My wife and I are celebrating a 25th anniversary and are taking Liberty Of The Seas on July 4/09. We will be in St Maarten, San Juan, and Labadee. Will we require shots to visit these ports? Also If you don't book an excursion what would you recommend for us to do at these ports? Are the ports in some sort of industrial area? Or is there shopping, restaurants etc. nearby? I picture it somwhat like Fisherman's Wharf area in San Franciso.
Les Paul Welcome to Cruise Chat. No shots required for any of these ports. Labadee is Royal Caribbean's private island. Your day there will be a relaxing beach and barbeque day. They have a zipline on the beach, volley ball, lots of hammocks and lounge chairs. You can rent snorkeling equipment and rafts. In Puerto Rico a quick taxi ride and you will be in Old San Juan. It depends what your likes are. Shopping, visit the fort El Morro, perhaps the rain forest. In St Maarten there is some shopping just down the pier or you can take a water taxi across to the main town. There are several island tours offered. When you get off the ship and walk down the pier toward the water taxi there is a large sign which shows different island tours you can take. You might want to check out Royal Caribbean's website under shore excursions to get a better idea what they offer in each port. You might also want to scroll down right on this site to the Caribbean port section.
I went on the Liberty last June. It's a great ship. Congratulations on 25 years.
Hi LesPaul, welcome to Cruise-Chat. Congratulations on your anniversary and cruise. What a fantastic way to celebrate. There will be no shots required to visit the ports you are visiting. I haven't seen a port in the Caribbean that has reminded me of Fisherman's Wharf. San Juan will be the closest thing to an industrial area. Labadee is their private island and St. Maarten is a pretty nice dock. There's a beach right off to the left of the dock in St. Maarten.
You don't have to book a ship's excursion for any of your ports. We do if we haven't been there before, usually. In the ports you're visiting, you'll be more than safe. Orient Beach is the biggie in St. Maarten, Maho Beach is where the jets land really close to the beach. We also did the America's Cup Race there that was a hoot (through the ship). A bunch of tourists manning a sailing yacht! In San Juan, visit Old San Juan or the Bacardi Factory Tour. The rain forest tour in San Juan is nice, too. Labadee is a great beach day.
Happy anniversary, happy sailing and once again, welcome aboard!
You do, but it is usually invisible and handled by the ship's staff. On a couple of cruises where we visited a foreign port prior to the Virgin Islands, a Customs team came aboard and we did a walk through wave of passports before the ship docked. I was on your itinerary last year and don't recall doing anything special in San Juan. The usual drill for the Caribbean is the ship docks (or anchors if it is a tendering port), and within 30 minutes there will be an announcement that the ship has been cleared and guests can go ashore. You don't stand in any customs lines ashore like it was an international airport.
Going ashore, you will need to have your cruise card and a photo ID. Please don't carry original passports around. Some of us make color copies of passport photo pages to bring along, but since Puerto Rico is a U.S. possession, Labadee is a private beach resort, and St. Maarten is a friendly place, you will be fine with just your card and driver's license.
Right now, passports are not required. Your birth certificate (real) and a valid government id (driver's license). I'd get my passport anyway. If you would have to fly home from a port for some reason, you would need your passport. They are suppose to start requiring them this year anyway, but they haven't started it----yet.