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momof4blessings

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Everything posted by momof4blessings

  1. Wow, I am adventurous but not THAT adventurous! Have fun!! (Did you post on your roll call? More chance of people who will be there on that day seeing it.)
  2. I wish we would have had until 8pm! I would have rented a car, gone to Grote Knip beach for a few hours, head to Playa Grandi after lunch and snorkel with turtles for an hour, then go take the 3:00 boat trip with Capt Goodlife (@ Boca Santa Cruz) to snorkel the Blue Room. Head back to town and walk around the main street/see the bridge. (I just posted a summary of our visit in another thread.)
  3. Family of 6 here, and we ended up renting 2 cars from Advantage. It just seemed simplest, even if it was redundant.
  4. We rented cars in Curacao and a UTV in Aruba. I didn't see any off-roading spots in Curacao...maybe there are some but I think Aruba is definitely more what I think of when you say off-roading!
  5. We just got back from our ABC island cruise. Our family (husband, myself, 4 kids ages 17, 14, 11, 9) set out on our own each day and had different adventures on each island. Our day in Curacao, we were in port from 7a-4p. Since this was our 3rd day in a row in port, we 'slept in' and got off the ship after 8:30am. I had arranged to rent 2 cars from Advance Car Rentals Curacao, a recommendation I got on this forum. Celestino did not disappoint! He was perhaps the most impressive and professional person we dealt with on any of the islands. Really, he deserves all the praise he gets, his customer service is that good. Anyway, we met him as planned, I paid him $150 cash ($75/car), he gave us the cars, preprogrammed GPS's and cell phones (with his number and the other cell number programmed in) and a map, and some helpful advice, and we were off. First we headed north to Boca Santa Cruz, about 40 min drive. We were the only ones there when we arrived around 10:00. We walked over to the restaurant and met Captain Goodlife. There is plenty to read about him online..."salty" is a pretty accurate description. (He is quite a contrast from Celestino!) Anyway, we rented 3 kayaks from him ($35x3=$105) to go out to the Blue Room cave. You need your own snorkeling equipment, which we had. I had originally wanted to go to the Blue Room on Captain Goodlife's 1:00 boat trip, but I was worried that would cut it too close to get back to town and be on board our ship by 4:00. So, we rented the kayaks instead. It wasn't too hard paddling out there (about 20 minutes) but paddling back against the current was quite difficult! I was sharing a kayak with my 14yo son, and when just I paddled, we didn't go anywhere, I was just canceling the wind/current. But together we made progress, although it still took us probably twice as long to get back. My husband, who was paddling with our 9yo said it was way harder than he was expecting. Anyway, just be aware, it's challenging! The Blue Room itself was really cool. It was not plainly obvious to find...there is a little buoy to tie up to but nothing else to tell you "this is it!" There was a boat there when we arrived so we asked the driver and he confirmed it was the Blue Room (he was waiting on some divers in the cave). We tied up (make sure to tie up well...if your kayak floats off you're in deep trouble!) put on our snorkel gear and swam into the cave. It was fairly intimidating. When we were there, there was about a 6" opening that would open and close with the waves. You had to swim underwater for maybe 10 ft (3-4m). Inside it was very cool. We probably spent an hour there, even though there isn't really very much to see. 5 out of the 6 of us liked it (my 11yo daughter freaked out and minorly scraped her leg swimming in and took a while to calm down). But it was a neat experience that in my opinion is worth doing at least once in your life! It is also a decent snorkel spot around the cave with a good number and variety of fish. When we got back to the dock around 12:30, Capt Goodlife wasn't around, so we unloaded ourselves and put the kayaks back and headed out. We drove a short distance to Playa Grandi (Playa Piskado) where the big highlight is turtles. We snorkeled for about an hour and saw a dozen turtles, as well as lots of fish including a big puffer fish. It was a very cool experience that I would say is one of the neatest things I've ever done. Remember to be a good tourist though, and look without disturbing the wildlife!! We left a little after 2:00, heading back and stopping for a few minutes at Grote Knip on the way just to see how beautiful it was. Got gas (paid $10US for each car and got a bunch of Curacao-an change...probably $8 would have been enough) and returned to meet Celestino at 3:30. I think it was our favorite port! Very unique, memorable experiences! If we had more time I would have liked to explore the town and go over the walking bridge. We could see it from the ship as we pulled out. Hope to go back again someday! turtles_HD 720p.mp4 blueroom.mp4
  6. We rented a 6 passenger UTV from Justin's for I think $370 for 8 hours (although we got there a little late so it was actually just 10am-5pm). Our kids are 17, 14, 11, and 9! I just posted on another thread what we did with the UTV. By the time we were done, everyone was pretty wiped so we went back on the ship and ate (we skipped lunch) and showered, then went back off the ship to do some shopping right at the port. I don't really know anything else to do besides the beach. Maybe the bird sanctuary? If you keep the tour, I'd probably pair it with the beach personally. I was worried about afternoon being hot, but I didn't notice it. Afternoon is probably a little more crowded at the natural pool, but I'd probably still do an afternoon tour because it's a long day in port. Personal preference though.
