Oh my word, what a fun excursion!! A short ride across the island gave us a chance to see the scenery before getting to power snorkel. I'd recommend this excursion to anyone because it was not your basic snorkel trip! We were instructed how to use the "under water propulsion unit", taken off shore and started snorkeling. It was simple and fun to use! The water was beautiful and we saw tons of fish. Going out to the 7,000 foot drop off was exciting too. We loved this and would definitely do it again. After getting back to the port area, we were heading down the beach to eat at Jack's Shack but didn't make it that far. Instead, we stopped at a little beach side restaurant just past Margaritaville. I can't remember the name, but we enjoyed the conch fritters.
Half Moon Cay is Carnival's private island. We tendered to it after picking up a number in the Venetian Palace. When our number was called, we proceeded to deck 0 to get on the tender boat. Leaving the island, we simple waited in line. The island itself is not a "tropical" island but the sand is beautiful and the water is crystal clear, but freezing! We didn't do any of the water activities but I saw para sailing, snorkeling and a kids swim area. Lunch buffet was good and the pavilions to sit at were nice. Be prepared, it's a small island and gets very crowded!
I'm giving San Juan port a 4 instead of 5 because we visited there extensively a few years ago. We walked around old San Juan a bit, then ate lunch at Raices, which we had eaten at before. It's on Calle Recinto Sur, just a few blocks away from the port. We also visited the Harley Davidson store which is just down the street from the port. If you've never been to Old San Juan, be sure to visit Fort San Cristobal. It's interesting and a nice walk plus you can take an awesome picture of the ship from there.
Let me begin by saying this is the 2nd time we have done VI Ecotours kayak, hike and snorkel and we LOVE it! However, we originally planned to do the Mini-Boat Adventure. We left our cabin at 9:30 to get in line to get off. First we went to deck 0 and was told the line was forming on deck 1. When we got off the elevator, the line was already around the corner and down the hall. We weren't too far in line and thought we were in good shape to get off and make the 10:15 tour. Within about 15 min, we realized we weren't moving very quickly. When we finally made it around the corner, we saw what had happened. People were lining up in both stairways, and around EVERY corner! There were no Carnival employees to tell people where to get in line and we even saw people getting off the elevators and "blending" in the lines! I'm not saying just a few people were cutting in line, but DOZENS of them! When we finally got off the ship at 10:20, the planned excursion had already left. That's when we decided to do the eco tour again. After about a 20 min. truck ride, we arrived. The instruction talk took about 10 min. then we boarded our kayak. We kayaked about 30 min. thru the beautiful mangroves then took a short hike (it's actually a walk on a trail) to the edge of the island to an area called Red Point Cliff. We loved it there and didn't want to leave! After a walk back to our kayaks, we snorkeled about 20 min. or so. It is fair snorkeling. Then we kayaked back, rode back to the ship, went onboard to change clothes and grab a snack and still had time to do some shopping at the pier.