Ports of Call‎ > ‎

Oranjestad, Aruba

November 4th, 2014
8:00AM - 5:00PM

Aruba is a 20-mile-long island located in the southern Caribbean, and is one of the four constituent countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along with the Netherlands, Curaçao and Sint Maarten. It is located about 17 miles off the coast of Venezuela's Paraguaná Peninsula. Oranjestad, the capital and largest city, is located on the western end of the southern coast of the island.


Unlike much of the Caribbean region, Aruba has a dry climate and an arid, cactus-strewn landscape. The weather is reliably warm and sunny. High temperatures in November will be close to 90°F with lows close to 80°F. November is the rainiest month of the year, but the island usually sees less than 4 inches of rain over the entire month.

Language and Currency
The official languages in Aruba are Dutch (since Aruba is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands) and Papiamento (a creole language spoken on Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao). Papiamento is the mostly widely spoken of the two. English is spoken my many people in the more touristy areas.

The official currency is the Aruban florin, which is pegged to the US dollar at 1.79 florins to 1 USD. However, most businesses in tourist areas take US dollars.

Getting Around

Cruise ships dock at Port of Playa on Werfstraat (Wharf Street). The cruise terminals contain shops and restaurants, and there are several shopping areas adjacent to the port, including the Port-of-call Center, Royal Plaza Shopping Center, Renaissance Mall, and Renaissance Marketplace.

Taxi rates are fixed by the Government of Aruba, although cab drivers are notorious for trying to overcharge tourists. Drivers are required to carry a fare sheet, so make sure to ask to see it and agree on a rate before getting in the cab (the port area will be listed as Oranjestad or O'stad). If they won't show you the sheet, get another cab or threaten to report their cab number to the Aruba Tourism Authority. You can download a copy of the sheet here.

Fares are listed in US $ per ride, not per person. Taxis by law may take a maximum of 5 persons and there is an additional charge of $3 each way to be picked up or dropped off inside the port, but you can walk through the visitor's center out to the main street to avoid that charge (plus you avoid much of the traffic).

Public buses

The island’s Main Bus Terminal is located across the street from the Cruise terminal. You can view the bus schedule here. Bus fares are US $2.30 each way. If you don't have exact change you will be given change in florins.

The buses can be unreliable, so make sure you have a back-up plan to get back to the ship.

Orangestad has a fairly new streetcar system that serves the port and downtown. The system features 4 fuel-cell-powered electric trams, two trolley-style ones and two double-decker ones. The tracks run from the port past the museum and down Caya Betico Croes, ending at Plaza Nicky Habibe. The fare is $1/person. There has been a large revitalization effort along the route, including the construction of a number of new plazas featuring shops, restaurants, and fountains, although businesses have been slow to move in so far. You can view a map of the route here.

Car Rental

Rental cars area available near the port, and most rental agencies offer pick-up service. You can view a list at http://www.visitaruba.com/getting-around/aruba-car-rentals/. A valid driver's license held for two full years or an international driving permit (available from AAA) is required. Cars drive on the right, and no right-turns are permitted on red lights.

Things to Do

  • Coming soon...


  • Sonny Binn - Organized by mom4mom (post to the Cruise Critic thread to sign up)  FULL
    • Visits Lighthouse, Alto Vista Chapen, Natural Bridge, and rock formations. There will be other photo ops along the way, including the beautiful coastline. Tour is 3 hours long and the cost is US$30 per person. Dropoff at a local beach is available (take a cab back to the ship).
    • Latest update from mom4mom:
      • I have sent an email to all those who have registered with me for the Sonny Binns tour with the exception of Bill & Bette and Safety Tiger, Michael & Betsy, since I do not have your emails. I have recently confirmed all the information for this tour with Sonny and want to make sure everyone who is going is familiar with the procedure for the day. Here's the info and if you have any questions don't hesitate to email me at doulamom4mom at yahoo dot com or contact me on the ship in cabin 4537.

        " My group has 36 registered and Sonny has an additional group of 10 from our ship. We will be split into 2 buses and will stick together to tour the island. He will be dropping off any passengers who would like to visit Eagle Beach at the end of the tour. The cost is $30 per person and he will accept US dollars at the end of the tour.

        We will meet onboard at 9:10am and walk off together around 9:20. From what I understand the ship may still be on Eastern Daylight Savings time and is due to dock at 8am. We will be meeting Sonny inside the cruise ship terminal at 9:30 am with a sign that says "SONNY TOURS".

        Sonny's cell is( 297) 5926535. My husband will have his cell in case of emergencies 281-415-8153."

        I hope to meet some of you before this tour either at the Sailaway party in the Schooner Bar at 3pm on 10/26 or at the Meet and Mingle which has not been confirmed as of yet.

        If you decide not to take this tour please let me know ASAP. Otherwise I will expect to see you at the R Bar in the Centrum on deck 4 near the Shore Excursions/Guest Services desk on 11/4 at 9:10am. We will promptly leave the ship at 9:20 to meet Sonny in the cruise ship terminal at 9:30. You can decide that day whether you want to be dropped off at Eagle Beach from which you will find your own way back to the ship.
    • List of participants (max 50):
      • 2 – Joan & Al (mom4mom)
      • 2 – Bill & Bette (Bill and Bette)
      • 2 – Beth & John (Cruisen Elf)
      • 2 – Charlotte & Jeff (Hotbluestang)
      • 2 – Sonia & Phillip (Newportqld)
      • 2 – Randy & Margit (grey2dogs)
      • 2 – Jim & Kathleen (jkwpete)
      • 2 – Darrell & Donna (DHADEN)
      • 2 – Roger & Leeah (Blondie from Arizona)
      • 2 – Julie & Steve (Sj25)
      • 2 – Michael & Betsy (Safety Tiger)
      • 2 – Kathie & Jerry
      • 1 – Laura (LakerVA)
      • 1 – Robert (Reese718)
      • 2 – Bruce & Judy (littleredy)
      • 2 – Tuyet & Tang (barecove)
      • 2 - Shelia & Joe (siaia2)
      •  2 - Debbie & Ronnie Doyon /Cabin 9610
         2 - Angelica & Steve / Cabin 9566
      • 10 - Sonny booked passengers from our ship privately

Eat and Drink

  • Coming soon...