We spent New Years Eve 2015 in the beautiful surroundings of Oranjestad, Aruba. Since we did not have a scheduled tour during the day we departed the ship at the pier and headed across the street to the Oranjested Bus Terminal. We purchased a bus ticket for transfer to Palm Beach got off at the Paseo Herencia Arubus Stop. This put us directly in front of the Playa Linda Beach Resort which is where I would stay if visiting Aruba on my own. Since we didn’t plan for the 100 degree weather or wear proper attire from the ship we visited the Beach Resort gift shop (which is quite large) and purchased a few items like sunscreen, flip flops etc… One might note that behind the beach resort and a little left is the Paseo Herencia Mall which may have held better deals and more choices had we not been pressed for time. Instead we relaxed at the resort for a short while then began our journey walking along the beach back to the pier. This was such a nice and relaxing walk and unlike being in the Caribbean ports of Jamaica and the Bahamas no one was bothering us at all! We made it almost all the way back and ran into the Aruba Ports Authority (or a cruise ship container industry) blocking the remainder of our path. We now had to navigate to Lloyd G. Smith Blvd and walk along the street for a short bit. This actually turned out to be quite an event as it was New Year’s Eve. In Aruba they have a tradition that as each business closes at the end of the year they will lay out a fan of firecrackers (consisting of upwards to 50,000 or more) and light the fuse. This is to cast away all the bad of the previous year and usher in the good of the New Year. During our walk the firecrackers, smoke, paper etc… was filling the air. There were large crowds all around witnessing the events.
After returning to the ship to shower and change we were off on the Aruba Sunset Cruise. This involved boarding a small catamaran just several hundred yards from the Amsterdam’s berth.
Once on-board we sailed up the South Coast of the island to somewhere past the start of the West Coast. There was food (oeuvres) and drinks provided. The Catamaran was quite bouncy and uncomfortable but the sunset on the sea was gorgeous. Soon it became dark and quite chilly on the water. Everyone was anxious to get back to the ship for the scheduled New Year’s celebration.
If your ship remains in port until midnight as did ours, make sure to head to the crow’s nest to watch the island of Aruba light up from one end to the other. It is a magnificent sight!