Aruba Cruise Port: Piers, Getting Around and What’s Nearby

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Aruba Cruise Port, also known as the Aruba Cruise Terminal or Port of Oranjestad, is one of the major gateways to the Southern Caribbean’s beautiful ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao.

The port is nestled right on the edge of Oranjestad, the capital city of Aruba, providing visitors with the opportunity to explore the city or kick back and relax on the nearby white sand beaches.

If you plan to visit this bustling port and the heritage-rich city on its doorstep, we’re here to help. This guide will explain everything you need to know about the cruise port, its surroundings, and more.

Aruba Cruise Port Location and Address

The Aruba Cruise Port is conveniently located along Lloyd G. Smith Blvd. in Oranjestad. Since cruise ships dock at the piers directly adjacent to the north end of the capital city’s bustling downtown area, cruise visitors have easy access to the city’s many attractions and amenities.

Number of Terminals and Piers 

The cruise port boasts four docking berths, three of which have dedicated terminal buildings. Rather than using the lengthy piers in neighboring Curacao, cruise ships dock directly in front of the three terminals, with a fourth berth used exclusively for spillover during the busy season.

Cruise Terminal in Aruba
Cruise Terminal in Aruba (Photo Credit: Joni Hanebutt)

Aruba Cruise Terminal Facilities and Services 

Each of the three terminal buildings in the Aruba Cruise Port is fully air-conditioned, which can be a welcome escape from Aruba’s hot and humid climate when you are waiting to return to your ship. 

Each terminal building also has well-maintained public restrooms. If the terminal is particularly crowded and there is a line for the facilities, bathrooms can also be found at the nearby Renaissance Mall.

Throughout the cruise facility, you will also find numerous information booths staffed by friendly and welcoming staff. You can also find help desks with representatives of some of the more prominent cruise lines and excursion providers selling various packages. 

Aruba Cruise Port Area
Aruba Cruise Port Area (Photo Credit: ByDroneVideos)

While the port does not offer free public Wi-Fi, you can visit the Setar Telecommunications desk for all your cellular and Wi-Fi needs. Internet access comes at a fee, but prices are reasonable, and the connection speed is fairly average for the Caribbean. 

Seating in the terminal buildings is limited, but plenty of restaurants and cafés are nearby, so if you arrive back at the port early, you can easily find a place to wait for departure time.

Accessibility

Each of the three terminal buildings and the entire port facility is wheelchair-friendly, so it is completely accessible to those with mobility needs. If you need further assistance or need a wheelchair, you can speak with representatives from your cruise line before arriving at the port. 

Which Cruise Lines Visit Aruba Cruise Port? 

Given Aruba’s popularity as a tourist destination, the modern port facility can accommodate up to four cruise ships at a time; it is regularly used by some of the most recognizable cruise lines. Just some of the many cruise lines that frequent Aruba Cruise Port include:

Cruise Ships Docked in Aruba
Cruise Ships Docked in Aruba (Photo Credit: Joni Hanebutt)
  • Carnival Cruise Line
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Disney Cruise Line
  • MSC Cruises
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Royal Caribbean International Cruise Line
  • Virgin Voyages
  • Cunard
  • Azamara
  • Holland America 
  • TUI Cruises

None of the cruise lines have a long-term dedicated berth, so ships tend to dock in different locations from voyage to voyage. Passengers will be given a number from one to four, informing them where their ship will be. The port is incredibly easy to navigate, so there are rarely any issues. 

Transportation Options 

Upon exiting any of the three cruise terminal buildings, visitors will find a long row of taxis circling the Cruise Ship Taxi Stand on the north side of the port facility.

Worth Reading: Bonaire Cruise Port – What You Need to Know

Taxis tend to be the preferred method of transportation for cruise passengers visiting the island, as they are plentiful and most provide flat rates. Given the importance of tourism to the island’s economy, flat rates are official and enforced, so you don’t have to worry about getting ripped off.

Tour Bus in Oranjestad, Aruba
Tour Bus in Oranjestad, Aruba (Photo Credit: Darryl Brooks)

The island does not yet have any of the major rideshare apps, so don’t be surprised when you can’t call an Uber. However, this isn’t a major issue because taxi rates are so reasonable. 

A bus terminal is located near the port’s main exit, offering simple routes around the city of Oranjestad.   

Thankfully, Oranjestad is a well-organized and relatively small city, so traffic is usually minimal. That said, things can get a bit congested around the port and the island’s most popular attractions if you visit during peak tourist season. 

Getting Between Aruba Cruise Port and Airport 

Aruba Cruise Port is also strategically close to the island nation’s main airport, Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA). Since the airport services direct flights from the United States, Canada, and several other Caribbean nations, tourists commonly use it, as do those flying to and from cruises. 

