ACE Aruba Certified Expert Convention
The 2009 ACE Aruba Certified Expert Convention was held Jun.25-29. This was my 4th trip to Aruba and my 3rd ACE convention. I had the pleasure of being hosted by the Radisson Aruba Resort & Casino. I had a wonderful room on the Executive floor. One of the nice things about the Executive floor is the private lounge that serves continental breakfast, afternoon tea and an early evening happy hour. Although my schedule did not allow for time to enjoy this except one or twice, I did have the opportunity to experience it. I would highly recommend this extra level of attention.
We had a very full schedule which began as soon as we arrived (3 hours late thanks to American Airlines and lost luggage, too). We had a site inspection of the Westin Aruba and a lovely coktail rception. Then we were off to the Tattoo, for a fun evening. The Tatto is an Aruba party boat, and let me tell you, they know how to party! We were entertained by a cast of dancers & entertainers, including "Michael Jackson". We had a lovely dinner as we sailed around the island. The dinner was catered by A Taste of Belgium.
Friday morning began at 7:30am with a breakfast seminar at the Aruba Marriott. This year's theme was Destination Weddings & Honeymoons. Every venue presented their wedding finery. We had a tour of the resort followed by a presentation on Wedding in Aruba. Our next visit was the Renaissance Aruba Resort in downtown Oranjestad. This is a great location for vacationers who want to be near everything. Shopping is prolific. There is a pentitude of restaurants. I was really impressed with the Ocean Suites section across the road. They have a lovely pool with a small beach and wonderful suite accommodations. Although the main building is adult only, this section caters to families. I would recommend it for couples too, because all of the rooms have king beds in addition to the sleep sofa for the kids.
After lunch at the convetion center, we were off on an island jeep tour. Now let me tell you, this is not for the faint of heart! Over hill & dale, we traversed the back side of the island. It was a bumpy ride. A rider should be in good health with no back, neck or head problems.
Dinner was at the new Divi Aruba Phoenix. This is primarily a time-share resort with lovely accommodations. They have a very nice beach and had it all set up for an Aruba beach wedding. We also go to meet the "friends" from the "90,000 Friends you haven't met" promotion.
Saturday began at the Hyatt Regency Aruba for breakfast & a tradeshow. I met several of the islands tour operators, hotel managers, wedding planners and restauranteurs. Then a site inspection of my host hotel, the Radission Aruba. After lunch, we had a nice snorkeling trip hosted by Red Sail Sports. The evening activities were just across from my hotel at the "Village" a lively nightlife area.
Sunday we broke into smaller groups to visit an assortment of hotels before lunch and met at the Holiday Inn for lunch. After lunch, we went in our small groups again to see more hotels. The evening event was a real wedding at the Occidental grand Resort. WOW! If you've never seen or ever considered a beach wedding in the Cariibean, let me tell you, it's incredible. Sitting there with my toes in the sand at sunset, waiting for the bride & groom was breath-taking. The reception on the beach that followed was incredible.
Monday was my only "free" day. My flight left at 3:00pm, so I had a couple of hours to actually enjy the lovely beach at the Radisson Aruba. I got my toes into the zero entry pool, too. Then, off to the airport and back to Connecticut. This time, American Airlines managed to stay on schedule and didn't lose my luggage !