward the horizon and the captain manoeuvres the boat in circles to allow everyone to get their pictures of the sunset. Some people are a lot merrier than others as they have made most use of the free flowing spirits. The sun soon sinks beneath the horizon and the Fiesta makes her way back into the marina. A nice fun trip.
Back onboard Serenade we quickly shower and change before heading out to dinner. We make a last minute reservation at Chops Grille and enjoy an excellent meal. Dungeness Crab Cakes for me. Colossal Shrimp Cocktail for Peter. Both very good. We both have the 9oz filet mignon for main accompanied by sides of garlic mash, mushrooms, creamed spinach and parmesan potatoes. All delicious and the steaks were perfectly cooked. Dubious on whether we could finish dessert we order anyway. I have the chocolate mud cake and Peter the red velvet cake. I don't finish mine, although very good. Peter demolishes his...a first I think although the velvet cake is not the size it used to be in the past. We finish with a couple of coffees. Excellent.
We sit in Vintages for a while to finish our wine. There is some raucous cowboy style game going on in the centrum that involves grown men walking around in circles swapping cowboy hats. The crowd seems to be enjoying it but we are just tired and so head back to our cabin for the night.
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