With only 3.4 miles separating the two, cruise passengers can easily commute by taxi directly along Lloyd G. Smith Blvd. in roughly 10 minutes. 

Language, Currency, and Culture

Although Dutch and Papiamento are Aruba’s two official languages, English is widely spoken, especially amongst those working in the tourism industry. The staff operating the tourist information booths in cruise terminals are also fluent in English, making communication easy for most international travelers.

Oranjestad, downtown port and shopping disctrict
Oranjestad, downtown port and shopping district (Photo Credit: Fotos593)

The official currency of Aruba is the Aruban Florin (AWG), but almost every establishment will accept U.S. Dollars. While you can’t use credit cards from street vendors, most restaurants and stores in Oranjestad accept the major cards. Remember that Aruba is more expensive than some other Caribbean islands, so don’t be surprised if prices seem high. 

While tipping is not mandatory in Aruba, some restaurants and bars charge a 10% to 15% service charge for larger groups. Even if you don’t see these charges on your bill, tipping for good service is always appreciated in Aruba and other parts of the Caribbean. 

The Best Time to Visit Aruba and Seasonal Weather Conditions

Aruba’s tropical climate makes it a year-round travel destination, but conditions vary from season to season. Regular visitors generally agree that late spring to early summer is the best time to visit the island.

Read Also: When is the Best Time to Cruise the Caribbean?

Between April and July, you should enjoy plenty of sunshine, temperatures in the 79° to 89°F range, and relatively low chances of rainfall.

View of Downtown Aruba
View of Downtown Aruba (Photo Credit: byvalet)

With that said, not everyone can or wants to travel during these months, so here’s a basic breakdown of seasonal conditions in Aruba: 

Summer (June to August)

Temperatures tend to hover between 79° and 90°F, with conditions at their hottest in August. While rainfall is lower than that of the northern Caribbean islands, occasional showers and thunderstorms can occur. 

Fall (September to November)

Fall in Aruba is similar to summer, with temperatures ranging between 75° and 88°F; however, humidity tends to rise slightly. Rainfall increases with moisture, so you will want light, moisture-wicking clothing.

Winter (December to February)

Although winter is the coolest season in Aruba, its proximity to the equator means it’s usually quite warm and dry. Temperatures are usually measured in the 75° to 80°F range, with minimal rainfall. This makes it a popular time to visit, especially for tourists who live in cold climates. 

Spring (March to May)

Spring brings warmer temperatures in the mid-80° F range, gentle winds, and relatively low humidity. Rainfall is also minimal, making it the ideal time to enjoy outdoor activities and beach outings. 

Amenities and Attractions Near Aruba Cruise Port 

Since Aruba Cruise Port sits right on the edge of Oranjestad, the city’s many amenities are all within reasonable walking distance. The city is well worth exploring, as its close historical ties to the Netherlands mean it is filled with Dutch colonial architecture but with Caribbean-style colors. It’s a truly beautiful city.

I Love Aruba Sign
I Love Aruba Sign (Photo Credit: Lara Red)

If you have limited time in port, you can easily walk to the following Oranjestad highlights.

The National Archaeological Museum of Aruba

The museum is incredibly impressive for such a small island nation, with collections spanning from 2500 BC to the modern era. It’s located just 0.3 miles from the terminals, so you can walk to it in minutes. 

The Royal Plaza Mall

Royal Plaza Mall
Royal Plaza Mall (Photo Credit: Lara Red)

For those less interested in history and archaeology, the cruise port is also located just a 5-minute walk from the Royal Plaza Mall. The mall has a mix of local vendors and high-end designer stores. If you’re limited on time or want to grab a quick souvenir before getting back on your ship, it’s a great option.

Historical Museum of Aruba

Built into the remains of Fort Zoutman, a former military fortification, it now serves as a museum dedicated to the island’s history and its connection to the slave trade. Taking a guided walking tour of the fort grounds is one of the best ways to get the most out of the experience.

Given that it’s less than a mile from the port, it’s very easy to get to. The walk will take you past Aruba’s government buildings, which showcase classic Dutch architecture. 

Queen Wilhelmina Park and Renaissance Beach

Located just a 15-minute walk from the port, this peaceful, ocean-side park is an excellent place to sit back and relax. With statues, water fountains, and direct access to Renaissance Beach, it’s a good option for those looking for a quiet afternoon.

Queen Wilhelmina Park
Queen Wilhelmina Park (Photo Credit: Yingna Cai)

Fresco Beachside Bar is also located just steps from the park. You can also taste Aruba’s Dutch connection by checking out The Dutch Pancake House, which is steps away from the beach. 

