Aruba’s cruise tourism authority reports that a record number of cruise ships docked there last year. Some 331 ships visited the Dutch island in the southern Caribbean (the previous record was 273, set in 1996). The record-breaking year was particularly good news for Aruba since it had aggressively encouraged cruise lines to include the island in itineraries after being dropped by Carnival’s Fascination, and later, Premier’s Seawind (Premier, of course, went out of business in September).
And officials are optimistic about this year as well, despite losing the island’s only home-porting ship, Crown Cruise Lines’ Crown Dynasty, when parent company Commodore declared bankruptcy in late December and ceased operations. On the plus side, Renaissance has announced plans to include Aruba on some of its Caribbean itineraries when its R7 begins sailings in that region next fall.
Aruba’s plethora of beaches its one of its appeals for cruise lines while the draw for passengers also includes the island’s Las Vegas-esque resort casino atmosphere. Not well publicized is, perhaps, a less wholesome tourist attraction: Aruba is one of the few islands in the Caribbean to boast legal brothels.