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HELP PLEASE have you done Sunset Cruise??


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We will be in Aruba from 7:00 am until 11:00 pm in March on our cruise.


We are going to take a bus or cab to Palm beach, spend most of the day there ,and then we were thinking of going on a sunset cruise. Has anyone ever done a sunset cruise? Was it worth it? Who should we book it with?


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two years ago we went to Palm Beach for the Day, and then took the ship's excursion for the sunset cruise. We normally book the excursions on our own, but this was a last minute thing. We had a great time and the sunset is gorgeous. They take you along the shoreline so you can see most of the island from a boat. They serve as much rum punch as you want and the crew was really nice. Still got back in time to hit Carlos n Charlies.

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Thanks so much for your reply, that sounds like exactly what we would like to do-spend the day on the beach then do the sunset cruise. I just wonder if we would be able to book the sunset cruise from a local tour operator that we could find while we are on Palm Beach for the day.


I also always book our own tours instead of ship tours but I would hate to get to Palm Beach and then find out there is not any local tour operators that work out of Palm Beach and offer the sunset cruise. I guess I will book the sunset cruise through the ship like you did. Thanks for the advice.

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We were in Aruba in August (not on ship) but did the DePalm sunset cruise. We had a great time. You can book this at their station right on Palm Beach or probably most anyplace on the island as there seemed to be DePalm tour desks set up almost everywhere. Certainly in almost every hotel lobby. I think a day at the beach and then the sunset cruise would be a great choice.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We were in Aruba last week on our sailing with RCL Adventure of the Seas. We did the MiDushi sundown snorkel and sail. It was great - our group of 8 had a wonderful time. It leaves from DePalm Pier on Palm Beach, they have a full open bar plus serve wonderful snacks. They also have a rope swing that was a blast. The crew was so much fun, everyone loved it. I highly recommend it!


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An excerpt from our recent Adventure of the Seas cruise.....



In any case, back to the ship...... we got up and got ready to head to our long-planned-for excursion - the sunset sail! With this port call, we decided to experiment, and book an excursion on our own. They definitely seem cheaper, so we figured we'd experiment with one; if it worked out pretty well, then we would consider going independently again on future cruises. In this case, the Cruise Critic Boards were very helpful in identifying alternatives to RCI's sunset sail excursion. We opted to go with Pelican Sports. We contacted them via e-mail approximately 2 months before we left for the cruise, and they were very helpful and responsvie via e-mail. The costs for two people booking through Pelican ended up being about $10 - $15 less than going through RCI. A modest savings, but heck - it was savings! Or so we thought........


In this instance, we ended up spending more money for our independent excursion - and I really chalk that up to poor planning on my part! While we saved about $10 or $15 on the sail itself, I failed to account for one thing.....transportation to and from the Holiday Inn, where the Pelican Pier was located! In each case, taxi fare to the hotel from the ship was $12 each direction (I think....or was it $20? In any case, enough to see our booking savings disappear!). Now, the taxi fare is for the vehicle to make a one-direction trip, regardless of the number of people...so, if you are able to round up 8 people to stick in a van, the taxi fare is quite a bargain. But, since we were confused on the sail time of our excursion, we thought we were running late, so paid the fee just for the two of us. On our sail, we were the only two from the cruise ship (the rest were from the nearby beach resorts), so we ended up having to fork out the fee for just the two of us again by ourselves for the return trip to the ship. Since I'm assuming the RCI excursion included transportation to and from the sailboat, we ended up paying more overall than if we booked through the ship. Did that damper our experience at all?? Absolutely not!! The sail was fantastic, and we were VERY glad we did it!!


In any case, we were under the impression that we had to be at the Pelican Pier (on the beach right behind the Holiday Inn resort) by 4:45 in the evening to catch the sailboat. We wanted to get there early "just in case", in addition to wanting to make a quick stop on the way to the pier, and it was about 4:15 already...based on that time frame, we decided not to wait around to see if anyone wanted to share a taxi, and we grabbed one by ourselves.

Well, we make it to the Holiday Inn (the one of recent international fame/notoriety), and depart our cab. Directions to get to the Pelican Pier include actually walking through the hotel lobby area. The hotel lobby itself was gorgeous! We worked our way onto the beach and to the sailing pier check-in area. After checking in, we found that we weren't even going to be boarding until about 5:30 (it was about 4:30 or 4:40 now), and we were very early. Well, there so happened to be a bar and grill-type restaurant right at the end of the Pelican Pier, so we had no choice but to get ourselves a Balashi beer! We got ourselves a beer (in my case, I think it was two), and sat on the edge of the pier, looking out over the water, beach, and soon-setting sun while enjoying our frosty beverage, and taking pictures that we would never see....but, hey, I digress. I liked the beer....it seemed like a "lite"-style American beer, but had pretty good taste...DW is not a big beer drinker, but she liked it also.


Around 5:30, we boarded the sail boat. It was certainly interesting getting onto the boat; we had to walk around the edge of the pier, around tables set up in the bar/grill area...there was about 3 feet between the tables' edges and the edge of the pier, over the water. Our guide insisted we had nothing to worry about, since it was only about 2 or 3 feet of water.....still, I was a bit worried...not so much about drowning, but about trashing everything I was carrying. In the hundred or two times I have fallen in my life after the age of 8, I don't recall too many times where I've landed on my feet (reference earlier post about hot tub land dive incident). I had visions of tripping over my own feet, landing face-first into the water, and completely humilating myself before even having the chance to enjoy a couple of more drinks. Well, we all load onto the sailboat. There were only 13 passengers on board the boat (including us), plus three crew members. This was a very small group, but exactly what we were hoping for. We usually have found that getting together with smaller groups of people we don't know leads to a much more enjoyable time......and we were not disappointed at all!!


