Most areas in the world are still under some sort of restriction due to COVID-19. This is the case in Aruba as well. Aruba’s most important client base, east coast of the US, for the most part, is under some sort of restriction. Without knowing the outcome visitors are already booking flights and hotels to Aruba.
There are many underlying reasons as to why this is happening. Airfare prices might be a big factor in this. There are airlines offering flights from the east coast of the US to Aruba starting at $70 one-way. For the first time ever we are seeing this.
Amid persistent rumors, the COVID-19 restrictions are gradually being lifted. This due to the fact that active cases have dropped drastically to just over two dozen.
In lieu of the above, the CEO of Aruba airport announces that the airport is ready to receive commercial flights starting June 1st, 2020. He lays out plans to explain how the airport is going to increase movement until getting back to normal later this year.
The CEO’s declaration is welcome news, according to feedback expressed by locals and future visitors alike. The Prime Minister’s office meanwhile is pushing back on this information. According to the PM they have yet to announce their official decision.
It has been a while since I updated this website. Currently, I have nothing but time, while I enjoy a nice cup of tea.
The current conversation is all about COVID-19 and its repercussions it is having all over the world. I’ll cover this pandemic and its impact on Aruba’s vulnerable small island mono-economy. There is an obvious show of social #coronavirus fatigue, which I’m well aware of and will take that into consideration.
It is important to share with you on what’s currently happening in Aruba. How islanders are coping and how the prolonged measures are affecting the people in Aruba.
Cruise ship travelers are a different breed of visitors than stay-over. This requires a completely different approach, as the demands of the cruise ship travelers differ from the stay-over visitors.
Most local tourism officials do treat the different tourism type accordingly. In Aruba, there has been a considerable upgrade in the last decade in terms of infrastructure, signage, new activities, which has been a joint effort by both public and private entities.
In a news conference local giant tour operator De Palm Tours announced the acquisition of Atlantis Adventures. Atlantis offers submarine and semi-submarine excursions. Additionally they offers shore services to cruise lines. Officials from both companies announced that that the transaction was finalized on February 1, 2011 (almost two weeks ago), without offering details about the sum involved. This transaction was rumored for some time and comes as no surprise. Atlantis was purchased back in the 90s for $4 million by the – now – former owners.
De Palm Tours claims it won’t effect the operation of neither company as both companies will continue to operate separately. On the short term perhaps but not on the long term. I believe this acquisition makes a lot of sense. Now De Palm Tours has a better filled portfolio of products and services. Whether or not this deal will be beneficial to the customers has yet to be seen.
De Palm Tours Acquires Atlantis
I see some issues down the road, however. De Palm Tours has now become more powerful in the shore excursion scene, beware cruise ships. I foresee a cut in positions in the future. For example, some of these excursions are executed with two staff (De Palm Tour bus driver and Atlantis tour guide) which now could be done by just the driver alone. Lastly, just a few months ago Atlantis partnered with another company – in direct competition to De Palm Tours – to launch a bus tour operation that now has an uncertain future. Acquisitions are very uncommon in Aruba, only deep pocketed companies (or have good connections to local banks) are able to do this and there aren’t too many of them.
2011 starts on a positive note for sure. Today a new cruise ship is going to dock in town for the first time: Disney Wonder. This Disney-themed ship is going to be in Aruba today from 6 AM to 5 PM.
Disney Wonder accommodates 2,400 passengers, along with 945 cast and crew. Obviously this ship has a cast to entertain the kids and parents that go on this ship. Disney ships look like cartoons from both outside and inside.
Disney Wonder [image by Disney]
Apart from Disney Wonder, today there are three other ships in town: AIDAvita, Statendam and Ocean Dream. If you are staying in Aruba and want to avoid all the people, as always, I suggest you skip town today.
Carnival Cruise Line decided to drop its Southern Caribbean itinerary at the end of 2007 season. Locally it was said that they did this because of the excessive fuel prices (note: which Aruba doesn’t control) and that the island government refused to subsidise the fuel. For Aruba it meant the loss Carnival Destiny with over 2500 passengers on a weekly basis, year around.
That’s old news. With a new government and three years later Carnival Cruise Lines is back in Aruba. This time with smaller ship Carnival Miracle. This ship carries over 2000 passengers and is going to dock every other week, only during cruise ship season (October – April). Start the festivities.
Carnival Miracle in Aruba
A quick round of question to some operators and merchants learn that they are cautiously optimistic about the return. I don’t blame them, according to some research I’ve read, passengers on Carnival ships tend to spend above average on shore, making it a desirable ship to welcome for operators and merchants. Welcome back Carnival.