  7. We just did this. Rented thru Justin's because they were the only one that had 6 seaters available. It worked pretty well. We walked to a designated gas station near the port, and had to call to tell them we were there. They sent a car to pick us up and take us to their office at one of the hotels. We picked up the UTV and were given a phone in case of emergency. We used our own phones for GPS (actually, Justin showed me how to use 'offline maps' on google). Our itinerary consisted of going up to Boca Catalina to snorkel a little, then the California lighthouse, Alto Vista chapel, Gold Mill ruins, Natural Bridge, then over to Arikok National Park to go to the Natural Pool where we snorkeled again. Due to taking a little too long at places like the chapel, and a wrong turn on our way to the Natural Pool (I put the pool in the GPS instead of the Park entrance) we didn't have time to go to the Caves before we had to head back. Also, we didn't actually pick up the UTV until 10am and had to have it back by 5pm, so we really only had it 7 hours. It was really easy driving on the roads, although you can't go as fast as traffic so I wouldn't recommend it too much except to get to where you're going. And the offroading to the natural pool was....rough! I was praying we wouldn't blow a tire. (We didn't.) Also, we passed a number of homemade signs in front of people's houses 'yelling' at UTV renters for destroying the environment on their island. ? I'm not really sure why...I don't think we disturbed anything? All the off road driving we did was just rocky roads. It was pretty fun! A little stressful at times (I think I'm not as adventurous as I used to be?) but a good experience!
  8. We just got back from an ABC cruise and snorkeled all 3 places. We had such a great time! I'm going to post what we did each island on the boards for that port. We never did any tours (cost adds up with 4 kids) but brought our own snorkeling gear (I bought each of us a $15-20 full face snorkel masks on amazon, and we had fins...you can sometimes find at thrift stores or borrow from someone. Definitely recommend the full-face masks!).
  9. We just got back from our cruise yesterday. We rented a UTV from Justin's. They were the only ones I could find who had availability for a 6-passenger. It cost a bit more than a Jeep, but the kids thought it was fun! They picked us up from a spot near the port and took us to their location at one of the hotels. From there we got the UTV and were on our way. It was an 8 hr rental, but we pulled out at 10am and had to return it at 5pm. We went up to one of the northern beaches first and snorkeled a bit, then drove down the east coast, visiting the lighthouse, church, and mill ruins on the way to the Natural bridge. After that we headed to the Natural pool, making a wrong turn along the way to add some extra excitement. When we got back on the right path and entered the national park (it was $11 for adults and kids were free, even our 17 yr old!) I was a little surprised that the "official" path was as bad and worse in places than off roading to the bridge and even the wrong path we took. 😳 I started second guessing my planning, and was praying we'd make it! Thankfully we did, but it's not for everyone. If we had managed our time a little better, I would have liked to use another hour to go to the caves. There are quite a few steps down to the natural pool. We saw some older people there (with tours) who had to wait at the top. Then I was surprised how many people were just swimming without snorkel gear. IMO, you're missing half the experience if you're only seeing what's out of the water. The snorkeling is just average, but still pretty cool. We saw a lot of fish and crabs, as well as an eel. The water was also average wrt roughness, so we didn't get any amazing pictures of the waves crashing over the rocks. But when it is rough, it is more dangerous too, so that was fine with me. (It is still very slippery and you need to be careful getting in and out.) Oh, one thing that was different...we passed several homemade signs deriding ATV/UTV renters for 'contributing to the destruction of Aruba's nature'. I'm not really sure why the locals feel that way? We were respectful of the countryside. The only places I saw ATVs/UTVs/Jeeps driving was on the rocky paths, and I don't see how that hurts anything. Certainly not like the idiot we saw in Bonaire walking on the coral reef. 😖🤦‍♀️ Idk! Overall, it was fun and I don't regret it, but if we get the opportunity to go back to Aruba on another cruise, we will probably opt to do some of the beaches and experience the western half of the island as opposed to the wild side!
