Day 1. We flew down to San Juan on Friday June 3, 2011. We had been to San Juan on a previous cruise but did not have time to see all that we wanted to do so we decide to add a couple of days to our itinerary. We arrived on the Friday afternoon and checked in to our room at the Sheraton Old San Juan which was our home for 2 nights prior to the cruise. We had arranged with Debbie from the Legends of Puerto Rico for the walking tour "Night Tales". It began to drizzle as the tour began but cleared as we progressed. Our tour guide Debbie was very knowledgeable and showed us many places and explained the history. We really enjoyed this tour. The architectures in San Juan are so beautiful. http://www.legendsofpr.com/nighttales.htm We saw many places and ended up close by the marketplace. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the marketplace does double duty: After the vendors have shut down their stalls, people gather for one large block party. There's More
music, food, laughter, and of course, dancing in the streets. We stopped at Senor Frogs after the tour for some nachos & beer and the required butt chair photos. Then back to the hotel. We hardly slept (did we sleep at all?) as it was prom night/weekend for Puerto Rican teens. There were so many parties going on and it was very, very noisy. Teenagers ran up and down the halls, screeching like banshees, banging doors, yelling, throwing stuff. etc. It was a night from hell. We and several other people called down to the main desk and they sent up security. They would remain quiet momentarily until security left and then resumed their partying until 3:30 in the morning. The next day we went to the front desk and we were moved to a quieter room however, we had upgraded to an ocean view room so they gave us a complimentary breakfast buffet voucher. Well done Sheraton. Breakfast was a lovely buffet style and the food was very tasty. Everyone we came in contact at the Sheraton was very pleasant and helpful. However they forgot to give us our Starwood Points.
Day 2. After breakfast at the Sheraton we did the walking tour of Old San Juan on our own and visited the 2 forts and other historic spots. The forts were really interesting and some wonderful views. We stopped for lunch and then we then headed to the shops along Calle Forteleza for some shopping. It was a fun day. That evening we were picked up at the Sheraton by Yokahu Kayak Tours for our Bioluminescent Bay kayak tour. We here told it was a perfect night for viewing as there was no moon. It was just okay. There is very little to see. Not sure what the rave reviews were about. There were a lot of wanna be kayakers that should stick to land. We were rammed several times and received an oar to the side of the head. When you are paddling against the current, it can be strenuous on your wrists. For groups with children I would recommend you look into one of the companies that has kayaks for 3 people or one of the boat tours. Several people on our tour had to be towed. The company was to take pictures of the individual kayaks and post them on their website. Well they took pictures of 3 kayaks together. Half of my head was cut off and I have no idea who those 4 other people are. Pretty tacky I thought. Later we were driven back to the Sheraton. Thankfully, that night was a quiet night and we slept. There was a lot of construction happening at this time as Obama was visiting the next week so traffic was brutal.
Day 3. We had breakfast and packed up our bags and headed over to the pier for embarkation. We were on the ship within 45 minutes. Our stateroom was not ready so we headed for lunch on the Lido deck with our carryon luggage. The food was good and line ups were minimal. After lunch our stateroom was ready. We unpacked and then we then disembarked and did some more sightseeing. Then back on the ship for sail away. We ate at the Buffet the first night and the food was good. After dinner we explored the ship and the art gallery and shops. The ship is beautiful with its nautical theme throughout. Seahorses adorn the railings, even the names of the swimming pools are of a nautical nature. We did not watch any shows that night as we were just too tired.
Day 1: ST. THOMAS: We had booked an Island tour with Henry from Triple E excursions. A Big Mistake! We waited on his bus for 40 minutes for others to arrive. He tried to get us to go with Godfrey tours but Godfrey's tour itinerary was different. Finally his Aunt & niece joined the tour and we set off. About 15 minutes into the tour his Aunt said she had to be back at 11:00 as she had an appointment. What the ??? This was supposed to be a 4 hour tour: 2 hour island tour + 2 hours beach + leaving 2 hours for shopping before ship sailed. [This is taken from his website: "We'll fit as many of the sights as possible into your schedule: Magen's Bay, Drake's Seat, Coki Beach, Bluebeard's Castle, Coral World, Mountain Top, Paradise Point, Fort Christian. And don't forget shopping for jewelry or souvenirs on the Charlotte Amalie waterfront and at Havensight Mall".] At 10:00 am he received a phone call that there were people were waiting for him back at the pier and he was turning around to go back for them cutting our time short. We were very upset so he located Air Force One ( Papa Bear ) to continue the tour. However we did not see all the sights Henry had promised though and had no beach time. At the Mountain Top we purchased a Pina Colada (expensive but tasty). There was a beautiful view from the observation deck but it is really just a large store. Later, Papa Bear dropped us off for some shopping in town and a little site seeing on our own. You can see the red brick walls of Fort Christian, Government House, second oldest Jewish synagogue in Western Hemisphere, then the famous 99 steps. At the top of the steps is Blackbeard's Castle hotel & restaurant (not to be confused with the Blue Beards castle which is on the eastern edge of town. The view from the top of the 99 stairs is amazing. Go to the visitor's bureau for maps & brochures located down the street from the main post office close to the waterfront. We then sampled a couple of Medalla beers and Don Q rum. Then we were back on board for sail away. That evening we had dinner in the dining room. Dinner was very nice. There was only one other couple at our table the first night. The dinner show was very good. The comedians were awful.
