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PostPosted: Tue May 21, 2019 3:07 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2003 10:16 am
Posts: 15011
Location: Georgia
Background - We took our boys (ages 18/19) last year to Aruba for what we thought would be 'one and done'.... finally taking them after many trips with just hubby and me. This year, we're celebrating our 25th anniversary and thought we'd go somewhere exotic by ourselves (Fiji type). I decided that we didn't have that many years left w/ the boys before jobs and wives take over, so we should vacation with them again. Hubby agreed, but 2 rooms meant 1/2 the number of nights to keep the budget/hotel points in line.

I found great deal on American Airlines from ATL - roundtrip for only 25K miles each. Luckily, hubby still qualifies to get us the extra leg room for free. I booked flights to arrive as early as possible and leave as late as possible.

Saturday: We departed Atl prior to 7am, connected through Miami and landed in Aruba around 12:40pm. Got luggage and duty free liquor and headed out to taxis. Check in at hotel was smooth. We were given 2 rooms side by side overlooking pool/sea in Sea Tower. We changed and went right to the water for the rest of the afternoon. We cleaned up a bit and went to see our favorite bartender, Andrew at Atardi (Marriott beachfront) and just got by on appetizers that night with a trip to the casino at Marriott.

Sunday: Hubby and I walked to Starbucks for his morning coffee and set up shop at our assigned Palapa. Yes, Holiday Inn has moved their palapas back behind the property lines so they can continue reserving for their guests. Spire Elite (maybe Platinum too) get a reserved spot for the entire visit. Ours wasn't great (Moombas side very close to Sea Tower), but we were able to move to a better vacant one at 10:30 when others didn't show up. We had lunch at the Seabreeze bar (just ok), more time at beach, and then got ready for Jolly Pirates Sunset Sail.
We all had a great time.. not crowded at all. Boys both mastered flips off of the rope swing.
Dinner was at Sweet Peppers - just ok, probably wouldn't return.

Monday:
More beach and pool time after Starbucks walk.
Club Nuhois (sp?) for lunch. Great service and good grouper wrap.. I think it was $12.50.
We met some members of this board at Carlitos Beach Bar at Playa Linda for a great time catching up w/ old friends. Thanks for coming to us!
Dinner tonight for just hubby and I was at Atardi at Marriott. Our favorite spot with favorite servers. The boys ate at the Italian Buffet at the Holiday Inn.
Portions at Atardi have definitely gotten smaller. I don't think it's worth it, but hubby loves the atmosphere. Dinner with 1 dessert and coffee (I can't remember if we had an appetizer.... probably 2 drinks) was around $150.
Boys met us after dinner and we went to Ritz casino.

Tuesday:
Able to move to Palapa 305. It think 304 is probably best... this row of 4-5 huts is between beach and Sea Tower pool, but we were right behind water sports tent. It was okay... good location.. just not great view. Pelican's Nest for lunch. Beach and pool all afternoon. Boys hit Taco Tuesday at Holiday Inn, and then we went walking streetside. Mike was hungry and settled on Dragon Fly. He enjoyed it. I wasn't hungry and shouldn't have even ordered. The highlight was the foot massage after dinner! Thai... small store set up near S&P, Tango, etc. It was heavenly. Hyatt Casino and a little shopping.

Wednesday:
After hubby overheard customers talking to water sports guy on Tuesday, he inquired about fishing trip. They worked a deal to share with the other couple, so it only cost us $150 for hubby and one son to go on our last morning. They had a blast... caught more fish on that trip than many trips combined. Other son and I went to Diana's pancakes for breakfast (good), a tiny bit more shopping, and did some laundry, as hubby had to leave next morning on another trip. Caught/cleaned fish were delivered to Club Nuhous (sp), and we went there for lunch. They guys loved eating their fresh catch. Back to the hotel, final packing and on to the airport for 5pm flight. No one in line at all at AA. No lines til we hit US customs w/ only 2 workers. Finally added a couple more, so the line started moving. I can't remember timing now, but it wasn't bad... roughly 45 minutes from curb to gate. The flight to CLT was extremely empty.

Short trip, but still great. Aruba used to always be about the restaurants to us (and beach/pool/casino), but it's just not as important to us when we travel w/ the boys. We're already talking about taking them again next spring..... we'll see.

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Donna

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