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Looking for some valuable feedback from anyone who has taken a RCCL southern cruise departing from San Juan.  The itineraries look very interesting with islands that we have not been to in the past and the prices appear to be very competitive.  I feel like there has to be some drawbacks that are behind the curtain which we cannot see.

Is the cruise mostly full of Americans traveling to San Juan or does it have a a more Latino flavor?  Or is it a mix of guests from many countries since it departs from the Caribbean?

Help please.  🙂

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27 minutes ago, BeatArmy2010 said:

We've taken a few cruises out of San Juan. The mix has always been different, but fun. I prefer to go the southern Caribbean . The worst part is the over weight guys in their skimpy Speedos!

Sorry, the following is NOT valuable feedback: I dunno, that could be affirmation for the rest of us! "See honey, you're not THAT bad!" 

 

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We have done the San Juan departures many times.  I can't really think of any drawbacks aside from the obvious...it's expensive to fly to San Juan.  The last time we did this (April of this year) we stayed at a hotel using comp rewards so I can't comment on hotel costs with any current data.  These southern Caribbean itins generally pack in a lot of ports and I generally prefer more sea days but that is a personal preference.  Cruising in this part of the Caribbean during hurricane season can be a bit riskier than other parts of the Caribbean but only slightly.  Actually, the western southern Caribbean (ABC islands, primarily) are fairly exempt from hurricanes so perhaps that is a plus in their favor.  These cruises do have a larger volume of Spanish speakers, given the departure from SJ, but it isn't a noticeable problem, that I have experienced.

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55 minutes ago, skwak said:

feedback from anyone who has taken a RCCL southern cruise departing from San Juan

We have done three cruises out of San Juan. As mentioned above, it is expensive flying in & out of SJ and customs/baggage claim was a real disorganized fiasco. We now drive to the Florida ports and cruise from there. One nice thing about driving to the port is no weight limit on the luggage and you can bring as many s you can handle. Next year we are on the Adventure of the Seas out of Ft. Lauderdale for a 7 day Southern Caribbean trip. We will stop in Curacao, Bonaire and Aruba. Check out the Adventure cruises and consider driving to the port. :27_sunglasses:

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We have done the Southern Caribbean twice (both routes).  As stated it is a little more expensive to fly to San Juan but the cruise fares are generally less.  San Juan is a great place to visit so if you have the extra time you can add a few additional days to your vacation.  I would strongly advise coming in a day early.  You can save money on airfare by booking at the right time with Southwest or JetBlue.

As for the mix of passengers you will get more cruisers from Latin America and San Juan as everything is done in both English and Spanish than a cruise that originates from North America.  Truthfully that makes the cruise a little more fun IMO.

The islands of the Southern Caribbean are some of the best in the Caribbean.  You can't go wrong! :27_sunglasses:

 

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3 hours ago, skwak said:

Looking for some valuable feedback from anyone who has taken a RCCL southern cruise departing from San Juan. 

 

2 hours ago, rjac said:

Next year we are on the Adventure of the Seas out of Ft. Lauderdale for a 7 day Southern Caribbean trip. We will stop in Curacao, Bonaire and Aruba. Check out the Adventure cruises and consider driving to the port.

We sailed Adventure out of San Juan on the 7 night in 2017. We are boarding her again for a 12 nighter in May out of Fort Lauderdale. It's a great ship and a great staff. The one thing that we truly disliked (hopefully it changed now) about sailing her out of San Juan was that everyone had to stand outside in the heat and humidity while they did the muster TWICE--once in English and once in Spanish. We were all crowded out there suffering for over an hour. Certainly not a great way to start a cruise. All announcements  on the cruise were made twice. That was understandable, but there really should have been two separate musters. @twangster, you really do know the ins and outs--any thoughts on the feasibility of having the English and Spanish musters one after the other, but separately? My only thought is that it may make it too difficult for the staff to verify that everyone actually attended and still make sail away on time.

On the other hand, having the day to explore San Juan and sailing out of there in the darkness was magnificent.

