Regarding day before/after embarkation: Avoid El San Juan Resort in Carolina. What a dump. Beachfront and pools, (beach chairs are 10 bucks even as a guest on their property) but bad slow expensive service with a really bad, dirty outdated room in a ghetto neighborhood. Unless you like cockfights - yes, you read right - its just across the street in a cockfight stadium. Everyone knows that only the finest of folks attend. The best part - El San Juan trolls negative reviews, so they then flood sites with fake over-the-top positive infomercial-like reviews. One thing - they DO have Brother Jimmys Restaurant (based in NYC) and it was awesome.