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simpson217 07-29-2009 09:15 AM

My cruise has a departure time of 10pm from San Juan. I wanted to be able to see San Juan and explore what that city has to offer. I was wondering if anyone knew how boarding works. Do we have to be boarded by a certain time? Can we board/check in and then go explore? Please let me know how this process works and what I should expect! Thank you! Sorry for all the questions... I'm a newbie at this!

Jim C. 07-29-2009 09:31 AM

Just went on this cruise so I can tell you from direct experience. The ship does depart at 10PM. They start boarding the ship around noon. We checked in at 11:300 were on board and eating lunch on the Lido deck by 12. After you board, you can then get back off like any other port visit (take your sign and sail card with you) and go see San Juan. You just need to be back on board by 9PM (they want everyone back on board an hour before the ship leaves for muster drill etc..) You can even come and go (we came back on board for dinner at our normal time)

simpson217 07-29-2009 11:51 AM

Jim C.... Thank you! That was straight direct and exactly what I needed to know! I appreciate that immensely! Any suggestions about what to see/do or where to eat/grab a drink in San Juan?? Let me know if you can! Thanks so much again!


Jim C. 07-29-2009 12:15 PM

There are many things to see depending on your interests. Old San Juan is in walking distance of the ship. There are several restaurants there as well as the "staples" of The Hard Rock Cafe, and Senior Frogs. The Sheraton across from the pier has a great casino. If you are into history, check out the Fort's (There are 2, both run by the US National parks)

You may want to consult this thread, where I asked the same questions you are asking There are some good San Juan ideas there. We had intended on maybe seeing the rain forest, but our flight (that came in the day before the cruise) did not get in until late so there was not enough time.

penny3333 07-29-2009 12:42 PM

I'm just throwing in a couple more to add to Jim's suggestions. The Condado Plaza has a really nice casino, rooms are nice too, and has a good bar. I wish I could remember the name of the restaurant we went to, but it's been too long ago, it was near Old San Juan, but in a high rise and you could see the inlet from there. Old San Juan is a ball, but watch out for the taxis as you're walking, they drive on the sidewalks. No brakes, just horns.

simpson217 07-29-2009 12:44 PM

Jim C: I read thru that old thread you gave me the link to. I was wondering what you ended up doing with the Champagne Bay snorkeling?? Is it that hard to access via shore? Let me know! I am glad to have stumbled across someone who has done the EXACT cruise I am preparing to take! Your advice is greatly's nice to hear it from real people and not a book.

Jim C. 07-29-2009 01:20 PM

If you like snorkeling then Champagne reef is a must. It is NOT hard to access. They built the walkway out to it so you don't have to walk over the rocks. (its a rock beach and not a sand beach)

We ended up negotiating private tours on each island. If you can find a group of people that want to do the same thing, you can get better deals. But on Dominica we just told them we would like to see the falls and Champagne reef and we got a tour that did those and a bit of the rain forest (which you had to drive through to get to the falls) and through the city to the reef for I think $30 each??? The reef had a $2 entry fee (you can rent snorkel gear there if you don't want to bring your own) and the falls had an entry fee. But the same tour minus the reef was like $90 a head from the ship..

The same goes for the other ports on the trip. We got tours on each island but we did book the Pirate Adventure and the Turtle & Shipwreck cove snorkel through the ship because those get booked up quickly. I recommend the Sea Turtle tour... (if you are into wildlife) it was the most calming thing to have a sea turtle swimming up to you ... (you needed to be facing AWAY from the crowd for this affect though)

Casanova frankenstein 07-31-2009 11:48 PM

Just a note
I had been on this same route 3 times on Carnival destiny and I live on Puerto Rico if you need any info on the island or the portsof calls let me know. As for old San Jan there are a lot of things to do.

let me tell you a few tips:

If you can be around 11:30 am on the Carnival Victory you can board ship around 12:30 pm I had done it before but remember that your cabin will not be ready until 2:30 pm you can go to the buffet but will not have the break to drop your luggage until that time.

For old San Juan

Visit this site it can help:
Also you can buy “Frommer’s Caribbean Ports” can find it on Borders is a great help on any of your port of call during this cruise.

Old San Juan is as for now a walking place (San Juan Peatonal) you can get a Taxi to get you near some places but is most close for cars since they want to protect its “Adoquines” and history. But there are a few trolleys or busses you can use free of charge.

El morro a Spanish fort and also is not expensive place beautiful, rich in history You will see it during night when leaving San Juan Port the very first night from your ship great photo oportunity.

Capilla del Cristo: a Christian chapel onn old san Juan

San Juan Cathedral: here is “Juan Ponce de Leon” the one of the pirates of the Caribbean he died looking for the fountain of youth.

The Bacardi rum company is not a bad tour, but is far from the port,My suggestion stay on old San Juan is cheaper and you can see it all in one day.

If you have the time, and want to try Puerto Rican food, there is one restaurant, the second best in old San Juan; the “Parrot Club” prices are more or less $28 for person depending on what you order, is in the “Fortaleza street” walking distance from Sheraton and also from the port.

“Café Puerto Rico” is also a restaurant but less expensive and more Puerto Rican is in old San Juan in the “plaza colon in old San Juan”

Also there is an imported chocolate Store in the old San Juan.

As for shopping most of cultural shopping you can do it in Old San Juan, there is a store in “El morro”.

Also there is the place where they invented the PINA COLADA in the old San Juan, Yes Puerto Rico is the place where that famous drink was invented actually in the Holiday inn in San Juan and the Owner of the place is the real deal.

Most people in the island don’t speak English but they can understand it so have a little patience.

Pointers on the islands:

• Well as For the tours here are few recommendations

? Book directly from the cruise line in case you have any problem and can not get on the ship on time they wait for you.

? check the carnival forum you will find a very interesting post about this problems

The tours, directly from carnival, which I think will help you if you are interested on history and site seeing, are:

St. Thomas

• Historic Blackbeard's Hill & Recommended Shopping


• Accessible Dominica & Rainforest Drive


• Barbados Island tour

St. Lucia

• Best Views of St. Lucia

Remember the tour of the ship of "pirate of the Caribbean"


• Best of Antigua


Romney Fort tour

Also in st. Thomas let me tell you there are a few things to do in st. John, It has 27 beautiful beaches so you can actually you can take a snorkel tour or even take a mix of sea and see so you can view the island and also pass the day there swimming.

Dominica is a poor island but there is a good bazaar outside the ship and good prices

Also there is in Barbados a power boat great Fun Idea but an expensive one!!! at least in our case, in our last cruise we took the Barbados Island Tour, Is better if you like site seen, but there is also “the explorer submarine” in Barbados Great experience also you can see old ships, almost like when you snorkel.

I hope this help...

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