Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Aruba - February 1, 2016

We pull into port early and it is a beautiful sail in.  What amazes me is how they navigate between the sand bar and the land.  We dock at 8 am and the pier is on the port side of the ship.

Bernie and I are slow to get moving.  I skipped breakfast (still full from last night) but Bernie got something quick from the Horizon Court.

It isn’t until around 10:30 that we get off.  Our original plan was to go to the beach but after sleeping in so late and neither of us feel like heading to the beach we change course.  That is how we are this whole voyage.  With no real set plans in any port we are doing what we want to do when we want to do it. 

So today we head off and decide to do some exploring.  We walk along the water side of the main road and cross over the little bridge by the Renaissance Hotel.  On the other side is a small open air mall that has cinemas.  We stop at Starbucks and enjoy a coffee outside. 

After filling up the caffeine depletion we walk around the small mall and out to the main boardwalk along the water. 

This is a lovely walk that takes you past the Renaissance Hotel (water side) and their small beach/pool.  Cute but not sure I would pick this place over one out on Palm Beach. 

Just past the hotel and over another little bridge is a cute little beach.  Nothing fancy but hey if you needed to get to a beach quickly and wanted to walk here you could come here.  There is a bar/restaurant and the water was quite calm.  It would be I am guessing about a 20 minute walk from the ship. I have pictures that I will put up when I get home.

We then walk in land a few blocks and the heat is heavy the further you get away from the water.  Lots of quaint stores dot the area mixed with some homes.  A lot of places are closed up, not sure if it is just at this time or if they are permanently closed.

We arrive at a major street called Weststraat but much further up and away from the water.  This whole area has changed and we notice there are rails in the road.  Hmm there must be a street car here now.  Many new looking shops are here and a few restaurants.  It is a lovely street and I am impressed.  It is nice to see that they are focussing some of the shopping areas away from Smith Blvd that has so much traffic.

We walk to the end of Weststraat and see the end of the line for the trolley.  I didn’t look into the cost of it or how often it runs but it is two levels and it takes you from the pier to the end of Weststraat.  Walking this distance would take about 15 minutes.

We stop into Hong King grocery store which is also on Weststraat (been here forever, nothing fancy but it has what we need).  Bernie picks up some salt and vinegar chips for Michael and of course a bag of Doritos for himself.  

Prices are in Florin but they can convert it at the cash register for you.  Bring smaller bills so you can prevent getting back too many Florin. 

Back on board around 3 pm and well what is there to do in the afternoon but have a nap.  Yup Vickie is feeling refreshed after an hour’s nap.

Sail away is 7 and it is a pretty one.  Again how they maneuver this ship thru the maze of sand bars is truly amazing.

We are dressed for dinner and of course no night would be complete without drinks in Vines prior to dinner.  But we are blocked!  On deck 7 there is a huge queue.  It starts at the Princess Theater starboard side and continues all the way to just outside the perfume store.  What are they lining up for?  It is only 7:25!  Again the second show in the theater does get the biggest crowds (again this is more because of the demographics).  The first show has not let out yet and these people are lining up for the second show!  It doesn’t even start until 8:15 (50 minutes from now).  

What is worse is when the first show lets out these people in the line block the entrance as they try to file in and it is difficult for the people to exit the theater.  People are funny.

So we finally snake our way to Vines where we meet up with Angelique and Simon and we are all enjoying a cocktail.

Tyrone is performing his steel pan in the Atrium…  we start playing a drinking game.  Seems Tyrone loves to say “in the house” and “oh Yes” a lot.  So we go for “in the house” and every time he says it between songs we drink.  Gee you would think he would say it only once or twice - NO - he says it four times usually.  Of course we raise our glasses and say “in the house” and drink.  Thankfully his set ended at 8 pm or we would have been drunk.

This trip we are dining in Symphony Dining room (port side) as we are following Jandri the Head Waiter.  She has moved each cruise and we keep following her.  Jandri is the one who did our Wine Maker’s Dinner.

We are dining with our friends and the place is very quiet - mind you it is just after 8 pm.  Again this sailing has an older demographic so they tend to eat earlier and we have no problem at all getting any size table we want from 7:30 onwards.

We still have a few bottles left with the wine card so we order one bottle for the table and two bottles to take with us and keep at Vines.  Remember the wine card does not allow you to order bottles from bars but they are happy to store any bottle you get at the restaurants.

Dinner was good - company was better.  I ended up with the Carbonara pasta and it was very good.  For dessert I had the Crème Caramel which first of all I rarely get dessert in the dining room but I have to say they crème caramel was done perfectly.  The crunchy sugar top was still crunchy.  This isn’t easy to do when making tons of them ahead of time and I again am impressed by the pastry chef on board!

Simon says he still has many more bars to check out and I ask if he has tried the Outrigger Bar (deck 16 Aft).  He hasn’t so we all head there.  As we pass the Horizon Court we see they are doing a Crab Shack tonight but they also have the Brazilian themed menu (which we loved last sailing).

Angelique and I
Outrigger Bar is a hidden gem, many people never even know it is here.  At night it has a whole new vibe.  We take seats on a couch and order drinks.  Outrigger Bar has a unique menu (they still serve all the other drinks too) but they have special Margaritas.  I order a strawberry pepper margaritas, which was good but really it taste just like the strawberry margaritas I had at the Wake View Bar.  Certainly did not taste any pepper.

This is where I took the “where am I on the Royal Princess Picture” of the stools at the bar from an angle of looking up from the floor.  Loved the comment “you are on the floor in a bar from drinking too much”.  Made me laugh!  Here is the picture.

Another great day on the Royal Princess.

Even though we didn’t do a whole lot of the scheduled events there were a lot going on.

Morning Trivia, Bible Study, Basketball Shoot-out, Ping pong, Charades, Taboo Challenge, Lawn Bowls Competition, Movie The Intern in Vista Lounge, Hole in One Competition, The Word Game, Afternoon Trivia, Afternoon Tea, Bean Bag Toss.

Evening activities: Live Music and Dancing with Orphea Quarter in Piazza, Into the Flow, Comedian Troy Thirdgill (6:45, 8:15, and 10:30) 


  1. Enjoying your Royal Blog Vickie! Thanks for doing it. A question about the Silver Wine Package you purchased...Where do you purchase this? I do not see it as an option listed in the On Board Drink packages listed in the Cruise Personalizer page. Am I right in assuming that if you didn't order/use all the bottles in your package that the card would not carry over to another cruise? (like a coffee card?)

    We will be arriving on board on Monday, February 8th! We can't wait!


    1. Hi Judy. I wrote a blog all about ordering wine on board. You can find it on the right of this page. It talks all about the wine card. Yes you can use it on a back to back voyage only