First time cruiser celebrating several birthdays and anniversaries with 26 friends and family. Arrived in San Juan the day before and stayed at the Intercontinental. Would definitely go back to that hotel!
Embarkation: We left for the terminal shortly after hotel checkout at 12:00. Took us a total of 10 minutes to drop off baggage, check in and get our Sea Pass. No problems at all. We were in a Junior Suite so we did have the convenience of dropping the baggage off at the special area and using the preferred line for check-in. Staff at terminal was very helpful and directed us to where the preferred line was. But even my sister and parents who had to wait in the regular baggage and check-in lines went through the entire process in 30-45 minutes. I was truly surprised after reading all of the terrible reviews people have given the embarkation process in San Juan.
Junior Suite 9268 - We were able to get into our stateroom exactly at 2:00. Our room happened to be directly across from the service elevator so after changing into our suits to go to the pool, we walked out our door and the RC staff searched the service area for us and found all four of our bags right away for us. The junior suite was great! More than enough storage area and loved how much wider the suite was over a regular stateroom.
Husband and I thought the food was great. Really had no complaints about the Windjammer or the Main Dining Room. People do need to keep in mind how many passengers are being fed at one time. If you are looking for 5 star dining, then Portofino's is available every night for $20. Our meals in the Main Dining Room were always delivered hot and I enjoyed everything I ate. I even tried several things I would never ordinarily order, and I enjoyed them as well. Ate at Portofono's Sunday night, and the meal was fantastic. Enjoyed Windjammers for breakfast.
St. Croix - Went to Rainbow Beach which is less than 2 miles from the pier. Could see the ship while sitting on the beach. They had a snorkeling area which was enjoyed by husband and a friend. Rented chairs for $5. The beach was not crowded. Had a light lunch at Rhythms beach bar.
St. Maarten - Went to Maho Beach to watch the planes land. Amazing site. Then did a little shopping near the ship. Enjoyed the $2 Coronas in the duty free shop.
Antigua - Asked one of the bar staff on the ship for a beach recommendation and he directed us to Jolly Beach. This was definitely my favorite beach. The water is absolutely beautiful. Husband and friend rented jet skis - $45 for half an hour. Had a wonderful taxi driver, Sheymore, who really gave us a great informative tour of the island on the way to the beach and back.
St. Lucia - Were supposed to go on Coastal Cruise to the Pitons but got rained out. Shopped around the ship for a little bit and then went to Castries Market. Not a great place - especially strange when you see police in military uniforms carrying machine guns. Unfortunately we did not get to see the beautiful parts of St. Lucia. Did enjoy the 2 for $3 Piton beer back at the duty free shopping area.
Barbados - We were going to go to the Boatyard but a woman at the taxi area told us to go to Harbour Lights Beach which is near the Boatyard and there was no admission fee. What a great place. Friends went snorkeling with the turtles on a private boat for $25 and they said it was amazing! Had a good lunch at the Harbour Lights beach bar. Can't believe how powdery the sand felt here. Seemed like there was nothing on the ocean floor but soft sand.
Got off ship early on Sunday since we had excursion to the rainforest. Took about half an hour to go through the customs line. Loaded our luggage into a truck and RC had it waiting for us on the sidewalk at the airport (with a guard watching it of course) when we got back from the excursion.
Only part of the vacation I didn't care for was the San Juan airport. There was no way you could arrive at that airport two hours before your flight that Sunday and actually make the flight. We got there between 2 and 2:30 after excursion with a 6:00 flight and was dreading that we would have 3 1/2 hours to sit and wait. By the time we got through baggage/checkin area and then security, I think we sat for less than 45 minutes before boarding plane.
This was definitely the best vacation I have ever had. Felt like a week long party. Already booked our next cruise for next March.