Interested in feedback on various Royal Carib. ship offerings for snorkeling /beaches. They are: Sailing & snorkel tour to Mallock Reef OR De Palm Island Snorkeling Adventure OR Aruba Sailaway Beach & Snorkeling Cruise to Arashi Reef & the Antilla wreck with lunch at Palm Beach OR catamaran cruise to Palm Beach.. We want least hassle of getting there, max time for snorkeling & hope to be able to tour the island on our own after the excursions, Any suggestions.?
First will be a sail and snorkel trip with one stop, probably a 3 hour trip .
The DePalm island snorkel will involve a bus to the De Palm boat that takes you to their private island. This is a beach and water toy island , with food , snorkelling, water toys and a nice beach. Again, probably a three or 4 hour trip.
The sailaway, snorkel and palm beach lunch is a longer trip. It leaves at about 10 am. You take about a 45 min to 1 hr motor sail along the coast past virtually every hotel on the island and out to Arashi Reef (almost opposite California lighthouse , but on the leeward side. Snorkel for about half an hour or so . Then pick up and move shore distance to the wreck. Again snorkel for half hour or so. Then go to Palm beach , probably to Pelican Pier (one of three piers along palm beach run by larger tour companies that have food, facilities and booze available. Eat a nice lunch with unlimited drink, then hang out in the water and on the beach for an hour or so. Motor/sail back to the pier becomes a rocking party. This is a very fun tour. Probably 5 hours in all. Unless you are staying late, this will only leave you some shopping time in Orangestad , not really enough time to see the rest of the island.
The cruise to Palm Beach is exactly that. Cruise out to Palm beach, Hang out at the beach and again probably Pelican pier. Lots of private vendors offer jet skiis, parasailing etc. Get back on boat and sail back. Probably a 4 hour excursion.
Most of the beaches in Aruba are fronting the hotels. With cruise ships in town, few are not crowded. Of the excursions you asked about, you could probably tell from my answer, I would do the sail, snorkel ,palm beach lunch excursion. As a matter of fact, last time I cruised to Aruba, that is what we did.
If you want to just go to a quieter beach , sun and snorkel a bit, go in the other direction. Head past the airport to the end of the island and Baby Beach. No hotels, just a nice beach surrounded by a man made sea wall. Makes it like a huge swimming pool. Just outside the seawall is some ok snorkelling.
Another option for a quiet beach day is to walk into town to the Renaseance Hotel.
Their beach is on a private offshore island. For a fee (paid at the front desk) you can spend the day on their island and use it's facilities. I haven't done this for a while, but last time we asked they were still doing it. The kick is, you can walk to the hotel and the "ferry" leaves from a pier in the lower lobby of the hotel every 10 minutes or so.
We were in Aruba in Feb of this year and we went with Roberto's Snorkeling which is right in front of the Holiay Inn. They are the best. The snorkeling was a boat piloted by Happy Captain Nick and we had him for two hours, drinks included for 35.00 per person. He took us where ever we wanted to go but we told him he was the man and so he took us out to the german ship wreck and then over to a quiet cove. A blast!!!!! We just took a cab to the Holiday Inn and Roberto's booth is right on the beach. Do be aware that Aruba has ALOT of wind usually all the time according to locals so this makes for interesting snorkeling in the open water. The snorkeling over the wreck was awesome but very choppy. We had a good time but keep in mind that if you are not a good swimmer fighting the chop can be taxing. We then took the KUKUKANOO party bus in the evening and that was a blast as well. You will love Aruba but get ready for the wind....the locals told us that the only time it is not windy there is when there is a hurricane at one of the other islands and then the wind is sucked out of Aruba. Robert'o Snorkeling is on the internet and we booked directly with them.