Disney Cruise Line and Its Ports of Call LIVE! Guidebook

PassPorter's Disney Cruise Line LIVE! Guidebook
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Willemstad, Curaçao

Willemstad, Curaçao

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“Bon Bini, Korsou!” as the locals say: “Welcome to Curaçao!” This small island may be a mere 40 miles off the coast of Venezuela in South America, but it’s got an entirely Caribbean attitude. Curaçao is known for its sandy beaches, clear waters, commerce, and religious/ethnic harmony among the 40 different nationalities on the island.

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CURACAO AMBIENCE

Your first impression of Curaçao will be the colorful, red-roofed buildings lining the quay near the pier in Willemstad, the capital city. The unique architecture is an quaint mix of Amsterdam and Caribbean influences. Bridges, fortresses, beaches, and markets also come to mind when picturing the flavor of Curaçao.

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CURACAO HISTORY

As they were on so many Caribbean islands, the Arawak Indians were the first known inhabitants of Curaçao, populating the island as far back as 6,000 years ago. The particular group that lived in Curaçao were known as the Caiquetios. Some claim the Indians named the island; others think that the island’s name was derived from the Spanish word “curaçión”—meaning “cure”—when several malarial sailors miraculously recovered after an extended visit. These soldiers were supposedly dropped off on Curaçao when Spanish explorer Alonso de Ojeda and Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci charted it around 1500. After de Ojeda’s voyage, the Spanish came, found no gold, and abandoned it. Then came the Dutch West India Company and plantations were established to produce salt. Thanks to the island’s deep port and protected shores, Curaçao became a safe haven for commerce. In 1920, oil was discovered nearby, heralding in a new era of prosperity. After World War II, it became one of the five islands of the Netherlands Antilles.

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CURACAO FACTS

Size: 40 miles (61 km.) long by 8.5 miles (14 km.) wide (171 sq. mi./442 sq. kim.)
Climate: Tropical Temperatures: 76°F (24°C) to 89°F (32°C)
Population: 150,000 Busy Season: January to April
Language: Dutch, English Money: Florin) (1.00 Florin = $0.54 U.S.)
Time Zone: Standard (no DST) Transportation: Walking, taxis, buses
Phones: Dial 011- from U.S.; dial 912 for emergencies; dial 911 for police
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Top Photo Slice: Disney Magic in Curacao (℗ 53345) Photo contributed by © Jennifer Marx



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