We thought this would be a good beach day. When you get off the ship the beach is literally right there. On the left you have lounge chairs in and out of the sun. Margaritaville is right there too. Nice spacious pool area. Get there early for a spot. They have pool games and live music and a DJ. If you want to do something they have people there who book excursions or water tube rides, jet skiis etc. If you walk to the right on the beach about a mile (go around the bend) you can find lots of conch shells on the beach. If you get there early you may find a nice one. Also has the usual shopping boutiques.
We wanted to book an excurison with Seavis Tours but was too late, they were booked. For $65 pp plus $15 pp round trip taxi van they will take you to Saona Island for beach time, lunch and then stop at the sand bar to look for starfish. The van takes you to Bayahibe beach were you pickup the boat to Saona. It takes about half hour to get to both places. At Saona they give you lunch and drinks. You can snorkel. The shopping is about 1/2 dozen island people in huts with the same merchandise. Since we couldn't do the tour we took the cab to Bayahibe beach with another couple then rented a small boat from a local for $35pp to take us to Saona. He also stopped at the sandbar for us and we found starfish. Don't take them out of the water for very long or they will die. We did not realize but there was no opportunity for food at Saona except for the excursion folks. But we really loved our boat ride over there with just the four of us and the driver. It was worth going hungry for! You can take the taxi to Bayahibe Beach and stay there for beach time. They have restaurants and shopping.
After all the hype I was not impressed with Aruba. We took the bus for $2.30 pp out to Malmok Beach to snorkel. It was a very rocky place with just a small beach but my husband was able to snorkel and found starfish. On the way we passed Palm Beach which looked very nice. It has a boardwalk with restaurants and shopping. The bus station is right across the street from the pier. I do not recommentd any shopping right near the pier. Go out to Palm Beach by bus or farther into town by the casinos which is off to the right from the dock. About a 15 minute walk. What we did was went to the beach when we docked and then went back to the ship for a shower a quick dinner at the buffet and then back into town for the casino.
Very nice port. Love the colors. It is about a 20 minute walk over to the floating bridge to Punda. Lots of local shops and little sidewalk restaurants. You can rent taxi's or take a trolley around town. Very easy walking if you can. This is one place we would like to see more of when we return. We felt very safe walking around. I believe the smaller ships dock right by the bridge.