Our 2022 Cruise to the A B C Islands!

Map of ABC Islands

This post is about our cruise to Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao round trip from Miami. 

Itinerary

We were originally scheduled to sail on the Carnival Horizon, a Vista-class ship, which is a newer and larger ship. The Horizon first sailed in 2019, 1061 feet long with capacity of 4,977 maximum capacity. However, that ship developed propulsion problems and had to be sent to Dry Dock for repairs.

The did not change of cancel our cruise, but now we were on the Carnival Liberty, a Conquest-Class ship, which is an older ship first sailing in 2005, 952 feet long with capacity for 2,974 Passengers.

Due to the change in ship and the warnings from CDC not to cruise, the ship ws less than half full on our sailing. This meant no waiting in lines for anything, for the most part. Nice!

Day 0 - Friday, January 7th

Raleigh to Miami - Travel Day

John at RDU

We got off to a great start. Our COVID tests were negative (YAY) and our flight was on time from Ralieigh to Miami. John had upgraded our flight to first class. That was nice. Unfortunately, John left his hat on the plane and once he realized it, he went into mourning for a bit. He really liked that hat. We were too late in Miami to go shopping, so hd to wait and see if we could find another hat in one of the port stops. 

We stayed in Hampton Inn & Suites in Miami, Brickell area. It was a very nice hotel and conveniently located close to restaurants.

We walked to 7-11 to get Coke for Pat (you can take a 12 pack of cans on the cruise). We then walked around a bit looking for a place to eat. John had found a Cuban restaurant online named Latin 2000 Cafe and it was only a couple of blocks from our hotel. I had soup and salad; the salad was my kind with lots of tomatoes. John had Empanados, grilled chicken, beans, rice and French Fries. All he said was good. And of course, Long Island Ice Teas.

It was dark by the time we walked back to the hotel, with a beautiful view of the city lights.

Weather was awesome, high seventies, low eighties. We scheduled ourselves for the transport to the cruise terminal for the next morning for 10:00 am and crashed early.

Day 0 Photo Gallery

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Day 1, Saturday, January 8th

Embarkation, Miami Florida - Cruise day!

We were scheduled for zone C02- appointment arrival time 11:00-11:30 at the terminal. The transport from the hotel was scheduled for 10:00 am, so we had a quick free breakfast at the hotel (nothing to write home about) and were at the waiting area by 9:40.  The van arrived shortly after and we were on our way by 10:00 am.  The Cruise terminal was only 15 minutes or so from the hotel. We checked our bags and went through the check in process that took less than 15 minutes.  We had to wait in the terminal building for our zone to be called, but it was an easy wait.  They loaded the ship from two gangways, so that went really fast. 

Our room was not going to be ready until 1:30, so after going to our Muster station, we went to the Lido deck to snack and wait.  John left me with our carry-on bags while he checked out the ship. Our room was ready by 1:00, so we were free to explore.   We spent most of the day exploring the ship and stopped for a drink to toast to our embarkation.

We had a nice dinner in the Main Dining Room

There was no reason given, but our 4:00 pm departure was delayed by almost 3 hours.  We departed Miami about 7:00 pm, so it was dark by the time we left Miami.

John went to the Welcome Aboard Show, which was a bit of a taster of what entertainment was on board.  An excellent show. 

Embarkation Day 1 Photos

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Day 2 & 3 - Sunday & Monday, January 9th & 10th

Sea Days

We spent our sea days enjoying the ship, relaxing on our Balcony and on the Lido. We played Scrabble and just enjoyed the view of the Ocean. 

We ate dinner in the Main Dining Room. On Sunday, we attended the last part of the Wave Morning Show Live and then the Fun Ashore Fun Aboard Show that was hosted by the Cruise Director, Dustin.

Sunday night we attended the evening show Showtime Vintage Pop in the Theatre. Monday night we attended the evening show Showtime Southbound. Both show featured the same entertainment troupe of singers and dancers.

Day 2 & 3 Sea Day Photos

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Day 4 - Tuesday, January 11th

Aruba

01-19-22-2022-01-11-Day 4-Pat John Aruba

After breakfast, we left the ship and did some shopping in the dock area, where we found a new hat for John and bought a shirt for Mia and a magnet for us. 

Weather was nice and we didn’t spend too much time walking around but got some photos of the ship and the “I Love Aruba” sign.

John took the Atlantis Submarine excursion and enjoyed the adventure. They walked to the boat that was docked close by and that boat took them to the submarine where “Atlantis”  where they were able to view the underwater world. The submarine went to a depth of 140 feet.

After dinner we attended the evening show Viva Variety! Phil Hughes an excellent Ventriloquist. One of the best shows I’ve ever seen.

About Aruba

The Port of Aruba is conveniently located in Oranjestad, within walking distance of restaurants and shops.

Everyone native Aruban speaks four languages; English, Spanish, Dutch and Papiamento. Dutch and Papiamento are the official languages of Aruba. The origin of Papiamento is still a bit of a mystery. However, Arubans say that it was developed from Portuguese-African pidgin which was used as the language for communication between slaves and slave traders. There are also some Dutch and Spanish influences. In most schools in Aruba children have all their lessons in Dutch. They can only speak Papiamento during the Papiamento class.

Aruba is a former Dutch colony. It is now its own country. However, Aruba is still part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Aruba’s currency is the Aruban florin which is worth about 0.56 US Dollars. It is so rare that you might need to find a specialized currency provider like World First to be able to buy it.

Note: The terminal shops were priced in US Dollars. John was able to use a credit card which is convenient.

They produce their own drinking water thanks to their desalination plant. You can drink the water straight from the taps. The electricity on the island is also a by-product of the desalination plant. Very cool.

As of 2020, the population of Aruba was 106,766.