2 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

These southern Caribbean itins generally pack in a lot of ports and I generally prefer more sea days

@WAAAYTOOO, this 12 nighter is perfect--2 sea days, Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, sea day, Antigua, St Thomas, 3 sea days. So 5 ports and 6 sea days. It departs Ft Lauderdale and ends in Cape Liberty, NJ (that's right--I know that deep down you love NJ!😀)

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As others have mentioned, airfare is expensive. If the sailing is within this year I’d check airfare before booking the cruise. If further than that have it priced out with the refundable deposit, it may be a bit more but if airfare is outrageous (just ask those on the Freedom group cruise) you can cancel and get your money back. 

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We love sailing from San Juan - the guest complement is more diverse, which is great. The ABC islands are amongst our favourites and we don't mind the lower number of sea days. Air fare is not a big issue for us as we are flying from the UK so the price difference between flying to Miami or San Juan is not significant. We always fly to San Juan at least one day early so we can see a little more of the area; hotel prices are not cheap but we have never been disappointed (even in the season following the hurricane).

The only aspects that have been less than ideal both concern the airport on the return journey. There is a bit of an anomaly concerning pre-screening of all luggage when entering the airport. The signs do not make it clear that all luggage has to be screened and then re-collected before checking in. It is easy to bypass this screening but then you will be sent back when checking in. But this was minor. More serious was when our son flew back from San Juan on United. The queue (line) wound through the whole terminal and out of the door. It took him over 4 hours to check in! He would have missed his flight had it not been seriously delayed.

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Cruised out of San Juan last year on Freedom and it was great. 

Stayed for 2 nights prior to cruise and i must say San Juan is one of the nicest friendliest places i have visited.

The cruise itself was fantastic and in all honesty the Puerto Rican's helped make it fantastic by creating a party atmosphere wherever they went. Each port of call they filed off ship behind band and national flags 

Next cruise is also out of San Juan to ABC Islands and i cant wait 🙂  

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13 hours ago, JohnUK said:

Air fare is not a big issue for us as we are flying from the UK so the price difference between flying to Miami or San Juan is not significant. We always fly to San Juan at least one day early so we can see a little more of the area; hotel prices are not cheap but we have never been disappointed (even in the season following the hurricane).

 

Wish i could get my wife to do this 🙂 every time we fly over the pond we MUST stop off in NYC for shopping 😞 so for me it's flights from UK to NYC then down to PR then back to NYC after cruise for a few days shopping 😭😭

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With respect to our Puerto Rican neighbors, even before the hurricane devastation, much of the island is poverty stricken and ill kept. Much of it feels dirty and unsafe.

With that out of the way there are some very nice tourist areas and resorts. Castillo del Morro (a world heritage site) and some of the shopping near by are very nice. Saint Thomas is is also near by and a day trip by boat can give you a whole new island to explore before or after your cruise.

The southern Caribbean is my favorite Caribbean cruise. Saint Lucia is absolutely beautiful.  Many of the stops have a less touristy feel and have more of that tropical island getaway vibe.

I pretty much always like to get to the departure port a day early and spend the night. It makes for a far less hectic and stressful departure knowing you are close to the ship and have plenty of time to get on board. Puerto Rico is no different.

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We absolutely love sailing from San Juan. We sail from there almost every January. The more expensive airfare is worth it to us! We can escape the Kansas City winter in January and immediately be in 85 degree weather as soon as we get there. There is no waiting for it to warm up as you leave another more northern port. We usually make it a back to back sailing because once you have paid for the airfare, you might as well tack on another week for not that much more $! We LOVE port days and getting to visit a different island 6 out of 7 days is amazing! Some people may see it as a negative that the bigger, newer ships don't go out of San Juan. We love Freedom of the Seas and would never say anything negative about it. It will be refurbished January 2020 so that is something to look forward to!

Let me know if you have any questions as we have done both routes and all of the islands many times over. You WON'T be disappointed. 

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On 6/16/2019 at 5:13 PM, Ditchdoc said:

No doubt and I do not disagree. The thread was about Puerto Rico and the Southern Caribbean so ....

do not disagree that this post was about Puerto Rico and the Southern Caribbean so, was simply pointing out that  Puerto Rico and the Southern Caribbean are  no different to anywhere else in the world with regards to cleanliness and safety..in fact San Juan is probably a lot cleaner and safer that some of the big cities across the world so.....

