Holland America Line Zuiderdam: Aruba + the local town

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194 What was going to be an early start to the morning turned into a day of lounging around and waiting to get into Aruba. For some reason, I thought we were scheduled to arrive there in the morning but I was off by a few hours, not to mention we are still in the Atlantic time zone.
We started the morning off by hitting the main dining room for breakfast where I did my standard protein breakfast before I hit the gym (eggs, bacon, and sliced tomatoes). The gym was packed but I was able to squeeze in a 30-minute work out lifting. So, for the folks that say Holland America is nothing but old people, they are so wrong. There were more folks in the gym working out than I’ve ever seen on any past cruises.

Around noon we boarded the pilot and he took us into the harbor of Oranjestad, Aruba. We were joined by one Spanish cruise liner that used to be owned by Celebrity Cruises, Celebrity Horizon. Just pulling into Aruba takes your breath away. The Southern Caribbean offers guests amazing views as you approach the coast. It was such a cool sight and I’m pretty sure I took at least 100 photos.

We docked, cleared customs, and before you know it, we were making our way off the ship. People were gathering at the stairwells way before we docked – of course that made for a nice bottle neck when we were trying to get off the ship. When you get into Aruba, the cruise terminal has quite a few tourist shops, snack bar, and places to buy wifi. You can buy a 24-hour wifi card for $10 or a 90-minute card for $6. I stuck with the $10 card. One thing I learned is once you activate the card on your phone or laptop, you can’t use the same code on another computer, you have to buy another.

Our excursion today was going to an all-inclusive island called De Palm and it rocked. They take you to a landing pad where you hop on a shuttle, go over to a private island, and hang out for a few hours before taking you back to the ship. There was some locals there along with guests from the other ship in port. The De Palm Island excursion ran $89 on the ship, but no sure if you can by it cheaper on land. When you think of the shuttle transfers to the pier, the all-you-can-eat and drink, it’s really not a bad deal.

Back on the ship, there was an under-the-stars type BBQ happening in the aft. This BBQ was a lot like the first day where they served steak, salmon, chicken, and grilled vegetables. They put on a nice spread, so nice that I went back twice for more steak.

Aruba was celebrating Carnaval so there wasn’t much nightlife when we got off the ship. The casino was open along with a couple of restaurants. We walked through the casino and went to a place for drinks called The Fisherman’s Wharf (off the main drag by a block). Drinks were cheaper on the ship than they were there. You throw down eight-dollars for a Crown and Coke there. All aboard was at 11pm so we left the overpriced drink place around 10:30 and headed back to the ship. It was about a five-minute walk.

They had a killer Lido “late night snack” area set up. When I say late night snack, it’s full blown food from pasta, pizza, chicken and a plethora of desserts. Being the healthy one (sarcasm), I got a whole bowl of pasta before I called it a night. Carb central.

The 11pm entertainment show was called ‘Filipino Crew Show.’ It was a performance where members of the Filipino staff provided song and dance from their native country. There was this cool number they did with a couple of long poles that keep the birds out of the rice fields. The audience was extremely supportive and gave a large round of applause at the end of the 40-minute show.

Tomorrow is Curacao.

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