Saturday, June 5, 2010

Port Everglades & Aruba

There was one big advantage to staying at the Best Western Oceanside. It was extremely close to Port Everglades where we boarded the ship. Neither one of us prefers to take taxis, but we decided we could handle potentially dangerous driving for one mile. As it turned out, we got one of the sweetest guys in the world and he got a large tip.
We are use to the cruise lines taking your picture when you board the ship, but this time the backdrop to the picture was awful. Usually, they have an elaborate setup for the pictures, but there were only two fern plants, nothing else. No sign, no pictures of the ship, nothing, and even more surprising was that the people behind us in line were in the picture. I was really curious how it would turn out. As you can see, digital photography does have its advantages.
This is a picture of the Intercoastal Waterway. Did you know that you can travel by boat all the way from Florida to New York in this waterway, without going out into the ocean?
Aruba was our first port of call. We arrived at 7:00 AM and had to be back on board at noon. This did not give us time to take a shore excursion and shop. We had attended the shopping talk the day before, where Tiffany told us that if we planned on doing any shopping during the cruise to shop in Aruba. We canceled our shore excursion and went shopping instead.
The harbor was very pretty and the clear, clean water was beautiful.
Anyone from the Sea Princess taking a helicopter tour in Aruba did not have to go very far. We took this picture from our balcony on the ship.

I would love to return to Aruba and see more of the island. The island is approximately 74 square miles and 30,000 people live in the capitol of Oranjestad. Aruba gained its independence from the Netherlands Antilles in 1986. The language, Papiamento, is a unique combination of Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, English, African and Indian words. It is spoken only on the Dutch "ABC" Islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao.
Aruba is one of the most prosperous islands in the Caribbean thanks to the Lago refinery located at the southeastern tip of the island. Surprisingly the interior of the island is arid and dotted with cactus and divi-divi trees, in sharp contrast to the coves and sandy beaches of the coast.