While the blend of Dutch and Caribbean culture and architecture makes the island uniquely charming, the beaches make Aruba a true gem of the Southern Caribbean. The following are just some of the more popular options: 

Eagle Beach

This picture-perfect beach is located less than 3 miles from the cruise port, so it’s a must-visit destination. The neighborhood at the top of the white sand beach is an excellent place for a stroll. With Dutch architecture and plenty of cafés and bars, it’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon.

Eagle Beach
Eagle Beach (Photo Credit: Derson Santana)

Palm Beach

Located a little further north but still only 4.3 miles from the port, you’ll find Palm Beach. Thanks to its proximity to some of the island’s many resorts, there are plenty of bars and restaurants.

It’s also very close to the Bubali Bird Sanctuary, where you can view some of the many tropical birds that call Aruba home, like flamingos and snowy egrets. 

Surfside Beach

Surfside Beach
Surfside Beach (Photo Credit: Hans Wagemaker)

If you want a quieter beach, Surfside Beach has a more relaxed atmosphere. Located just 1.5 miles from the port, it’s also a good option for those with limited time. With a few beachside bars, it’s a lovely beach to enjoy a relaxing drink and watch the surfers. 

For those willing to travel a little further outside the port, the whole of Aruba is relatively accessible. The following are just some of the popular attractions that are worth taking a taxi to: 

Conchi Natural Pool

Located nearly 8 miles from the port, this natural saltwater pool is incredibly beautiful. Splashing in the pool is also a great way to cap off a hike around the island’s northern conservation area. 

Aruba Butterfly Farm

Aruba Butterfly Farm
Aruba Butterfly Farm (Photo Credit: Yingna Cai)

Located just a few minutes walk from the north side of Eagle Beach, the Butterfly Farm is just 3.8 miles from the port. Step into a tropical garden and get swarmed by butterflies from all over the world. If you’re looking for the perfect Instagram picture, you’ve found it! 

The Donkey Sanctuary of Aruba

Located 6 miles from the port, this safe haven for injured and rescued donkeys is well worth a visit. Not only can you feed the friendly donkeys, but all proceeds and donations go towards their welfare. Do yourself and the donkeys a favor and bring a few apples or carrots! 

Aruba Natural Bridge in Arikok National Park

This unique rock formation mimics a man-made bridge. The natural limestone arch is incredibly photogenic, especially if you can snag a photograph of the crashing waves on the other side of the bridge.

Aruba Natural Bridge
Aruba Natural Bridge (Photo Credit: Mulevich)

Taking a hike through Arikok National Park to the bridge is a very popular activity. At just over 7 miles from the port, getting to the park is not overly difficult. 

Dining Near Aruba Cruise Port

Oranjestad has a vibrant culinary scene, with a wide range of options that showcase the island’s bizarre blend of Dutch, Caribbean, South American, and African cuisine.

Sandra’s garden restaurant
Sandra’s garden restaurant (Photo Credit: Yingna Cai)

While you can easily wander around the city and walk into any of the numerous restaurants that catch your eye, the more popular options include The West Deck and Yemanja Woodfired Grill. Both offer dishes that showcase the island’s unique flavors. Another option is Sandra’s Garden Restaurant, which is within walking distance from the port area and next to Surfside Beach.

For something closer to the cruise port and with a more laidback atmosphere, take a walk over to Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar & Restaurant. Grab some fresh seafood and watch the boats come and go from Renaissance Marina. 

Shopping Near Aruba Cruise Port

Given Aruba’s fairly high GDP and booming tourism industry, Oranjestad is a shopper’s paradise. We already discussed how close The Royal Plaza Mall is to the cruise port, but plenty of other options are nearby.

Renaissance Mall & Marketplace
Renaissance Mall & Marketplace (Photo Credit: Ildi Papp)

Renaissance Mall & Marketplace is a more upscale shopping complex with plenty of international retailers, duty-free shops, and high-end luxury stores. You can also walk through the city streets and find numerous retailers, especially wandering along L.G. Smith Boulevard, dotted with jewelers and designer retailers. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Can you walk around Aruba from the cruise port? 

Yes, the cruise port is located directly within the city of Oranjestad, so its many attractions, shops, and restaurants are all within walking distance. 

What is close to the cruise port in Aruba?

The cruise port is located on the edge of downtown Oranjestad, so it’s easy to access many attractions, including the Archaeological Museum, Fort Zoutman, the Renaissance Mall, and Eagle Beach. 

How much is a taxi in Aruba from the cruise port? 

Taxi fares vary depending on where you are going but tend to be very reasonable. Plus, official flat rates are displayed at the cruise port and within the cabs themselves. Expect to pay between $10 and $35 to get around, depending on how far you are traveling from the port.

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