Dutch Island Dreaming
It’s rare to find a Southern Caribbean itinerary that doesn’t require sailing out of Puerto Rico. That distinction is only the beginning of what makes Navigator of the Seas’ new itineraries so different. Depart from Miami for a nine-night jaunt to islands loaded with the charm of Dutch influence. Oranjestad, Aruba, is packed with color, from adorable row houses to vibrant reefs. In Willemstad, Curacao, travel underground to see ancient petroglyphs along a mystical lake. And in Bonaire, you might spot a wild Flamingo – after all, this is one of only four places in the world where they breed.
The “ABC” island of the Dutch are Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. The weather is great, the people are friendly, prices are reasonable, crime isn’t a problem except for young girls who go clubbing with killers at beachfront bars in Aruba. The body of Natalie Holloway has never been recovered.
The island recently announced plans to build a $40 million cruise pier, the Tula Pier, to keep up with the increasing cruise traffic to the area. This will be the island’s second pier. The new Tula Pier will be located in the Otrabanda area, west of St. Anna Bay, and construction is slated to begin on November 1. MORE
Established in the mid-1600s, Willemstad’s covey of structures recall the quaint designs of Amsterdam, with exquisite 17th and 18th-century Dutch colonial buildings not to be found anywhere else outside of the Netherlands.
In time, as Willemstad’s traditional styles were modified to accommodate the island’s dry and breezy climate, Caribbean accents such as verandas, porches, fretwork, and shutters were added. The color scheme was updated as well, introducing a bright, bold palette unheard of in the mother country.
Additional Dutch influences include:
- Street Layout — Willemstad’s Otrobanda district is full of narrow alleys and wider main streets, reminiscent of 17th-century Dutch provincial towns.
- Plaza — For centuries, plazas have had many functions — most notably they were used for dining, trading, festivals, and ceremonies. Today, several plazas are in use as open-air markets in Otrobanda.
- Gabled Roofline — Steep-pitched tile roofs and neck gable ends are hallmarks of classic Dutch urban architecture. These elements sit beautifully in the restored 18th-century mansions of Scharloo and Pietermaai, and in the buildings along Schottegat Harbor.