extended family gathering in Aruba

Old Aug 30th, 2005, 04:25 PM
  #1  
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extended family gathering in Aruba

Hello,
Every year there is a group of us 10 adults and 11 children ages 6-11 go away in the summer. We are looking to go early July and want to go to Aruba. I really want an all inclusive to keep the cost under control. We wanted kids activities as well. I was looking into the DIvi or Tam because it seems it's right on the beach and we like to sit outside as a group and "hangout" at night. While the kids could be close by. BUT I also read things about the water being rough in that Eagle beach area. Could the kids go swimming in it? How rough are we talking?
I also like the activities at the Radisson, would this be better for keeping that many kids occupied. Things just seem so far away from each other. But most in our group are into really nice hotels. Someone mentioned they would love a swim up "pool bar". I've never been to a place with one are there all inclusives with swim up "pool bars".
Thanks for any information.
cal10 is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2005, 04:45 PM
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The Renaissance in Oranjestad has a swimup bar in their pool.The resort itself..is in a nice shopping mall.It is not on the beach BUT has a nice cove beach,2 pools,and a PRIVATE ISLAND for guests..on the island it has a restaurant,kids activities,flamingos on the beaches,beach service for food or drinks by a waitstaff.

We are not big fans of Aruba..but I can say that the Renaissance was the best thing about our trip.The staff is absolutely wonderful!It is in a good location for shopping,sites,butterfly farm,bus station,restaurants,casinos,movies,you name it!

Just check it out..with that many people..if you would like to stay there,I would stay in the Beach towers..it has suites that have the full kitchens. Good luck!!
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Old Aug 30th, 2005, 04:47 PM
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Also the Private Island is only a 5 to 10 minute boat ride that is provided for free.The boat comes into the lobby of the Marina towers to pick you up..it was pretty cool!For the beach towers..you wait on a dock for the boat..which runs about every 20 minutes.
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Old Aug 30th, 2005, 04:49 PM
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Aruba main entertainment is gambling and almost every hotel has a casino. Children as you probably know already are not allowed into the casinos so they might be bored. The all inclusives in Aruba are not as good as others in the Caribbean or Mexico as most are older hotels converted into all inclusives and they do not include as much as other in the way of activities, entertainment, sports equipment, etc. Some even add on surcharges to things that are normally included in a true all inclusive, so read the fine print carefully. Swim-up pool bars are rare in Aruba and I don't believe the Divi or the Tam have one, but don't quote me on that. Food and drinks especially is very expensive in Aruba if you don't go all inclusive. Even soda is very expensive in Aruba.

Aruba is a tiny (19.6 x 6 miles) windy, basically flat and desert like island with very little vegetation. It is very Americanized and almost everything has to be imported. We were disappointed in the water clarity on Palm Beach (Radisson) area and we could not see our toes even near the shoreline and the sand had lots of litter (cigarett butts) in it. Eagle Beach was better with water clarity but still not as clear as other Caribbean islands we have visited so far. The sun is very strong in Aruba because Aruba is very close to the Equator, so be very careful and take along lots of strong sunscreen and apply it often. Also make sure everyone has a sun hat that fits snug or ties on because of the constant wind in Aruba and a regular hat could go flying.

We have travelled our fair share in the Caribbean and Mexico I can personally recommend the Barcelo Maya in the Mayan Riviera area south of Cancun resort for a group of your size with children as we have had 3 family reunions (ages 7 - 70s) there and everyone loves it. This resort is on one of the best beaches in the area and has on site snorkeling. There are two huge, beautiful pools both with swim-up bars and there is mini golf, tennis, kayaking, katamarran, windsurfing, water bikes and so much more included. There is a kids club and lots of water/land activities for everyone. There is one of the best discos in the area at this resort as well as a great theatre that is also included in this all inclusive. Check out this website below if you want to see more pictures (check out sticky at top of discussion forum for links to personal vacation photos) and find out tons of information on this resort or on this area of Mexico. There is a water purification plant at the resort and they even provide bottled water for you to drink if you want. Best of all there is no fighting for lounge chairs or shade at this resort as there are lots of both around the pool and on the beach.

http://www.unofficial-barcelo-maya.com/

This area of Mexico has many new wonderful all inclusive resorts, so if the Barcelo Maya is not to your liking maybe some other one would be. I suggest you not choose Cancun because it is very Americanized or commercialized now and party central.

