Six of us left rainy Oregon and one flew out from Bangor, Maine sometime between late Friday night and early Saturday morning, arriving in San Juan on Saturday. We had reservations at the Hampton Inn, about 10 minutes from the airport and the taxi fare was about $6/pp each way. The hotel was very nice, with a great pool and swim up bar. But the price of $180 was fairly high and a friend stayed at a nearby property - Coral By The Sea- for less than half our cost. She said it was "okay" but not nearly as nice as ours. By 12 PM in Sunday we were on our way to the Pan American pier by taxi. Easy, short trip. Embarkation was a breeze compared to Fort Lauderdale- less than 45 minutes including a quick stop at the duty free liquor store right there at check in. Put a few items in our carry on...no questions asked. We were on ship by 1 PM and our rooms were ready. My sister and I had an aft balcony on Caribe deck, C753, and it was all we hoped it'd be...HUGE balcony(10x10)with a great view to both aft and starboard. There were 2 suites next door but we hardly ever heard our neighbors. Our cabin steward, Eugene, was attentive and fun to chat with. I'd book this room again in a heartbeat. Some nights we gave up the show just to relax in our "space", and being able to see the islands each morning as we came into port was incredible.
The first day at sea we spent touring the ship and just relaxing by the aft pool. Having sailed on the Grand class previously, we knew what to expect and headed right to the terrace pool area to meet friends and enjoy the view. The Cafe Caribe and Horizon Court buffet lines are right there, so it's very convenient to use as a rendezvous point.
Now, when I cruise, it's all about the itinerary and I really focus on the ports, But I will say that the CB made it hard not to want to stay on the ship. She's beautiful...very much like the Crown. The Piazza is definitely the hub of the ship and I was often drawn there by various entertainers that were performing or just to watch all the pretty people at night. The International Cafe had some of the best food on the ship (free until evening)and each morning we headed straight to the coffee station there for our AM fix of Jamaican Blue Mountain. I highly recommend the coffee card (about $25) for a limited number (15?)of specialty coffees, but more than you'll probably use.
Other things we discovered about the CB and found worth noting...on Monday night there was a seafood buffet in Cafe Caribe from 5 until 11 PM, but some crew members appeared unaware of that when we asked. Fantastic selection of lobster, shrimp and crab. We had traditional early seating in the DR and the food was pretty good, but I found the choices in this venue to be more varied and interesting than the dining room, so I always ate light early on and checked the offerings here around 10 PM or so. Oh - the pizza and the hamburgers by the main pool were also GREAT! Entertainment on this ship was better than any other ship I've experienced, except for the Crown. You can't possibly see all that's being offered, so it's best to check the "Patter" before heading out of your cabin. We really liked the comedians. Get a seat early in the Explorer's Lounge if that's where your show is, because it's nearly always full well before curtain.
Ports of call...I planned our days around what I'd learned on these boards.