  10. That's what I was thinking, not sure why they even offer that option (to bring all your bags onboard yourself) but the fact that they do made me question if I was missing something! Good idea on the swimsuits.
  11. Well, I had everything planned and now our port days were switched and we will only be in Curacao until 4pm! I switched our rental cars (decided to get 2 from Advance) but I'm nervous about the timeline for the snorkel tour. If we go out with Capt Goodlife from 1:00-2:30, then there is a 42 minute drive according to google maps from there back to the port...that only leaves us with a 48 minute margin for getting from the snorkel to the car, traffic, getting lost, returning the rental cars (getting gas?), and walking back to the ship! The risk-averse side of me is anxious that something goes wrong and we miss the boat. And since we're "on our own" the boat won't wait. Was Capt Goodlife pretty prompt getting back by 2:30 (or do you think if I told him we can't be late he'd make sure to get us back in time)? And is it pretty straightforward to return the rental car and get back on the ship? Does 'depart at 4' mean you're ok getting on the ship at 3:55 or is it like a flight takes off at 4 and you need to board an hour earlier? I really want to do that snorkel excursion, as the blue room sounds amazing to view! But obviously I don't want to miss our boat!!
  12. It's been 5+ years since we cruised, and our first in 20 years with Royal Caribbean. We have 2 interior connected staterooms on Adventure of the Seas, leaving this Saturday (yay!!). Trying to pack and hoping yall can help me with some questions! 1. I know that the rooms have closets...do they have hangers? I'm going to want to hang a lot of our clothes and wondering if that's something I need to pack or if I can ask for some onboard if there aren't enough. Also any tricks for hanging wet towels/swimsuits? 2. I see that you can check your luggage or carry it onboard yourself. Is there any reason not to check it? Is the tip for delivering it to your room included in the general $14.50/day/person gratuities? 3. RC says you can bring up to 12 cans/bottles non-alcoholic drinks per stateroom as "carry-on items". Does this mean you have to actually carry it on as opposed to putting it in your suitcase? TIA! 😄🚢🎉
  13. Don, did any of your snorkel locations include seeing seaturtles? That is pretty high on our list of things we'd like to see while we're there. I contacted Celestino but unfortunately he only has midsize vehicles available the day we're in Curacao. Trying to decide if we should rent 2 (for our family of 6) or find another option. (Different rental agency, taxi, etc.)
  14. MudShark, that sounds amazing and incredibly economical for a family...I might steal your exact itinerary. 🤔😎 Did you reserve your snorkel excursion in advance or just sign up at the beach?
  15. Did you end up going with Woodwind or take the ferry? We usually prefer snorkeling on our own but only if the quality is as good as where the tour would take you.
  16. Me three... I know we did it 20 years ago when we spent a week in Aruba but obviously would like to know about it from the aspect of a cruise passenger, who's done it recently. My 20 year old 2 cents is that it was a highlight of our week and the way I would like to spend our 1 day on the island!
  17. Would you recommend booking a tour or trying to go it ourselves to snorkel in Bonaire/Curacao? I think in Aruba we're going to rent a jeep and hit some different spots for sightseeing/beaches/snorkeling but I've been there before so I know there's decent snorkeling from shore.
  18. I'm surprised it was cheaper in the first place to book 2 rooms! I think the trouble was being rushed to book instead of having time to shop sales and price compare. We just booked 2 connecting cabins (we have 4 kids) and were able to take advantage of the 'kids under 12 sail free' promotion, so that the room with 4 only cost a few dollars more (due to taxes/fees) than the room with 2. But even without that special, the 3rd/4th passengers are usually cheaper than the 1st/2nd! Also in our case, 2 gty rooms were going to be $3450 total, vs $3550 to be able to choose our rooms. Obviously we paid the extra $100, and were able to select connected rooms, on the deck I chose (8...not too high, not too low), in the proximity to the elevators that I wanted, etc. Anyway, sorry you have to start off your cruise on a sour note, but hopefully you can just be satisfied that you got what you initially wanted (a room for 4 at a decent cost) and be able to put it behind you and enjoy your cruise! But yeah, I would have been irritated if I were you too.
  19. Thanks! Slides are very near the top of my girls' "wish list" so I think I'm leaning toward Adventure of the Seas for this winter. Plus, we'd get an extra day and it's about 15% cheaper. 😊
  20. Sorry to ask a dumb question, but I'm trying to plan a cruise, and I'm confused if the Allure has water slides or not? There are some photos of amazing slides, but I'm not sure if those are currently there or being added next year. TIA!!
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