We woke up early day four on Carnival Sunshine, but we weren’t going to dock in Aruba until 1 pm. That gave us enough time for a leisurely breakfast and time for me to do my blog for day three of our cruise. As usual, we found a table in the Havana bar area. I’d recommend sitting in that area for breakfast and lunch. It’s a much more relaxing experience.
A word about the food in the buffet area. We were used to the Lido buffet having a number of lines to stand in, and a number of things to choose from. That’s not really the case on the Sunshine. The buffet has four small lines, but not a lot of selections. You can also get Cuban food in the Havana bar area; eggs, and then Mongolian Wok from in the Havana bar area, and made to order Italian food in the Italian area. There is a pizza station and a deli also. It’s all just laid out differently than we’re used to on Carnival ships. The food is all pretty good though.
I ended up with scrambled eggs, hash browns, a slice of french toast, and some raisin bran for breakfast. I particularly liked the french toast. They had grits, and also biscuits and gravy. The gravy looked unlike the sausage gravy that I like, so I passed on that. And then partway through breakfast Mikey announced that the ship was going to dock an hour early in Aruba. Yay! An early start!
Right after breakfast I decided to get my blog done for the day before, so I’d have plenty of time to enjoy Aruba. It takes me about an hour and a half to do my blog because of the slow internet speed. And practically right after my blog was done and I got back to our cabin, it was time to go to lunch. We decided to eat an early lunch on the ship before we went left for Aruba.
And then lunch…
Once again we found a table in the Havana Bar area. This time we managed to get a window seat. I decided to go with the Mongolian Wok. At home when I have it, I always get Teriaki sauce on my meal, but they had no Teriaki sauce. Instead they had different degrees of heat. I think that what I got was way hotter than I anticipated. All I could taste was the spice, and it didn’t have a lot of other flavor to it. I ended up not finishing it and getting some food at the buffet instead. That’s the beauty of eating on a cruise. I don’t like wasting food, but if I can’t eat it, at least I can get something else. Lunch for me wasn’t really all that good, but I had enough to eat to get me through Aruba.
Our first time in Aruba!
As you exit the ship in Aruba you’ll go through a terminal with lots of shops, and also restrooms. They’ll be open as you come back to the ship if you want to do some last minute shopping.
We had watched a lot of YouTube videos before we went on this cruise, so I was expecting more from Aruba than we got. The visit did have some cool moments though. We started out turning to the right and walking down along the ocean front and ended up at a small park area by the Renaissance Hotel. Walking up the driveway, we saw a whole group of lizards sunning themselves. Beautiful! And pelicans taking flight right behind that area.
After that we walked into the Renaissance Mall. Mostly high end stores, but the waiting area for the Flamingo Island boat is there. Also, there are public restrooms in the mall. And it was very hot! No really humid though. We were sure to take some Gatorade with us so we didn’t dehydrate. One time when we were in St. Martin he did get dehydrated. We’re really careful about that now.
Shopped till we dropped
I did some shopping for family. I have a 21 month old granddaughter that I wanted to spoil a bit…Okay…a lot! So, I shopped for her. He got a shirt for himself, but I was having a hard time finding one that I liked. There are a lot of stores and markets in Aruba that have just about anything that you could want that says “Aruba” on it. A lot of them have prices in Aruban florins, but most have the cost in US dollars. They do take US dollars. We went into a small grocery store, and also a small drugstore because he lost his comb and we needed to replace it.
We didn’t schedule an excursion for Aruba because we thought there’d be enough of Oranjestad to explore. In retrospect, I wish that we had scheduled an excursion. It was hot, and although there were a lot of stores, they mostly sold the same things. There are also a number of Markets in the area to shop. We also found a seat on the free trolley that runs from one side of town to the other. It really doesn’t go far, and ends at the markets. One of the markets didn’t post prices on it’s wares. I didn’t shop there because I absolutely hate asking prices. Not my thing.
We had considered taking the Arubus to the California Lighthouse, but it seemed pretty confusing. We couldn’t figure out how to get the daypass. Wish we had managed that.
I did finally manage to find a T-shirt that I liked that said Aruba on it. We then walked down to the I Heart Aruba sign. A very nice lady volunteered to take our picture together on it. And then we walked back to the ship to get some dinner. I must have put on 7,000 steps.
We were so hot that we decided not to go to the main dining room, but to the Marketplace buffet again. We didn’t want to wait till they opened the buffet, so we ended up at the deli. The line was pretty long, and I don’t know how they keep the orders organized. He had a Reuben. I ordered a Meatball sandwich, but I don’t think they remembered mine. But I finally got it, and we got a seat by the window. I wish that we could have gone to the main dining room, the food is better. But we didn’t want to get changed for dinner because we wanted to go back out and get pictures of the town and ship after dark. The ship wasn’t leaving until 10:30 pm. After dinner we went up a deck to get a picture of the sunset. It was beautiful!
Back to Aruba at night
As we left the ship again we kind of regretted it. It seemed that everyone else was coming back onto the ship. But the ship was beautiful all lit up in the dark. We ventured into town a bit. It was still busy, but a lot of stores were closed already. And I almost managed to lose everything. Things were falling out of my backpack because I forgot to zip it shut. Thankfully I heard something fall and looked down just before I lost my wallet. Then we got in the long line to get back on the ship. Hint…there is another door in the terminal to the left that leads to another line on the ship.
I think that we were both a bit disappointed in Aruba. It wasn’t really what we were expecting. We expected it to be more than it was. There were some really pretty examples of dutch architecture, but not as much as we thought. It was basically your normal Caribbean island, with the normal shops. The buildings that they do have are pretty though. I think that we’ll have to actually take an excursion to see the other areas of the island next time. I want to see the desert, and the lighthouse area. And maybe some of the beaches. We did feel safe all the time we were in Aruba.
The entertainment for the night was a magician named Jackson Rayne. I really liked him, he seemed to be a very nice guy, and he was funny too. He used a lot of volunteers from the audience, and got everyone involved. He was a close up artist and also an escape artist. It wasn’t the big fancy magic stuff you see in Vegas, but we still enjoyed it. Mikey introduced the act, as usual. You’ve got to sail with Mikey! You’ll love him. He’s one of my favorite Cruise Directors.
After the show we decided to run to the Lido deck to get some ice cream to cool down. And after an afternoon in the sun, we were worn out. We got back to our cabin and found some more goodies from the head chef, White and dark chocolates! Yum! Then we watched some TV, and then went to bed. I don’t even remember hearing the ship set sale at 11:00 pm. It was a full day…and tomorrow is Curacao!