Day 4 Aruba Photos

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Day 5 - Wednesday, January 12th

Bonaire

01-19-22-2022-01-12-Day 5-John Pat-Bonaire

After breakfast we left the ship and walked around the bay area where the ship was docked. All the Islands had beautiful turquoise waters.  There really wasn’t much shopping, but we did find a magnet we bought. Afterwards, we returned to the ship and enjoyed another relaxing day.

After dinner, we went to the evening show Viva Variety! Consuelo Ivy.

About Bonaire

Bonaire is part of the ABC Islands together with Aruba and Curaçao. It is the least developed of the three islands. It is a flat, riverless island renowned for its dive spots. Its tropical climate is moderated by constant trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean. The temperature is almost constant at about 27 degrees Celsius (81 degrees Fahrenheit).  Politically, Bonaire is a “special municipality” fully integrated in the Netherlands proper.

The US Dollar is the official currency of Bonaire. (Euros and other foreign currencies are not accepted.)

The cruise port on the island of Bonaire, in the Dutch Antilles, is located in the downtown area of Kralendijk (the capital city).

As of January 1, 2019 the population of Bonaire was 20,104.

Day 5 - Bonaire Photos

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Day 6 - Thursday, January 13th

Curaçao

01-19-22-2022-01-13-Day 6-Pat John Carnival Liberty Curacao

After breakfast we left the ship and walked from the port to the shopping area, where we purchased a shirt for John, a shirt for Mia and a few magnets (buy 2 get one free). 

It looked like the shopping area was built around the fort. Once on the other side of the fort, we took photos of the bridge and colorful buildings across the bay. On the way back, we stopped at the dock side open air bar where John bought a local draft beer called Montana.

After dinner we attended the Deal or No Deal Show. No winners here but enjoyed the live show. One lady won $1 (they upped it to $100), the next guy won $200. Fun to watch!

About Curaçao

Curaçao is in the Southern Caribbean Sea, together with sister islands Aruba and Bonaire. Following a referendum, and as a result of constitutional change, Curaçao became a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands on October 10, 2010. Consequently, Curaçao now controls and manages its own internal affairs as an autonomous country with special areas being managed by the Kingdom, such as extradition, defense, and foreign relations. Curaçao is the largest of the six islands in the Caribbean that together constitute the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The multi-cultural composition of the island’s population is further manifested in the use of language. There are three official languages in Curaçao: Papiamentu, a local language that is a mix of Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish and English; Dutch; and English.  Spanish is also widely spoken on the island. Because of the large number of immigrants in Curaçao, different population segments also speak Portuguese, French and German, among others.

 

Curaçao and St. Maarten together have one Central Bank and one currency, the Netherlands Antillean guilder (ANG). This currency has been pegged to the US dollar since 1971 at an exchange rate of ANG 1.79 per 1 USD. The official selling rate for other currencies is set daily on the basis of their rate of exchange with the US dollar.1

 

Note: the shops we visited priced their items at US Dollars. We paid by credit card for most of our purchases.

As of 2020, the population of Curaçao was 155,014

Historic old Willemstad, capital city of Curaçao and since December 1997 on UNESCO’S World Heritage list is divided into two sections: Punda and Otrobanda. We docked in Otrobanda. The two districts are separated from each other by the Sint Anna Bay.

In the shopping area there were several stone walls, the outside of the Fort Amsterdam located in the historic area of Willemstad, Inner City and Harbour, Curaçao. This is where the ship docked and where we did our shopping, and which is located in Otrobanda.

On the other side of the shopping area, there are beautiful views of the Queen Juliana Bridge and the colorful buildings located in the Punda district that you can see from the shopping area across the bay.

Willemstad, Curaçao Historical Walking Tour

Day 6 - Curaçao Photos

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Day 7 & 8 - Friday, & Saturday January 14th & 15th

Sea Days

We spent Friday and Saturday enjoying our Balcony and the Lido.

John received a free dinner for both of us at the Steak House from the casino, which included a bottle of wine to our surprise, which we enjoyed on Friday. After dinner Friday, we went to the comedy Show by John DiCrosta (PG version). he was the voice of the Pillsbury Dough Boy and did a fun ventriloquist act during the show with a couple of guys from the audience.

On Saturday, we played Bingo and John won the first and second rounds but had to split the Winnings. The first game was a 3-way split, the second game was a 7-way split! He won a total of $125.00. YAY, John!!!

After dinner on Saturday, we went to the evening show: One Night Only, featuring the Liberty Rock Band which often played in the atrium.

Saturday included packing. up our bags, sad to say.

Day 7 & 8 - Sea Days Photos

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Debarkation Day - Sunday, January 16th

Miami to Raleigh - Travel Day

Debarkation went smoothly. We were one of the first ones with bags checked to leave the ship.  After going through customs, we picked up our luggage (our smaller suitcase was misplaced, but John finally found it). We then made our way to the buses, where we’d purchased tickets to transfer us to the airport.  The debarkation process and trip to the airport was uneventful.

At the airport it took us forever to get through security. The line was long and it moved slowly. Once through security (where John got held up because he forgot to remove one of his iPads from his backpack), we made our way to the Delta Sky club.  The cost was $38 each, but well worth it when you consider free food and drinks. It would be about a 6 hour wait until our flight.  The flight was delayed by about a half hour, but otherwise all went well, including the flight. 

Jeff (our son-in-law) picked us up at the airport! Luckily, the freezing rain from earlier in the day had melted and Jeff did a good job of driving us home safely.

We got home to needy cats and hugs from Toni and Mia.

The End.

Debarkation Day Photos

  1. https://www.netherlandsandyou.nl/your-country-and-the-netherlands/united-states/about-us/curacao-and-you/about-curacao
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