Curacao was a colorful little town. If you make port late (as we did), I suggest going directly to the Punda side of Willemstad since most shops close around 5:30 pm. Just across the Queen Emma pontoon bridge is a little sidewalk café that runs along the harbor called the Iguana Café which is a great place to have a drink and enjoy the view. The Rif Fort right at the port has some nice shops, bars, and restaurants as well. No beaches close by.
In Aruba we did a day pass at the Occidental Grand and we enjoyed it! You can get the passes directly from the hotel or (like we did) through online sites like ShoreExcursioneer.com. Grab a short $14 taxi ride to the resort and they give you your bracelets at the front desk giving you complete access to their resort including unlimited food and drink! The staff was very friendly and helpful. The pool and the beach were wonderful! The food was good but…the drinks were not. They only had a limited selection of cheap liquors and things like daiquiris and pina coladas were premixed and they just poured some rum on top. Not very good. You’ll probably get asked about their timeshare at some point but that’s OK. However, we still felt it was worth it and enjoyed our time there. If you eat outside, be careful the birds or the iguanas don’t steal your food…they’re pretty bold!
Grand Turk was our favorite port! You walk right off the ship and onto a beach at the cruiseport! Just grab yourself one of the hundreds of lounge chairs waiting for you under one of the palm trees and enjoy! It’s what most people imagine when you think of a small tropical island…beautiful white beaches lined with palm and coconut trees and the water is the clearest I’ve ever seen! You can stand in the water chest high and still see clearly to the bottom! You don’t need snorkeling gear to see the multitude of fish swimming past you! But bring water shoes because there’s a lot of coral in the water. When you get off the ship, you can either go straight and check out the shops, turn left and go towards Margarittaville and their pool and beach area (expect locals to come by with offers for tours and timeshares), or turn right if you want a little more peace and quiet. There you will find a garden-like area under the palm trees with lounge chairs, a monument to astronaut John Glenn (whose capsule splashed down near there), a masseuse, and a quiet little bar. Just past the pier is a statue of a humpback whale (they migrate through there from January to April). If you walk past the pier and the whale statue about a mile or so to the point, you can often find large conch shells.