Day 2: At sea. We counted 2 chair hogs saving 16-20 chairs for their friends who didn't show up until late in the day or never. We went up to the adults's only area later and found 2 chairs in the shade but right next to the children's wading pool. What is with that? Wailing kids in the Adults only area? We made the most of it and just read and listen to our tunes. Dinner was the formal night in the dining room and again only the one couple was at our table. Dinner was delicious and the melting cake as always, so yummy,
Day 3: BARBADOS: We booked with Glory Tours for an Island tour. Sights included Harrisons Cave, Flower Forest Bathsheba, East Coast (lunch stop) St. Nicholas Abbey(Not really an abbey just a store to sell their rum), Earthworks Pottery. It started off on a sour note (they had overbooked and then passed us off to another driver who was useless. He gave no information on any of the sites. At the gardens he said you are on your own. Off we started down a path not quite sure of where we were or what lay ahead, when I overheard the other tour operator with Glory tours ( they had just arrived) telling the other group about the history of the place and then he was handing out umbrellas. We doubled back and got our umbrellas (and a good thing too as the heavens opened and we would have been soaked). He then took us to the Pottery place and did the same thing. He just dumped us there. We started to walk around but it wasn't very impressive. We then saw the other group arriving and they were being given a demonstration of how the pottery is made! So we joined their group once again. I had read bad reviews about Glory tours on this website before I went, but we had already booked. We made the most of the rest of the tour. It ended well. Harrison's Cave was the highlight of our tour. You ride on a tram down into the cave. It was just amazing. We stopped for lunch at a roadside restaurant. The Flying fish was excellent. We were then dropped back off at the pier. I would never again book with Gory tours. We purchased our rum cakes and looked around the shops and then we stopped for a bucket of beer and then boarded the ship. That night we went to the dining room for dinner and the second couple was there. We were still missing one couple. We exchanged our experiences from the day's tours and then we went to the show. The show was good. We didn't spend any time in the casino this trip, so I can't comment on it.
Day 4: ST. LUCIA Cosol Tours: 5.5 - 6 hour Island tour. We chose Consol Tours for the Island tour and snorkel. We had a great time and even though we didn't drive with Consol, he was present at all our stops. He's really a lot of fun. The food was very good at the stops and it was neat to try the local cuisine. There is a beverage van that follows you to every stop with water, rum punch, beer. St. Lucia is a beautiful island. We took a water taxi from Castries to La Soufriere on our trip to a beach between the pitons. There are a lot of stones in the water. Suggest you wear your water shoes. Once you got out further it was better. What a wonderful day. We got one lounge chair to put our stuff on and went to the Tiki hut for some beers. I had brought along water and sandwiches from the ship so we ate our sandwich on the beach with our beer. And then back in the water Cosol tours gave us some warm bread and cheese (straight from the oven)( to die for) . We saw the beautiful Marigot's Bay Beach where Dr. Doolittle was filmed, Caribelle Batik at Hewelton House; sulphur springs park, drive in Volcano and Diamond botanical gardens, waterfalls and mineral baths. We saw the 400 year old Samaan Tree in Dereck Walcott Square. The two forts: Fort Rodney and Fort Charlotte. We picked up some of the famous St. Lucian Banana Ketchup and Banana Wine. Note: The Caribelle Batik is very nice but very expensive. The Third couple showed up for dinner.and we exchanged tales of our outings. We went to the show that evening. Again it was enjoyable. Comedians were just so so
Day 5: ST. KITTS We went on the BEST OF ST. KITTS/PANORAMIC ISLAND TOUR with Rosevelt of Paradise Island tours http://stkittsislandparadisetours.com, for 3.5 hour tour plus unlimited beach. We were provided complementary bottled water, plus the entrance fees to the fort was included ($8. per person) to Brimstone Hill Fortress, National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. For those that don't want to do the beach they will return you to Port Zante where the ships are located, it's also the shopping area, 25 acre of open mall (shopping center). We opted for the beach and we really enjoyed it. We visited the Caribelle Batik factory at Romney Manor west of Olde Town. This tour was very good and I would recommend Rosevelt
Day 6: St. Maartens: We have been to St. Maartens several times. We stayed here for one week on a previous trip. We had done the Island tour to Marigot and Orient Beach, Simpson Bay and Maho Beach as well as Mullet Bay. So this time we just did some shopping and then some beach time. We had a few beers and then back on the ship. This was our last night. Dinner was again very delicious and service was wonderful.
Day 7: San Juan and disembarkation. We had early self assist so we went from breakfast in the Buffet and then took our bags down. Disembarkation was quick and we caught a taxi to the airport for our return home. Our flights were delayed in Washington due to weather conditions so we arrived home after midnight. What a long day.
The Carnival Victory is a beautiful boat and all of the employees that we came in contact were wonderful. We really liked the itinerary of this cruise