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Aruba, Curaçao and the DR

NETHERLANDS ANTILLES | Sunday, 12 September 2021 | Views [45]

Willemstad from Fort Amsterdam

Willemstad from Fort Amsterdam

MY FIRST CRUISE WAS TEN YEARS AGO—the Atlantic crossing that started these journals. I had no idea what to expect and Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas became the standard comparison for other cruise lines. This is the first time we have sailed from Miami and our first cruise on Carnival—and we’re still operating under Covid conditions—so it might not be fair to compare the Horizon to the dozen cruises we have taken since. 

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                Sailing from Miami

Many of our fellow travelers seem to be celebrating their release from Covid restrictions—this is Florida after all. And it wasn’t the ports-of-call—Aruba, Curacao and the Dominican Republic—but cruising, not the destination, that brought them aboard. It was more of a karaoke-singing, bingo-playing, salsa-dancing, black-jacking, cocktail-lounging bunch than on past cruises. 

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       Lumumba keeping "Mr. John" on course

Horizon is a modern ship and has been in service for only a few years. Everything is high-tech from the elevators without floor buttons to the CR-code itineraries and I am not the only one aboard who was in over my head, tech-wise. Lumumba, our room attendant, more than once had to point me in the right direction.

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  Port Oranjestad, Aruba

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                        Probably a Casino Inside

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                                           They're at the Casino

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                     Chairs, Retired Surfers' Bar

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  A "Gullible" Pelican

In all honesty, we weren’t much interested in the destinations either. Yes, Aruba, the Netherlands Antilles and Dominican Republic were new “countries” for John (Connie had been to the DR on military missions) but mostly we were whiling away a week before leaving for Europe. I remember a co-worker back in the 80s recounting a gambling “junket” to Aruba. Blackjack was Slacky’s game and to hear him tell it, Aruba was just one big casino. From what we saw gambling and snorkeling are still the main attractions. Upon closer examination, even the colorful buildings of Port Oranjestad harbor casinos inside.

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     Pastels of Curaçao    

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                            Bells of Willemstad                           

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                                              Welcome to Curaçao

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                                 Colorful Curaçao

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      Old Willemstad

Curaçao, a late substitution for Bonaire, was the pearl of the cruise as you can tell by the number of photos. The faded pastels of Willemstad reminded me of Cartagena, Columbia, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Crossing the floating bridge from Fort Rif is like traveling from dreary Kansas to Technicolor Oz. There is art and color everywhere you look. And like I remembered Cartagena, it was god-awful hot!

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      Willemstad Street Art

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                              Willemstad Street Art

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                                                Willemstad Street Art

As far as the Dominican Republic goes, we could have given it a miss. The port at La Romana is a terrible introduction to the country although my brother raved about the nearby resorts. Our other stop in the DR was Amber Cove, a purpose made port by Carnival for its ships. It is just a land-based extension of what’s on-board—and just as expensive.

 

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