Our "captain" of the sailboat gave the usual pre-sail speech, about the use of the on-board bathrooms, how to move around the boat, and general safety precautions. He ended up his discussion by saying "This is not a sailboat/snorkeling excursion, where we will wait until you are out of the water before serving drinks. The bar is now open!". At which point, the boat left the dock, and the one crew member started pouring drinks. The crew only had three different types of liquore on board (rum, vodka, and I think Gin), with a few mixers, but they had enough variety that we all tried a couple of different concoctions.


So we're now on the water, and the captain indicated the winds were pretty strong, so we would have good sailing, and get to see alot (since we would be moving quicker). We first headed towards the cruise-ship pier area, which was about a 30-45 minute sail. We had the option of climbing out on the front of the boat. Unlike other boats, this would actually be a "climb"...there was no walkway to the front (or bow) of the boat, and daring types could climb out of the passenger area, over some rigging, and plop themselves forward. Considering the state of the sea, I trusted my balance and dexterity even less, and opted to stay in the main passenger area, right by the bar. Actually, only one couple was adventurous enough to venture forward, but they only stayed there about 15 minutes or so, as it got too windy for them. All of passengers got along really well (surely due in no small part to the small size of the group....oh, yeah, and maybe a bit because of the free-pouring drinks). We ended up meeting and talking to everyone onboard the boat, including one couple who literally lived around the block from where my Mom now lives in Pennsylvania...and this gentleman, before that, lived not too far from where I grew up in New Jersey. Definitely a small world!! As we were crusing to the cruise ship pier area, we were fortuante enough to see the Princess ship leave port and head to the open seas. Seeing large ships leave like that are always a great experience. In this time, the sun began to set (after all, it was a sunset sail), and some absolutely goregeous views of the sun setting over the water were available. We took several pictures of this from different angles, one including both the sun and the Princess ship. Boy, would I have liked to see what that picture looked like...We eventurally saild to within about 3 or 400 yards from the Adventure, and were able to get some great photo opportunities there, too (would've liked to see those pictures, too...). We were the only two people from any of the cruise ships; the rest were staying on the island. When we got near to the Adventure, everyone was throwing questions to us about it, which we were happy to answer. We turned around right about at the cruise ship area, and headed back to the other end of the island (eventually to the lighthouse). The sun was not completely set yet, providing another fantastic background for some ocean photo shots (no commment.....). At this point, I can't really say what we saw for the next 15 or 20 mintues...the crew brought out a couple of trays loaded with chicken fingers, meat balls, cheese and crackers. All of it tasted really decent, too! It was like putting a carcass in front of a pack of hyenas...everyone suddenly became quiet, and all we saw were crumbs and shreds of food flying up from the table area. That taken care of, everyone refilled their drinks, and kind of mellowed down a bit, sitting along the sides and back of the boat, taking in the views. By the time we got to the lighthouse, the sun was just about completely down, and the lighthouse was all lit up (um, it is a lighthouse, after all...). We had another fantastic photo opportunity of this phenomenal view, and I took a picture....that's when I noticed what was happening, and almost jumped overboard.


We took what we thought was a pretty good suggestion from the Cruise Critic boards, and bought ourselves a cheap digital camera ($20) to take onto excursions with us, where we would run the risk of ruining our good camera with sand and water). This camera is/was a Vivitar camera....I think when I'm done here, I'm going to start writing reviews about this worthless piece of plastic. In any case, the manual for this book said that the camera drains batteries pretty quick, so be sure to download the photos on the camera quickly (there is no media card...all of the pictures are stored in the camera). Online reviews I read about the camera said the very same thing. So, knowing this, we didn't load the batteries into the camera until right before we left the Adventure for the excursion. No problem, right? Right?????? Well, after snapping the photo of the lighthouse, Michelle asked me how many pictures we had left. At the highest resolution, we would only get 20 pictures, and we wanted to save some for our excursion in St. Marteen later on in the week. So, I look at the indicator to see how many pictures we have taken....and the reading said "1". *****?????? What happened??? Did I do something wrong? (Actually, I did...I bought that piece of cr*p). I figured I did something messed up, and was mad about not having the pictures for all of the beautifully set-up scenerey we had earlier. I took another picture of the lighthouse, and then immediately looked at the indicator. Literally, as I was watching the digital indicator, it went from "2" to "0". Just like that!!!!!! I was so mad I acutally started to throw the camera overboard, but DW, always the sensible one, grabbed my arm, mentioned something or other about polluting natural resources, and then poured a couple of drinks into my mouth to serve as a sedative.


OK, seriously, I was a bit perturbed about the whole camera thing, especially when we realized there would have been no danger to our good camera if we had indeed brought it, but we got over it pretty quickly. The scenery, the shoreline all lit up now in the twilight, was to beautfiul to have any negative thoughts in mind! We continued sailing, watching, drinking, and socializing for about another half hour before we docked at the Pelican Pier. We left the boat, and retraced our steps between the tables and dockside. This time, of course, there was the added obstacle of people actually sitting at the tables, but there was one important difference in attitude compared to boarding the boat...if I fell in the water this time, I wouldn't care at all!! Everyone from the boat said our goodbyes and made our separate ways once on shore. In short, I'll reiterate....what a fantastic 2-hour trip!! It was well worth the money we paid, and would consider doing it again if we ever go back to Aruba. We headed back through the Holiday Inn Lobby, and hailed a taxi waiting right out front. We looked at our watches......7:50, no problem making it to dinner!


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We went on the Sunset cruise through RCI last month. It was very relaxing and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We actually boarded the catamaran on the same pier as the ship was docked. It was really neat when we returned in the dark and were able to view the ships all lit up. It was a very pretty sight. Not one that we had experienced before.

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