We love a cruise leaving from San Juan so that we may see that great city. We arrived a few days early and rented a condo from Fred Pappalardo. It is directly on the beach in Condado, right in the thick of the activity, but also in a quiet building. We went to another beach in the city, and I'm not telling the name so you'll have to figure it out for yourself, it starts with "E"! We have already rented the condo for next year.
We love Puerto Rican food, but for a nice diversion, try Ali Baba. Very handy to the Stella Maris condo we rented or any of the Condado hotels.
Embarkation went very smoothly at 3:30 for our 8:30 departure. There were no lines and we got right on the ship and into our cabin #1390. The cabin was very average but it includes a great oversized balcony. While very clean, the cabin needs a facelift. But I'm not very bothered by fraying carpet when I have such a super view from my balcony.
The highlight of the ports was St Thomas because we got to spend our day with Island Wilson Excursions. This is always the highlight of our vacation. Captain Wilson does a great job of making the most of your day out exploring the Virgin Islands, but also keeps you calm about getting back to the ship on time. There is more on our perfect day in our port/excursion review.
We also visited Aruba which we found very packed with people, but we're convinced that if you could lose the crowds the beaches would be beautiful.
St Kitts was a lovely port. We spent the day at Carambola Beach Club which has a quiet location on South Friar's and plush beach chairs. For lunch we walked down the beach to Jam Rock for the best meal of our cruise. Jerk pork and conch fritters!
Our time on Curacao was also very good. With so many beaches to choose I was at a loss, until I found Irie Tours All-West Beach-hopping Tour. We went to three of the best beaches, the national park, and had a great local lunch at an historic plantation. More on that in our port/excursion review.
The meals, both formal and casual, were your standard Royal Caribbean fare.
All of the staff was very nice and helpful but seemed overloaded with work.
Disembarking was also a smooth process and we were at the San Juan Water and Beach Club Hotel by 10:30 am. We can't say enough about this little boutique hotel. The staff is out of this world, as is the oceanfront view from the room and rooftop pool/bar. We will definitely stay there again, and it is a handy departure point to the airport when you have to go home.