August 30, 2018

August 29, Oranjestad, Aruba

We arrive shortly after 7:30 and the ship is cleared by a few minutes after 8:00.

We are not the first ship in port, but the second.  The Monarch was already secured when we arrived. Formerly the Monarch was Monarch of The Seas, a ship I was on many times including one of my best cruises ever, at sea during hurricane Sandy.

I spend a couple hours in the downtown area before the sun gets too hot. The forecast was for clouds all day, but they soon gave way to bright sunny skies. 

Once I had my first replacement parts I would set off the metal detectors every time I came back aboard a ship. That has ended as I no longer pass through the detectors, instead heading directly to manual screening. After a week and a half I am recognized and the process is quite quick.

The big refinery in Aruba closed, has been purchased by Citgo and is expected to reopen. There are still a number of oil platforms a few miles off shore. Where the oil is being taken I have no idea but it may be Curacao which has a number of refineries.

The trees are still growing on the sandbar. An oddity I recall from my first visit to this port 5 or 6 years ago. The port would not be the same without them.

The Freewinds is berthed on the inside of the same pier where we are docked.  Definitely an older ship and much smaller. Possibly a capacity for 200 passengers and crew. Of particular interest is the open lifeboats, seating for probably 20 or 25 passengers at most. No worry about the engines not starting or having enough fuel, the life boats are powered by four pair of oars. I think this ship might be permanently berthed here as I think i have seen her here before.  She appears to be void of passengers.

Our ship is also quite void of passengers this evening with many choosing to take advantage of our late departure.

The crew avoided a major catastrophe yesterday. The galley has an ice cream department where they make about a dozen flavors of gelato for the gelatoteria on deck 5 and another dozen flavors of ice cream for the ice cream station in the oceanview cafe.

Yesterday the cooler in the oceanview was failing and couldn't keep the ice cream frozen. Fortunately repairs were made overnight, and the ice cream again remains frozen, and guests remain happy. The ice cream is as good as any land based ice cream store, and the gelato rivals that found in Italy.

The comedian performs to a nearly empty theater with maybe 200 guests in attendance. Despite the empty theater he does a good job, much better than the comedian last week.

I will be asleep before we leave for the short journey to Curacao, and in fact I probably will be asleep when we arrive about the time the sun rises.