It was with a lot of trepidation that we booked an Xmas cruise on SeaDream this year. We are not cruise people, we like sophisticated, unpredictable travel. We don't like things to be safe, and canned and sanitized. We decided to give it a go because we spend the holidays with my mother every year and this year she had foot surgery that made more active trips unpractical. It was a strictly on-off event that we were going to take with a grain of salt. Boy, did we get a surprise. It turned out to be the most perfect and relaxing family holiday we have ever taken. So much so that we rebooked before getting off the ship something we have never done in any of our other travels.
We cruised the Caribbean (and some fairly uninteresting islands they turned out to be, if you compare these destinations to some of the places we have been in South America, Asia and Africa, but the mix of the other guests, the out-of-the-world staff (sweet, efficient, genuine), the understated 'rightness' of the ship's appointments, the very very good food and drinks all contrived to make the trip unforgettable and completely addictive. We have been in touch with the other passengers we clicked with and they too are similarly bereft at being back in their real life. We all want to dream on. This is really the only way I could ever imagine going on a cruise even though other lines have clearly more interesting routes and more route variety. Next trip for us will be the Med from Dubrovnik to Istanbul. You always read people gushing about their trips and one can't help being skeptical but this is one time when I feel my superlatives really don't do the experience justice. Go! Find out for yourself!
We went into the rainforest for a hike. I would recommend this only because it is so unexpected and the guide, Lyn, is a complete nut case who is good for a laugh. They don't recommend it for kids but our 7 year old went and led the pack. Not strenuous at all. Not really exercise either as Lyn stops the trek to talk every 30 seconds.
We just loved old San Juan. We stayed at the Ritz on the day before the cruise and it is such a generic, rich-American resort so we were very happily pleased with our return hotel, El Convento, which is not luxurious at all but so pretty (an old restored convent) and right in the heart of spectacular old San Juan. It's a great place to walk around and soak in the architecture and the sea views. Also the food is very good. There is also the funkiest most attractive Ben and Jerry's franchise we have ever seen! Totally worth the stay and skip the Ritz (although do grab a meal at BLT which is in the Ritz- for the amazing potato skins and carrot cake, OMG!)
What's not to love? Well maybe the traffic around the holidays. Otherwise it has it all in Caribbean terms: beautiful beaches, pretty houses, winding roads, spectacular vistas, and mouth-watering shops and restaurants. We could have stayed docked here for five days and I would have been fine with it!
This is really not a place I would ever want to visit again. We did go to kind of a funny kitschy beach where there were a lot of very ugly naked people. Maybe there is a better less crowded place to go....
It's very pretty but pretty limited. We preferred Saba as a remote place. So many tourists and not much to offer.The water is the thing, of course, and it is spectacularly beautiful and just the right temperature.