In 1955, when the first cruise ship (the Tradewinds) to call in Aruba docked in Oranjestad, it brought the town to a halt as people came to view the strange site. Today, cruise ships are an almost everyday sight.
Located in Oranjestad next to the town's business
district, the cruise port is capable of accommodating
several large ships at a time and often does so. (See a separate photo feature showing cruise ships docked in Aruba).
The cruise terminal is a large metal building painted in
pastel colors. Inside are stalls operated by local
On the other side of the cruise terminal is a large
parking area. It is here where passengers board their
shore excursion coaches. Taxis and vendors offering
tours can also usually be found in this area.
When there are too many cruise ships in port to be accommodated next to the cruise terminal, ships are docked at the adjoining cargo piers. There is usually a shuttle bus to take passengers to and from the main gate. However, many guests walk to the gate.
Above: The cruise terminal.
Below: The adjoining cargo area.
If you are limiting your stay in Aruba to shopping and seeing the sights of Oranjestad, the best way of getting
around is on foot. All of the shops and sights are within walking distance of the cruise terminal. Traffic in the town can get quite busy so be careful crossing the streets.
Most passengers elect to go beyond Oranjestad. One
popular means of getting to the beaches is the Arubus, s
the public bus service. Its terminal is across the main
street from the entrance to the cruise port. The buses
operate 365 days a year from 3:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.
There are also shared vans that drive along popular routes picking up passengers who flag them down. Such vans have a "B" in their license plate number. This service is mostly used by the locals.
Taxis are also available. All taxis have "TX" in their
license plate number. Prices are fixed.
All sorts of vehicles are used for tours and shore excursions including the popular Kukoo Kunuku bus (see separate article). trolleys, all-terrain vehicles and safari trucks.
Cars, scooters and all-terrain vehicles can be rented.
When the cruise ships arrive in port, there are often
entrepreneurs at the cruise port selling tours and
transportation in buses or vans. Of course, the quality
and reliability can vary and so one should exercise
Cruise destination profile and guide - Aruba - Cruise port and getting around - 2