By Sea, San Juan
Arriving or departing by cruise ship is common and a very popular way to visitor Puerto Rico. There are many cruise lines that make Puerto Rico a stopping off point, or a starting and ending point.
On my two most recent cruises aboard the Celebrity Summit and the Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas we started the trip in the Port of San Juan. It was a nice way for us to visit some of the more interesting islands of the Southern Caribbean and we were able to include a day in San Juan as well.
Cruising isn't my preferred way to travel, but it's a nice way to visit some of the Caribbean's islands, especially with the cost of cruising being so affordable these days.
There are two piers in San Juan, Old San Juan or the Panamerican Pier.
Depending on many factors of the ship, sailing date and whether it departs or just stops determines which port you embark/disembark from.
Here is some helpful information I found regarding piers in San Juan and the ships that visit, dock or embark from here.
1) Disney Magic cruise ship has San Juan as its HomePort and it docks at Panamerican Pier
2) All Carnival ships (Transit and Home port) docks in Old San Juan.
3) Royal Caribbean Home port ships dock on the weekend and at the Pan-American Pier.
4) The Royal Caribbean transit ship docks on weekdays - one in Old San Juan and the other 2 at the Pan-American Piers.
5) The largest Royal Caribbean ship of the 3 in transit the same day, will be docking in Old San Juan.
6) The Celebrity ships will be docking at Pier 3 in Old San Juan.
7) All Princess Home Port ships docks at the Pan-American Pier.
8) The other Cruise ship companies only have transit ships and they dock in Old San Juan.Many of the major cruise lines embark on their caribbean voyage from Puerto Rico as well.
Cruisng is a great way to sample many places before making the decision to make a longer visit. My wife and I enjoy cruising to new island to see if a week or more would suit us at that locale. I also enjoy cruising to a location for the sake of cruising. We both enjoy sea days and having the time to enjoy the ammentities that the ship offers.
We have cruised to San Juand many times and on baord a variety of ships: Explorer of the Seas, Emerald Princess, Caribbean Princess, Celebrity Silhouette (twice) and Celebrity Summit. We have enjoyed all these cruise lines but Celebrity is our favorite. We prefer to cruise with a balcony when we are on ships that offer Aquaclass rooms. This is a celebrity cruise line feature that I love. The room has special spa perks and your own special dining room Blu just for Aquaclass guests.
We took a 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Valor out of San Juan in Sept, 2013. This was our 9th cruise and our 2nd on a Carnival ship. Things were a lot different on this ship than our previous Carnival cruise, which was excellent.
When we appeared without any luggage tags, we were told to take our own luggage on board the ship to our cabin. We never met or saw our Cabin Steward - very, very strange. Our room was dirty for the first 3 days. There was a used Band-Aid and hair on our balcony. Furnishings in our cabin were old, banged up, carpeting was soiled. It was only deep cleaned after we complained to the Head Purser but the room was still dirty. Lido deck area and Buffet Dining area was dirty with ground in filth under each table. There was no service in Buffet Dining area whatsoever. Menu not very varied. Very little Asian or Indian food. Limited desert choices, seldom more than 5 actual desert choices. Very unusual for a cruise ship. Never saw the Captain or any of the officers for that matter, mingling with the passengers. The library,for all practical purposes, is non existent. The swimming pools were very small and very packed, not a big problem for us though as we were in port 6 of the 7 days. No information is given to any ports other than the standard spiel to "buy our diamonds". It's a party ship, plenty of booze smuggled on in suitcases. But- no free ship sponsored Cruise Critic 'Meet and Greet' get together. You had to pay - even if you didn't want any of the alcoholic drinks. Don't expect courtesy from any crew. No mandatory hand cleaning prior to dining. Only one of us got sick from eating the fish and chips and it was relatively short lived. There seemed to be an overall lack of ongoing maintenance on this ship and of professionalism. Over all, our impression of this ship can be summed up in one sentence: If Denny's were running a cruise ship, this would be it.
Service in Main Dining Room was very good to excellent and the food was very good. Presentation was also very good.
Still, in spite of all the minuses we experienced on this particular ship, let me say that any time spent cruising on any ship is better than sitting at home on a cold wintery day!