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On 6/16/2019 at 8:31 AM, lauraodonnell86 said:

We absolutely love sailing from San Juan. We sail from there almost every January. The more expensive airfare is worth it to us! We can escape the Kansas City winter in January and immediately be in 85 degree weather as soon as we get there. There is no waiting for it to warm up as you leave another more northern port. We usually make it a back to back sailing because once you have paid for the airfare, you might as well tack on another week for not that much more $! We LOVE port days and getting to visit a different island 6 out of 7 days is amazing! Some people may see it as a negative that the bigger, newer ships don't go out of San Juan. We love Freedom of the Seas and would never say anything negative about it. It will be refurbished January 2020 so that is something to look forward to!

Let me know if you have any questions as we have done both routes and all of the islands many times over. You WON'T be disappointed. 

What airline do you fly to SJ? Im curious bc I know SW flies out of MCI i figured that would help with the cost (including the cost of luggage that is)

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13 minutes ago, FloridaCruiseGirl1210 said:

What airline do you fly to SJ? Im curious bc I know SW flies out of MCI i figured that would help with the cost (including the cost of luggage that is)

We aren't really picky about which airline we fly with, we usually just pick the cheapest. We find SW to actually to be more expensive than the others but I guess I don't take off the baggage that other carriers charge. We are booked for this coming NYE and flights are around $1000 per person right now 😵

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12 minutes ago, lauraodonnell86 said:

We aren't really picky about which airline we fly with, we usually just pick the cheapest. We find SW to actually to be more expensive than the others but I guess I don't take off the baggage that other carriers charge. We are booked for this coming NYE and flights are around $1000 per person right now 😵

Yowza! We fly through MCI to get to visit my BFs family and normally its cheaper. 

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48 minutes ago, lauraodonnell86 said:

We aren't really picky about which airline we fly with, we usually just pick the cheapest. We find SW to actually to be more expensive than the others but I guess I don't take off the baggage that other carriers charge. We are booked for this coming NYE and flights are around $1000 per person right now 😵

Xmas and NYE is often an expensive time to fly.  Hotels, cruise fare, airfare, they are all more over holidays.  

I generally find San Juan cruises less than Florida cruises so the savings in cruise fare often pays for the airfare difference in San Juan.  The other benefit to San Juan cruises is an extra port to start with.  San Juan is one of my favorites ports so that's a win even before the cruise has started.

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On ‎6‎/‎16‎/‎2019 at 5:08 AM, Ray said:

Stayed for 2 nights prior to cruise and i must say San Juan is one of the nicest friendliest places i have visited.

We did the same thing Ray did and loved it.  We stayed at the El San Juan Hotel - and that was great too.  Using cabs were a breeze.  AND how can you not stop at the Restaurant Barrachina (birth place of the Pina Colada - at least that is on the plaque).  Also, the Flamenco Show is worth it.  Ole'

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6 minutes ago, twangster said:

Xmas and NYE is often an expensive time to fly.  Hotels, cruise fare, airfare, they are all more over holidays.  

I generally find San Juan cruises less than Florida cruises so the savings in cruise fare often pays for the airfare difference in San Juan.  The other benefit to San Juan cruises is an extra port to start with.  San Juan is one of favorites ports so that's a win even before the cruise has started.

I agree!! I'm thinking about just going ahead and booking the airfare and not stressing about it anymore. We will be flying out Dec 27th and coming back January 12th. Can't wait!

 

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2 hours ago, lauraodonnell86 said:

I agree!! I'm thinking about just going ahead and booking the airfare and not stressing about it anymore. We will be flying out Dec 27th and coming back January 12th. Can't wait!

 

Are you on the FOTS Jan 5 sailing?

edit: I just saw you are. How exciting! My husband and I will be on your sailing from St Louis!

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14 hours ago, CruisinUpinLife said:

Are you on the FOTS Jan 5 sailing?

edit: I just saw you are. How exciting! My husband and I will be on your sailing from St Louis!

Awesome! It's going to be a great cruise! We will be waiting for you on board! 😄 I hope your flights are cheaper than ours with coming 1 week later! 

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