December 2016 – Our first port stop for our December cruise was at Oranjestad, Aruba.  After being on the ship for over two days, we were ready to stretch our legs and go exploring.  Our first excursion was a catamaran to a wreck site for snorkeling.  We were disappointed by the number of people trying to snorkel over such a small area (basically just kicking each other), but it was still enjoyable.  After snorkeling, we took a short ride to Palm Beach where we stopped for about an hour.  We headed down the beach in search of lunch and found a little grill to order from.  After lunch, we walked the beautiful beach back to the boat and returned to port.

Following the snorkel tour, we had a utv tour reserved.  We took a short bus ride to the area with the utv’s, where we were given a quick briefing and waivers to sign.  The waivers included the standard: you will wear a seatbelt, you will wear a helmet, you will not sue if something happens.  We were not given helmets (didn’t want them anyway), and my husband’s seatbelt didn’t work.  The guy in charge asked him if he really needed one, and he said no.  We were, however, given bandannas to put over our nose/mouths due to the amount of dust and mud on the tour.

We were the youngest in the group by at least thirty years (probably because we sailed with Norwegian), and we ended up having to pass everyone because they seemed to be out for easy, Sunday drives.  One of our fond memories of this day was the exclamation by the wife of one of the utv drivers when she climbed inside: “There aren’t any cupholders!”  She was later heard (after going through many mud puddles) exclaiming, “Oh my God, your face!” at her husband.
Once we went offroad, the tour really got fun.  We traveled over rocky, desert terrain and up and down hills.  W e went edges of cliffs with the gorgeous ocean below.  We made a quick stop at the gold mill ruins and another stop at the California lighthouse.  We also stopped at a beach and at a church.  Everywhere we went, our senses were on overload.  The views were absolutely beautiful, while our utv’s splashed through mud and dust.  We were filthy and sunburned by the time we arrived back at the port, but it was one of our favorite travel days so far.