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Home > Member Reviews > Quasar1011's Port Reviews of , Bonaire, Curacao, Aruba

Quasar1011's Port Reviews of , Bonaire, Curacao, Aruba
Grandeur of the Seas cruise in March 2012
Member Name: Quasar1011
Cruise Date: March 2012
Embarkation: other
Destination: Southern Caribbean
Member Review: Quasar1011's Grandeur of the Seas Review
Port Rating: Not Rated
On Wednesday, we docked at Bonaire. We quickly found the Woodwind tour guide, but waited for others in our party. We walked down to the pier, and boarded the Woodwind, which appeared to be a catamaran. Dee (Deirdre) was our main guide, and narrated the trip as we headed out to the channel between Bonaire and Klein Bonaire. There were 2 other guides, plus a photographer. We put on snorkels and fins, and got into the water. We split into 3 groups based on experience. It was my first time snorkeling, so they gave me a flotation device to wrap around my waist, and another to hold onto.

I can swim fine, I just can't see what I'm doing underwater because I wear contact lenses. My mask fit perfectly, and I had no problems seeing. My wife had some problems with seawater leaking into her mask. After 20 minutes, she got out of the water, and stayed on the Woodwind the rest of the time. I stayed in the water for the whole hour. I have 2 regrets about this excursion: I took my short off (and got a mild sunburn on my back), and I didn't bring a camera.

We bought the photo CD of the excursion for $25 from the boat's underwater photographer. She captured 4 nice shots of us underwater (except that I looked like a hairy whale) and a couple more of us on the catamaran. I didn't really need a camera because of that, but it would have been nice to take a video off Klein Bonaire.

Bonaire has very little shopping, but my wife found a shop that sold dresses, so she picked up a couple there. I collect pins to put on my baseball caps, and they sold the combo flag pin set for all 3 of the ABC Islands (Aruba-Bonaire-Curacao) so I nabbed that.

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Port Rating: Not Rated
On Thursday, we docked at Curacao, at the Megapier in the Otrabanda (other side) section, west of the river. I had left the last 2 islands open without booking any excursions, as I knew my wife wanted to relax on her vacation. We walked into Otrabanda, and quickly found ourselves at the Rif Fort. We did a bit of shopping there, though we avoided Memory Lane, the shop with the bad reviews on Cruise Critic. We made our way further into Otrabanda, and found a street chock full of shops on both sides. We made our way back to the river, where there were good photo opportunities with nice backgrounds.

By the time we walked across the Queen Emma pontoon bridge, we both had bags full of items.

In the main section of Willemstad, we did more shopping. It was convenient, just on the other side of the bridge, and in a pedestrian area. We made our way north and found the floating market, and post office. We had a light lunch at a little cafe nearby. I had the kebab, and she had a falafel wrap. By now, we knew to save room for dinner!

We headed south and found Fort Amsterdam. Outside the fort was a casino located in a hotel, so we stopped there. My wife could not repeat her winnings from earlier in the week, so we made our way back to the riverside. I shot a short video of her telling about her day. The pontoon bridge had opened for a large container ship to pass inland, and was not available. We walked a couple of blocks north along the riverside, and found the free ferry. It was crowded, what with the pontoon bridge being open (out/unavailable).

Back in Otrabanda, we headed for the Rif Fort, but not before the wife spotted another casino. Once we exited the Rif Fort, loud music was playing. It was the Black Eyed Peas song, I Gotta Feeling. My wife started dancing, and I filmed a video of her.

I believe we bought more in Curacao than anywhere else. I bought both a t-shirt and polo shirt there, and have worn both already. Willemstad rivaled Cartagena as the most colorful, picturesque place we visited all week.

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Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
On Friday, we docked in Aruba. We wanted at least 1 relaxing beach day, and it was today. Off the ship, we crossed the main street, and quickly found the bus station. We paid our $1.30 and headed up to Eagle Beach. We didn't need to rent any chairs or umbrellas, for the beach had several thatched semi-huts to sit under. I spent a lot of time in the shade, being a white honky cracker who didn't want to burn. My wife, a fairly dark Filipina-Mexican mix, spent most of her time in the sun. I went into the 82°F water, mostly to take photos and videos.

It was very relaxing. My wife proclaimed this was the best vacation she'd ever had; the best birthday she'd ever had; and the best beach she'd ever been on (and she's been to Hawaii). She says she never burns; but, I'd been telling her all week, she was in the tropics not far from the equator, and then even she could burn. Sure enough, her shoulders turned a bit red. She peeled just a bit there, and also on her nose. By some miracle, plus my hat from Colombia, I didn't burn in Aruba at all.

We decided not to go back to the ship to change out of our swimming gear. We took the bus back into town (the bus marked "hotel area"). We found a strip of shops along the main road, and hit those. Across the street was the big round pink building we had seen from the ship. It was the Royal Plaza, converted into shops and cafes. My wife bought more clothing from 2 different shops; and even went back into the first to get a pair of sandals. I suggested we have lunch at the Iguana Cafe, but she wanted to skip lunch again and save room for the ship's dinner.

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