We flew into Puerto Rico the day before embarkation and made our way around Old San Juan, enjoying the sights. We ate lunch at St. Germain Bistro & Café. There was about a 20 minute wait which was expected because it is a fairly popular spot to eat. The food and service was good. Nothing too exciting! We walked along the Walls of La Fortaleza. It is very picturesque. We then shopped and dropped some cash off at some of the local shops. We visited the Cathedral of San Juan Batista where Juan Ponce De Leon is buried. It is a beautiful church and a definite must visit in Old San Juan. We stayed at Hotel Milano. It is in the heart of Old San Juan, old, quaint and cheap, but it gets the job done for a one night pre-cruise stay. We had breakfast at Cafe Manolin and it was very good and inexpensive. Extremely good coffee!
Embarkation went smoothly. We took a taxi from the hotel to the pier for $20 including tip for handling our bags. We jumped in the line to check our luggage ($1 tip per bag) which continued directly to check in from there. Total time to board the ship was about ½ hour.
The Ship is in good shape considering she is 12 years of age. Does she have some wear and tear? Yes. Does she need a facelift? Yes. Overall the ship is clean and in good order. The promenade is bright and colorful and what you expect from RCCL. The three tiered MDR is beautiful with golden pillars and golden ceiling with plenty of windows for daylight and lights for evening dining. The Lyric Theater is a nice venue to enjoy shows. We only used the adults only Solarium (kid free trip). On sail away day we found loungers quite easily and hung out for a few hours. On the one and only sea day, it was packed, but after about 15 minutes a couple loungers opened up and we soaked up the sun with a nice couple from England. It was a nice four hours in and out of the pool. Nice and peaceful.
We had a mid-ship Deluxe Ocean View Stateroom with balcony (7312). It was near the elevators and stairs and we never had too much noise or traffic due to the close proximity of either. The room was clean and everything in the room was in working order. The room size and layout is fine. The storage space was good and allowed us to stay organized. The luggage was easily stored under the bed enabling us to use the luggage as a hamper. The balcony was great. I know a lot of people don’t particularly care for the design of the balcony on this ship, but we liked it just find. It was nice and private enough to soak up the night breeze (if you catch my drift) and enjoy morning breakfast. There are only two mid-ship balcony staterooms on each side of the ship that allow you to see both forward and aft. So, choose your mid-ship balconies accordingly. Our room attendant was good and he was personable. He left us our requisite amount of towel pets. We felt he pampered us well.
Shopping, Shopping, Shopping. Take the water taxi to the shops. Shop in the morning, eat at Barefoot Restaurant. Great service. They noticed some hair from the barbeque brush and gave us two free beers. The food was good and the view of the beach and cruise ships in the background was nice. Go the beach and hang out. You can get two chairs, an umbrella and 5 five beers for $15.
We hooked up with two families and took a taxi to the Lobster Shack - about 1/2 trip. Don't let the taxi try to take you anywhere else. This is a little slice of paradise you can have all to yourself. The spot is blocked off by rocks, so no waves just a nice man made shallow bay. We were two of about 20 people. It was great. The Lobster Shack is serves drinks and food. The quesadillas where very good. There are villas that are part of the Lobster Shack that is being renovated, so it may get busier in the future. We loved this trip. $10 for a taxi and another $15 for chairs and umbrellas. Just couldn't beat this. It was wonderful.
We took a taxi to Carlisle Bay at Harbour Light. Taxi was $10. For about $15 we got two chairs, umbrella and a couple of drinks. We hung and enjoyed the beach. We ate at the restaurant. My wife had a burger and I had jerk chicken with some adult beverages. Very good food and drink. There was a chicken walking around so I the chicken was real fresh. We had a great time at this spot. I would recommend it highly.