This was our first cruise since February 2020 -- we had five cruises cancelled over the (to date, still ongoing) pandemic. (As a point of reference: we've done 27 cruises prior to this on Royal, Carnival, Celebrity, and HAL.) About ten days prior to sailing, an appellate court struck down the mask mandate for public transportation (this will be relevant later). Due to dropped balls on our travel agent's side, we ended up on this cruise (not the one we had booked out of Baltimore), but were determined to make it work (Aruba and Bonaire being a lovely bonus).
We were able to secure appropriate negative testing and drove from our home in Virginia to the port. We made great time until we turned onto 528 -- which quickly turned into a parking lot thanks to a motorcycle accident about halfway to the port. As a result, we were 10 minutes late for our embarkation appointment, and were directed to a very long and very crowded line outside. I noticed a person in front of us had an embarkation appointment that had not yet passed; in theory, if you were on time and had all your embarkation documents in order, you should have been directed to a much faster and shorter process, but it appeared that only those with mobility issues, children, or upper members of the VIFP program were fast-tracked.
Not only were the vast majority of those in line -- both inside and outside the terminal -- not masked, but there was non-existent social distancing. As it took us the better part of an hour or more to finally reach the ship, it was quite jarring (as was the person with the bullhorn outside exhorting us to get closer to the folks in front of us to get more people under the shade!). My husband and I were wearing masks, and continued to do so when moving through common areas inside throughout the cruise. Staff were wearing masks, and we felt badly that so few people chose to show they cared for the staff's welfare by masking up. (I should also note that other than bullhorn-person, service was uniformly upbeat and prompt: we could not have asked for better!)
Aruba is always so much fun! Definitely check out the Donkey Sanctuary!
A favorite for the Craft fair and gorgeous snorkel-worthy water within steps of the port.
We're not fans of ports where the dock is, in effect, the big draw, so it's a good spa day!