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Home > Member Reviews > denbroncs's Port Reviews of San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Maarten

denbroncs's Port Reviews of San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Maarten
Celebrity Reflection cruise in February 2013
Member Name: denbroncs
Cruise Date: February 2013
Embarkation: Miami
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Member Review: denbroncs's Celebrity Reflection Review
San Juan
Port Rating: 2.0 out of 5+
My wife & I had never been to Puerto Rico. The ship passes a historic fort as it enters the harbor. It is an amazing sight from the water. The time we were in port was a little strange -- arrived at 3 pm; left at 10 pm. Finding & arranging a tour once we were off the ship was easy & Maria, our tour guide was great. We saw "Old & New" San Juan and stopped at a few historic locations during the tour such as the fort. Two things struck as we drove around. The first was the large number of police all over the town. The second was that all cops wore bulletproof vests. While there was a sense of comfort knowing they were around, we realized this was not a place to get lost or a place to be out much after dark.

After the tour, we were dropped in "Old Town" near a market of hand-crafted goods. The shop owners were very friendly and not pushy like what one might find in Haiti or Jamaica. The pina colada (they say) was invented in San Juan. We found that location (which is also a restaurant) since it gives out free samples. Since darkness was upon us after dinner, we quickly made our way back to the ship - well ahead of the 10 pm deadline.

The history of San Juan is fascinating; the old buildings are remarkable; and the people are lovely. If you've never been, it's a port to enjoy -- carefully.

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St. Thomas
Port Rating: 3.0 out of 5+
St. Thomas was another port I'd never been to. Again, we found a tour guide to take us around the island. At the top of a mountain (which I believe is the highest point on St. Thomas) is the "home" of the banana daiquiri and a great souvenir shop. The view is amazing as it overlooks Megens Bay which is the most popular beach on the island. We were let off in a market in the downtown area. Jewelry dominates the shopping scene in St. Thomas. One can do very well if they know what they are doing. My wife found some diamond earrings for ½ of what they cost on the ship and 1/3 of what they would have cost in the U.S.

Wanting to escape the shopping, leads to a problem with this stop. Six ships were in port at the same time. Things were very crowded. That is about double the number of people that should be on the island. Finding a beach was not easy. Our guide suggested Emerald Beach which was not as chaotic as Megens -- but it was still very busy. We found a great little beach restaurant & caught a taxi back to the ship. Overall we felt safe the entire time. We were on the island from 9 until 6 pm. We'd visit St. Thomas again if we were looking for jewelry & if there were not as many ships in port.

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St. Maarten
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
Of our 3 ports, this was the most updated, impressive place we visited. It appears that the dock & all the shops are new within the last few years. We tried to arrange a tour with the guys at the dock, but they kept changing the pricing & the tour. So, upon the advice of some other cruisers (who'd been to St. Marteen 15 times) we caught the water taxi into town -- a short 5 minute ride.

There is a lot to do in Phillipsburg -- if we'd seen the island, we could easily have stayed in this area all day. We rented segweys, jetskis, hung out on the beach, and had lunch on the boardwalk. But, we still wanted to see the island & see Maho Beach -- famous for the close encounters with aircraft. We found a taxi to drive us around the island & drop us at Maho. There is a great little bar on the beach which posts the arrival & departure times of aircraft. Our time at Maho was some of the most fun we had on the trip. It's hard to explain, but watching people being blown off the beach and into the ocean by jet airplanes just did not get old.

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