Originally posted by matkanmich:
Those reasons sound like a company line to me. On my Honeymoon cruise (1994 on another cruise line) we got to San Juan at a regular time like any other port. As I have watched cruises expand over the years the San Juan stop has become a joke. I believe the cruise industry needs to take more of a stand against this. This is not some foreign country. Royal Caribbean and other lines should be able to negotiate a better time. Take the stop away for a while and see if they change their tune.
There is only a limited amount of time in an itinerary for a ship to travel between ports and the difference in that travel time is your port time. Ever been on a ship that just sat at sea waiting for a slip? Me either, they coordinate a lot of things in creating the itineraries and cannot adjust the schedule for what is more convenient for someone on the ship. If someone does not like the port time, pick a different ship and different ports. You'll get more port time doing Western Caribbean, it's closer. Want more time in SJ? Fly there and spend a couple of days before boarding a ship from SJ. Do an all inclusive resort there. But don't pick a cruise and then complain about the one you picked not being right for your vacation and blame the cruiseline for not creating an itinerary that is perfect for you. There are many options for vacationing in most resort cities, if this one does not meet your needs, find an alternative. Blaming RCCL for port times is a little like blaming them for cold weather on an Antarctic cruise or a hurricane changing your itinerary, I've seen both these complaints as well. Along with a demand for compensation from the cruiseline as though they had something to do with it.
I remember leaving San Juan on the old Song Of America back in 1993. The ship sailed at 10pm but they checked us in early and we had all day and the evening to do things in the city. The idea is that your first port visit happens before the ship ever sails.
I will have to disagree with the fact that cruise lines do not have any control over port times. It is just a wasted stop to be there from late afternoon into the evening. This is really a great stop or even a starting/ending point. It just seems to be a shame that we the passengers just accept the late arrivals.
I have been to San Juan two times as a starting point for a cruise. We enjoyed the city prior to departure and even with a post cruise excursion. It is a fun place to go. However, I will not go back as a regular stop on an eastern cruise. There are plenty of other choices with the southern or western.
I'm not mad, I'm just saying the cruise lines are the ones bringing in the tourists. San Juan needs to be more accommodating. If they want my money they will accommodate me, or I will go other places.
I will have to disagree with the fact that cruise lines do not have any control over port times.
Exactly how is a cruise ship supposed to arrive at San Juan from Florida by 9 or 10 am? In order to arrive at San Juan by 0900 with one sea day in between the ports is if the ship averages 23 knots. Ain't gonna happen.
It may surprise some, but the cruise lines do work together - along with the various port authorities - to set up schedules. There is some give and take. If RCI's marketing studies supported a daytime stop in San Juan don't you think they'd figure out a way to do it - by putting the two at-sea days on the front end of the cruise?
Here is another take on this question. Puerto Rico is a great place to visit; we have spent at least five totally land vacations of one to two weeks there, as well as a few days precruise. There is so much to do there. Why not take your next cruise FROM San Juan, and spend several days precruise or postcruise? Even a longer day there than the one RCL is giving you would not nearly be enough. Just my opinion.
Why not take your next cruise FROM San Juan, and spend several days precruise or postcruise?
Neil suggested that too. I've spent time in Puerto Rico and there is much more to the island than just San Juan. So yes - take a cruise from there and fly down a few days early or stay after the cruise. And most importantly - get out and see the rest of Puerto Rico! It is a big island with most of it being west of San Juan.
Shelby RC (Serenade of the Seas) also makes a short stop in Juneau,AK. We got there at 7am and had to be back on the ship at 2pm and that is nowhere long enough in Juneau, as there is alot to see and do there also. There was 3 other ships in port with us and 1 of them left Juneau 3 hrs after we did and followed us into port at Vancouver the same morning. So why do they do it,who knows but they must have a reason.