I have been looking at information on Aruba beaches because I will be going this December. I have not been to Aruba but It looks like Palm Beach is nice. I heard that some of the resorts have a day pass program to use the pools and public areas of the hotels. If anyone has any information on this please share it.
palm beach is really nice. We walked through the radisson to get to the beach. We just plopped down our towels and spent most of the day in the water. There was a restaurant on a little pier that served drinks too. There was also jet skis, tubing, banana boat but no snorkeling. I guess you could get a day pass from the hotel but i don't think you would really need it. We loved it there.
Carnival Triumph 2003
Carnival Destiny 2005
Carnival Destiny 2006
Mariner of the seas 2008
As Donna said catch the #10 bus, also known as the Hotels Bus since it will take you out towards all the hotels and resorts. Walk straight out of the port area, cross the street and you will be at the bus terminal. Ask the driver to drop you off at Malmok or Boca Catalina. They are relatively close together. Malmok has a shipwreck you can snorkel, Boca has some rocks and some coral to snorkel a little ways out and has trees for shade. You can also take this same bus to Palm Beach, but I think you will like these other two better since they are not as crowded. The water in this area is so clear.
Both are very nice beaches and not terribly busy. The bus is like $2.00-$3.00 Round trip, I wouldn't bother with a taxi there as the buses are nice and clean and come around frequently.
To be honest I have never heard of Dickson Bay in Aruba. There is a Dickinson Bayin Antigua though.
I would not take a ship excursion in Aruba, just because it is so easy to get around and there are so many really great beaches you can get to very inexpensively on the #10 bus. It is a very safe place and simple to navigate.
I have heard great things about Arashi beach as well.
Boca Catalina is just a little north of Malmok beach, you will enjoy good snorkeling there. Not a lot of resorts past Malmok so if you want to spend the day there you might want to pack a cooler to take with you.
with as inexpensive as the bus is, you could try them all along that stretch of the #10 (hotels) Bus Route. Palm beach is very popular, if it gets too crowded just head north a little ways and it will thin out tremendously. The water is also very clear up toward Malmok and Boca Catalina. I am sure you'll have a very nice day!