My wife Liz and I hopped aboard the The Caribbean Princess for a nine day Caribbean Cruise out of Brooklyn along with my Mother and her fiancee Hal. The Cruise Ports includes stops at: Bermuda, San Juan, St. Thomas and Grand Turk. I was a nice nine day cruise with beautiful weather except for San Juan and a great ship.
Princess likes to give the big ship feeling without it being overwhelming which is hard to do when the ship can accomodate 3,070 passengers. Princess managed to give us a relaxing cruise where we didn't feel rushed. The ship was very nice with 4 pools, several restaurants, a spa, various lounges and clubs, shopping and more. The Piazza area was their version of a centrum through the middle of the ship with retail , dining rooms, clubs and bars surrounding the area. The staff aboard were very nice and attentive. I enjoyed that this line attracts an "older crowd", less children and less of the party puking variety twenty somethings that other cruise lines tend to cater to.
We chose this cruise in particular due to the time of year and my Mother's work schedule. Since we have Elite status on this cruise line we enjoyed priority boarding and access to special lounges, free laundry services, free internet, discount coupons, free wine tastings, special captain's events and a 10% discount on shop purchases aboard the ship.
The shows and entertainment were great fun and we enjoyed the Movies Under the Stars. The food in the dining room is not as good as Royal Caribbean in our opinion but there were several nights that "Wowed" me. We did like that there were plenty of quick food options such as burgers, hot dogs, pizzas, sandwiches and pastries that were not from the buffet. The drink selection and prices were very good and we enjoyed the variety of themed lounges as well as pool bars.
This was a great cruise and we were very happy to sail Princess. We look forward to our next cruise with them which we have already booked while onboard.
The main reason why people will take the Cataño ferry from San Juan is to visit the Bacardi factory, but since tickets only cost 50 cents, others might want to ride the ferry just to enjoy the view of Old San Juan from across the bay. My only complaint is that the boats are fully enclosed - it would have been nice to sit outside and enjoy the view while crossing the bay.
The ride between San Juan and Cataño takes about 8 minutes, and there is a boat leaving every 20 minutes or so (in San Juan, the ferry leaves from Pier #2). Right across the street from the ferry terminal in Cataño, we spotted an interesting-looking restaurant - Don Tello - that seems to offer a nice view of the bay of San Juan along with a good selection of appetizers for people who are just stopping by (http://www.dontellorestaurant.com).
The Cataño ferry runs daily from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm.
Marian dropped off the other people on our tour so they could take the ferry over to the Bacardi factory.
For $0.50(USD) per person, the ferry travels from Old San Juan to Cataño. This region is known for its careful preservation of the local traditions and customs. It is also home to the Bacardi Rum plant, which offers free guided tours of its facilities, providing information on the history and influences of rum on the island. The length of time between trips varies during the day, but the following chart outlines the standard schedule Monday through Sunday and holidays.
6:00 a.m. - 8:45 a.m. every 15 minutes
8:45 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. every 30 minutes
3:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. every 15 minutes
7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. every 30 minutes
We've visited San Juan twice by cruise ship. The first time in 2005 on the NCL Crown, Hurricane Wilma kept us away from our first stop in the Bahamas, but that meant much more time in San Juan. We got a dramatic entrance at dawn and docked right downtown.
The second time in 2006 on the Holland American Maasdam, we were there just to reprovision - it was a short visit, and it was too hot and humid to bother getting off.
February 3 to 10 2002
As Hans and I wanted to celebrate our 30 th anniversary with a Cruise, we made arrangements with Hans' brother and his wife who live in Florida to take a cruise together. We decided on going with Royal Caribbean. The stops included San Juan Puerto Rico, Philipsburg St. Martin, Charlotte Amalie St. Thomas Virgin Islands and Nassau Bahamas.
We departed from Fort Lauderdale Florida on the ship ENCHANTMENT OF THE SEAS and our first stop was in San Juan Puerto Rico.We arrived Tuesday February 5 at 3:00 p.m. and we were to depart at 9:30 p.m. so that gave us plenty of time to explore the Historic town of San Juan.
One of the way's are.......Cruise Ship from Miami and then to all the caribbean islands.
San Juan one of the most Busiest ports in the caribbean.