I Let JetBlue Plan My Vacation to Aruba — Here's What It Was Like

From hotels, to restaurant and activity reservations — JetBlue has it covered.

Scenic landscape of Aruba
Photo: Alison Fox

Sitting in a quiet and peaceful natural pool in Aruba's Arikok National Park, while the waves gently crashed gently, I enjoyed the morning view of crystal clear ocean water crested over a natural rock formation covered in deep green moss.

What makes this scene even more relaxing? The trip was entirely planned for me.

Cue JetBlue Vacations where a network of "insiders" — curated by the airline, which was voted the best airline in the United States for 2021 by Travel + Leisure readers — help customers make the most of their vacation. Travelers who book directly on the site are instantly set up with a phone number, a WhatsApp contact, and an email for the local insiders that guests can use to reach out for everything from activity recommendations to restaurant reservations. They're also given a phone number to set up a free airport transfer, which they can add to their trip when they book for no extra charge.

"JetBlue Vacations is your one-stop-shop for booking flights, car rentals, hotel stays and even cruises, all in one place," Andres Barry, the president of JetBlue Travel Products, told T+L. "Our unique benefits, including the Insider Experience program, are designed to make trip planning even easier while offering customers the convenience and personalized service often missing from bundled vacation packages."

Scenic landscape of Aruba
Alison Fox

The program is currently available in four popular destinations (Aruba, Cancún, Montego Bay, and Punta Cana) with plans to expand it in the works.

JetBlue is also expanding its vacation options as well and recently launched flight and cruise packages that allow travelers to book a cruise with Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, or Carnival Cruise Line. Like the other vacation packages, the cruise trips come with perks like offering to rebook another cruise if a flight is delayed and passengers miss the departure.

For my trip planned by JetBlue Vacations, I stayed at the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, a hotel that features JetBlue's "Very Important Perks" which include a $125 resort credit per stay. At other hotels a perk could include a complimentary spa treatment, guaranteed late checkout, or a free gift on arrival.

Activity company De Palm Tours, which works with JetBlue, also arranged our early morning Jeep ride of the national park.

Scenic landscape of Aruba
Alison Fox

On the island, I spent my days soaking up the sun and bathing in Aruba's natural pools, and for lunch, I snacked on hummus on the beach or settled into a table at Craft where I sampled inventive tacos (think: tamari-glazed Brussel sprouts on corn tortillas with smokey hot sauce on the table) along with fresh guacamole. That night I headed to Papiamento, a storied restaurant on the island where diners sit around a pool surrounded by illuminated palm trees.

The best part of any Caribbean vacation is undeniably the beaches, and Aruba's did not disappoint. White sand made from ground coral melted into turquoise water that gently lapped at the shore. Specfically during my stay, the sun was strong and I made frequent trips from my palapa to the ocean, staring out at the boats dotting the horizon.

When it was time to leave, I met my airport transfer at the hotel and made my way to the airport. As I waited for my flight to board — happy and more than a little sunburned — I found a small rainbow-colored magnet at the airport gift shop and quickly bought it. The colors were as cheery as Aruba itself and as I got home, I placed it on my fridge, a great reminder of this tiny island in the Caribbean Sea.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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