Sunday, March 12, 2023
Our dinner reservation was at 7:00. On this cruise, we purchased the Have It All package which included one meal at each of the upcharge restaurants. Tonight, we were going to the Tamarind. This restaurant is not available on all of the Holland America ships but is available on the Rotterdam.
We arrived at about 6:15 so we could go to the Tamarind bar first. You don’t have to have dinner there to enjoy drinks at the bar but typically we don’t think to go there. Being on the 10th floor, it is off the beaten path, but they draw customers as they have the Martini hour at this bar most every day at 5:00.
Tonight, I had their wasabi cocktail – sake, lychee liqueur, sour mix, agave syrup, and orange juice – in a martini glass. It is served with a peeled lychee stuffed with wasabi. You are supposed to nibble on the wasabi and then drink the sweet drink. Blends spicy with sweet and I really liked it.
We thought the meal was wonderful. It began with shrimp crackers and three different sauces – mild to spicy. I had the Mongolian barbecued lamb chops and Chuck had the wasabi and soy crusted tenderloin. We shared the Jasmine rice, spicy coconut eggplant, and mushrooms in oyster sauce. We also shared the Yuzu cheesecake and a pot of hot tea.
We enjoyed talking with our waitress. She is from Thailand and was a hospitality and linguistics major in college. She is getting more hospitality experience working in the cruise industry and hopes to eventually land a management position in a high-end hotel/conference center somewhere. She was a very personable young woman and I feel certain she will do just that.
We don’t usually have an opportunity to talk much with the wait staff in any of the restaurants because they are busy moving from table to table making sure everyone is getting served promptly and correctly. She said tonight was the first night that the restaurant has not been extremely busy. Assumed a number of guests were eating at a restaurant in Aruba. Glad we could have a conversation with her.
We had an early tour scheduled in Curaçao, so we decided to spend a little time on the balcony watching the lights of Aruba before saying goodnight. We never heard the ship leave the dock.
Though we have been to Curacao several times we have either snorkeled or just walked around the port area. We had never had time to see the west side of the island. Since we were here until 11:00 pm, we decided that a full day tour would work out well.
Our tour today was an independent one called Curacao: East & West – A Complete Island Tour booked thru Shoreexcursions.com. We have booked tours with this company before and had good results. The description was “Curacao offers travelers many great sightseeing opportunities, but it can be difficult to squeeze everything into a single day. Not on this Curacao tour! On this Curacao east & west complete island excursion, you’ll visit both sides of the island for a comprehensive island experience. Don’t miss this chance!
The east & west complete island excursion will provide a unique glimpse into island life. The east side is where you’ll find most of the attractions. During your time on the east side of Curacao, you’ll make a stop at many island highlights including Curacao Liquor Factory and Queen Juliana Bridge. The factory produces the namesake liquor that comes from the Lahara fruit; it’s a popular ingredient in cocktails like margaritas and mai tais. Queen Juliana Bridge is the highest bridge in the Caribbean and gets its name from the notable Netherlands Queen.
The west side of the island features some of the island’s most beautiful natural landmarks. You’ll find gorgeous landscapes galore as well as charming little villages. Among the sights you’ll see on this side of the island are Boca Tabla Cave and Knip Bay. If your time is short in Curacao and you want to see it all, book your Curacao sightseeing tour now. Sunscreen and comfortable walking shoes are strongly recommended for this tour. Food and drinks are not included.“
Since we had the early excursion, we opted to order a room service breakfast. They brought it on time and the order was correct. Room service breakfast is a popular option as I hear the carts rattle up and down the hall every morning.
The website provided excellent directions and we had no trouble finding our meeting spot with the tour representative. The van was a little late, but we left around 9:15. Most people on the tour were from the ship but 3 of our fellow travelers were from hotels in the area. Our guide’s name was Irving. He was also the driver. He was both funny and informative.
We started with the east side – closest to the ship and the floating bridge. This is the area that we were already familiar. Government buildings, lots of shopping places, parks, and artwork.
As we headed to the west side, we stopped at the Curacao distillery and were allowed to try three different Curacao liqueurs. Chuck and I agreed that the chocolate one was the best. We opted to buy and share a large drink of it over ice. Other people bought bottles to take back but we didn’t want to have to pack them for flying.
Our next stop was a small Dutch restaurant. It had a very limited menu and only took cash – US or Euros only. You didn’t have to eat here, but it was the only place around. I’m glad we did because the only other place we stopped that had food available was a place near the beach and it only had food trucks. I didn’t like the looks of those trucks and the smell from the fish being caught near there was off-putting too.
At this restaurant, we each had two Heinekin beers and a sandwich. Everything was good.
He took us to see the lava rocks and the Boca Tabla Cave area. Stopped at a couple of beaches. Many locals out enjoying a nice Sunday afternoon. We saw a couple of sea turtles. Later we saw some flamingos.
We got back to the ship around 3:15. It was a pleasant day, and I would recommend this tour.
Just some things to be aware – It was not real easy getting in and out of the van. Big step up and down to get in and out of the van. The seats were tight, so you were very close to your other traveling companions – wear deodorant, please. Except for the main road, all other roads on the island we drove on were rough and jarring. Really needed work. Wear good shoes as some of the walks were on uneven ground and more than one person tripped in their sandals/flip flops. Luckily, nobody fell down.
When we got back to the cabin, we discovered that the Casino had sent Chuck some chocolate covered strawberries as a thank you for his casino play. Nice gesture.
We were able to relax a while at the Sea View bar, but it was soon time to get ready for our Pinnacle Grill meal that was part of our vow renewal package.
Flowers of Curacao
Willemstad, with its unique architecture and harbor entry, has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It is home to the Curaçao synagogue, the oldest surviving synagogue in the Americas.
Willemstad’s harbor is one of the largest oil handling ports in the Caribbean.
Major League Baseball players Jair Jurrjens, Wladimir Balentien, Jurickson Profar, Andruw Jones, Ozzie Albies, Kenley Jansen and Jonathan Schoop are from Willemstad.
*Trivia provided by Wikipedia