Have a great vacation and I hope I have been of some help.
ONZGO is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2005, 05:25 PM
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Aruba is a great place for you and your group to go and enjoy and there is much for families to do. We've spent four great vacations there and Aruba remains my daughter's favorite destination. Rent a jeep and tour the island on your own, at night go bowling, see a movie, mini-golf, arcade, and during the day enjoy the beautiful beaches by either laying out, swimming, water sports. We've never stayed all-inclusive there but if I had to pick a resort I would say the Allegro. It is currently closed for total renovation and should be beautiful when they are completed. It is located on Palm Beach but having stayed on both Eagle and Palm Beaches, I prefer Palm because it is busy - lots of water sports available and since I'm a people watcher while I'm being a beach bum, I'm in heaven. If you decide against all-inclusive I would recommend looking in to one of the great all-suite resorts Aruba has to offer. We recently stayed at the Renaissance Ocean Suites and had a great vacation but my favorite hotel is the Marriott Ocean Club. 1-2 bedroom units with full kitchens which help defray the cost of eating out. There is just so much more room for families to move about and not get in to each others way when you stay somewhere that has a full suite. You questioned Eagle Beach and the water. The water is great for swimming there. Sometimes there are waves but I've never seen them to the point where the kids wouldn't be safe swimming. Some people don't like the fact that Aruba is "Americanized". I think it's only "Americanized" in that there are many American chain restaurants to choose from which is good if that's what you are looking for. There are also restaurants in every price category so it fits everyone's budget. Have fun planning your vacation and if you have any questions I'll be happy to try and help.
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Old Aug 30th, 2005, 09:34 PM
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Aruba is a great choice. I second Muy Linda's recommendation of the Marriott and their time share properties. There is also the hotel (where I stayed).
I get tired of people putting Aruba down saying that it is too americanized....blah blah blah. We had a great trip there and dined on wonderful food(don't go all inclusive, you will love the restaurants), enjoyed the pretty beaches, and drank water out of the tap(not too many places you can do that these days). I also recommend the high rise section of Palm beach because that is where we stayed. There are a ton of watersports at your fingertips. You also can rent your own snorkel cruise with your crowd.
It is a great place to vacation. Enjoy. There is a bulletin board that is all about Aruba. They helped me greatly planning my trip. aruba-bb.com
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Old Aug 31st, 2005, 06:02 AM
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You'll love Aruba. As far as AI goes the Occidental Aruba Grand (formerly Allegro) will be repopened by then (they had a swim-up bar) and completely renovated and all-inclusive. Also the Wyndam and Aruba Grand have been bought and will be refurbished just not sure if they will be AI or just have AI options

Families all seem to love the Tam and feedback is positive. Seems very much geared towards families and directly on the beach (water is just a bit rougher than Palm Beach which is almost lake like).

Please disregard ONZGO's comments as she went almost 6 years ago stayed at the HolidaY Inn (not totally all inclusive just has an AI option..) and has been bitter ever since. She kinda reminds me of Harold and the Bahama rantings!
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Old Aug 31st, 2005, 07:16 AM
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Another vote for Occidental. The Occidental will have a selection of new restaurants when they re-open. Palm Beach has more activities for people to chose from and if you don't go AI there are a lot of great restaurants within walking distance. I love Aruba; it is my number one choice of destinations followed by the Riviera Maya. I've never stayed at the Barcelo Maya listed above, but the area is great.

I am renting my timeshare out at the Occidental next year b/c we are giving Hawaii a try for a change. With my timeshare you don't have to go AI, but I can get discounted rates if you choose to plus you get a kitchen w/ the timeshares. If you are interested in details feel free to click on my name in blue and I can give you the details.

Good luck with your decision.

