December 13, 2017

Day 19 – Oranjestad, Aruba

The passage during the night was slow and smooth as predicted. Despite our on time arrival, the ship is a little late in being cleared for passengers, probably because of the number of ships in port.

TUI Cruise lines "Mein Schiff 3" is docked right behind us at the main pier in Aruba. TUI is another brand owned by Royal Caribbean. Silverseas "Silver Muse" is docked at the next pier, and Holland Americas "Rotterdam" is docked on the other side of the Silver Muse.

One of my personal landmarks in Aruba is still in place. There is a sandbar 100 yards or so off the pier. There is one lone tree that looks like it will float away any minute, but somehow hangs in there year after year. I noticed it on my first visit about six years ago, and was initially very surprised to see it was still there on a subsequent visit. Most likely I will be back next year to check on my favorite tree.

After breakfast at Park Ave in the Solarium, I'm off the ship before 9:00. The sun is hot, the temperature already above 80, and there is very little breeze. The dock and shopping area pretty congested with passengers and vendors trying to sell tours and taxi services. The street car line is operating frequently, complete with a new double decker car. The streetcar trucks squeal at a high pitch as the cars make the tight corner to enter the turn around loop. Each car is full to capacity with tourists. In years past it was rare to even see the trolley operating.

I am probably back on the ship by 11:30. A shower is definitely the first order of business. The internet has been almost unusable the past several days. With the majority of the ships passengers ashore I try again, still painfully slow, but at least it works. I have a message from my PCP. (primary care physician) She is checking up on me, I respond by email. Just one of the reasons I like my doctor.

I decide a nap is in order for the afternoon, I think the first on this trip.

I mentioned that the lounge had been particularly rowdy the other night. Tonight I learned that one of the primary contributors to the rowdiness was earlier removed from the dining room because of his behavior there. Action that Royal seldom takes, but probably should more often.

As we approach departure time a few passengers are being paged. I have no idea whether they were actually on the ship, as has happened to me, or they missed the boat. Our departure was further delayed by a few minutes by several playful dolphins that were swimming near the bow thrusters. The captain waited until they swam away, not wanting to harm them during our departure.

I was reminded last night of the benefit of having Diamond and Concierge lounge staff being the cream of the crop. I stopped at the Centrum "R Bar" to get a can of club soda to take to the theater before the show. The server gave me a plain bottle of water, pouring it into a large glass with ice. I questioned him, and he insisted that it was club soda. Another server was nearby, overheard the conversation and pulled him aside to explain the difference. When he was opening the can of club soda he managed to not only knock over the large glass of water but also the can of club soda. Several of us got wet. He was not a happy bartender, and definitely more upset that any of the guests. A situation where the frustration of making a simple mistake caused more harm than the mistake itself.

The show tonight was "Abbacadabra". An excellent headliner show that imitates the group Abba. The theater was full with standing room only. They has flown into Aruba today, boarded the ship about 2:30, and performed their first show at 6:30.

As we begin our two day trip back to Ft Lauderdale the seas are essentially flat at less than 3 feet.