Nancy

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Old Aug 31st, 2005, 09:33 AM
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Sara,
ONZGO is entitled to her opinion..just like everyone else on this forum.
christiegr is offline  
Old Aug 31st, 2005, 10:10 AM
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Of course everyone is entitled to their opinion but sitting back and reading the past couple of days one thing is clear - there are a couple of people who appear to have an axe to grind with Aruba. Question - if you don't like a destination why would you spend so much time reading/writing about it, especially on a thread entitled "Extended Family Gathering in Aruba". I've had two not so good vacations different places but would never try dissuade someone from going to those places based solely on my experience. That would be presumptuous. Just my .02

BTW - to the OP Aruba is a very nice vacation spot for you and your friends/family. I personally am not a fan of AI in Aruba but if it's what works for you and your group, go for it. The Divi/Tam are good properties right on the beach where you have exchange privileges for both resorts. A co-worker of mine just returned from the Tam and said his room was about 30 feet from the shore and he and his extended family had a great time. Said the food was good and plentiful and he would definitely return.
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Old Aug 31st, 2005, 01:31 PM
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"Extended Family Gathering in Aruba". I've had two not so good vacations different places but would never try dissuade someone from going to those places based solely on my experience. That would be presumptuous".

Valentime,
I do agree with you on that...if someone has made up their mind to go somewhere...I try to give any good advice about the place if I can.
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Old Aug 31st, 2005, 06:11 PM
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Everything I said about Aruba is factual and truthful. It is true my trip was over 5 years ago, but the basic facts about Aruba remain and I did not make them up. I see some have followed me here from TA site and now I will be harassed here for giving my opinion and trying to help some.
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Old Aug 31st, 2005, 06:22 PM
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I didn't attack anyone and I allowed everyone to state their opinion, so please allow me the same courtesy without personally attacking me in your post.

We are all here to give our opinions and facts about destinations we know about, so let's not make this personal. Thank you.
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Old Aug 31st, 2005, 06:37 PM
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ONZGO,
If anyone is rude...just ignore them.

The person that you think followed you here has been coming to this site for a while now..just not as regular as others.

Take care

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Old Aug 31st, 2005, 06:52 PM
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christiegr, I hope this person doesn't give out personal information about me (without my permission, I may add) as they like to do on some other Aruba boards. Most other Aruba boards can get quite hostile if anything negative is said about Aruba. I was hopping that wouldn't be happening here and that this site could remain a friendly site where all opinions are welcomed, not just Aruba lover opinions. Most people want all opinions of a destination and not just glossed over pictures of a destination so they know what to expect when they get there. Isn't that why people ask questions about a destination in the first place?
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Old Aug 31st, 2005, 06:57 PM
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christiegr, thanks for your support and understanding. Much appreciated.
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Old Aug 31st, 2005, 07:10 PM
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But ONZGO,

you do kind of bring it on yourself

You only seem to post after someone else has recommended Aruba - sometimes it seems that you're looking for an argument, This is the wrong board.

"Author: ONZGO
Date: 08/28/2005, 03:12 pm
I have been to Aruba, St. Martin and Antigua, so I can only comment on these three islands."

But you never DO give suggestions for St Martin or Antigua - your only positive posts are for the Barcelo Maya resort.

I don't feel that you should equate this board with any other that you post on. We're a friendly crowd but I'm now used to the fact that when anyone posts pro-Aruba you're not far behind saying how dreadful the island is.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Palm beach and the crowds there are not my idea of fun. If we'd stayed there I'd also be saying how i didn't enjoy Aruba - just not as repetative as you
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Old Aug 31st, 2005, 07:11 PM
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Question - if you don't like a destination why would you spend so much time reading/writing about it, especially on a thread entitled "Extended Family Gathering in Aruba".

Valentime - good question. I really don't get it myself......
MuyLinda is offline  
Old Aug 31st, 2005, 07:13 PM
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To cal10
Eagle beach drops sharply compared to Palm beach but it wasn't rough while we were there.

have a wondeful time
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Old Aug 31st, 2005, 07:56 PM
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Everyone is entitled to their opinion negative or positive on a place. It helps to hear some of the negatives when choosing a destination, just like it helps to hear about the good points.
That is why I laugh when Aruba gets bashed, but god forbid anyone bashes Jamaica.
It should be equal on this board.
Onzgo has his/her right to disliking Aruba. My mom hated it. We loved it. Different strokes.
Cal10, We found Aruba to be a fun, safe family destination. Ignore the squabbles.
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