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NicoleC7932

To San Juan or Not to San Juan

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We have booked for 1/10/2021 departing San Juan. There are others not yet booked that intend to join...However a few have expressed concern about departing out of Puerto Rico instead of a Florida port due to Puerto Rico still being in some disarray from hurricanes of the past 3 years. I don't want to have to start over if I don't need to but I'm feeling the pressure. Please share your thoughts on yay or nay with San Juan, especially during the month of January. Also the reason we chose San Juan was because we're going southern Caribbean and there was a savings on a 7 day depart PR as opposed to an 8 day departing FT. Lauderdale. As much as we'd love more boat time we felt it was best for us to spend a little more on time and money for the flight than another pp/pd charge for the boat. I'm definitely open to any suggestions, as I have barely any experience choosing this type of vacation but I value the experience on this forum! 

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5 minutes ago, Allen2 said:

Considerations:  Puerto is pretty devastated now - will one year make a difference?  Also: if you do not speak Spanish, note that often much of the entertainment is in Spanish on a cruise that originates in PR.

Funny, we cruise out of San Juan every 18 months or so; I have never noticed an appreciable difference in language between these itineraries and one leaving from Florida. 
This summer, in the immediate San Juan area you wouldn’t know anything had happened with regards to hurricane damage (and we were there the week of the government protests and had a blast) 

I would not hesitate to book a cruise departing from San Juan, the areas you can reach from there in the deep southern Caribbean are beautiful. 

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We had a port call in San Juan last week. Things were fine.  
 

I did a two tank dive, my wife and the other couple we were with went exploring. They had a ball as did I.  None of us noticed any problems because of natural disasters. 
 

There is a Walgreens right across from where we docked that was great for the odds and ends we forgot....hair things for my wife, charging cord for one our friends phone, shampoo, etc. 

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1 hour ago, TXcruzer said:

I would not hesitate to book a cruise departing from San Juan, the areas you can reach from there in the deep southern Caribbean are beautiful. 

 

Agree. We sailed from San Juan in Nov 2019.  Old San Juan was fine.  You can see some remnants of the hurricane damage on the taxi from the airport to the old town but nothing that will impact your trip.  In addition, we did not notice any significant language barriers on our trip.  Some people spoke Spanish, some English.  No problems.

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I can't say this from personal experience (yet), but I've heard that San Juan originating cruises will have the muster drill in both English and Spanish, which is really annoying to some who are already annoyed by the time that muster drill takes.  That's all I've heard about Spanish language issues.  But this isn't stopping us from taking a 7-night southern Caribbean cruise from San Juan in April, 2021.  We plan on staying in Old San Juan the night before in a quaint old hotel called Casa Blanca.  We'll be submersing ourselves in Puerto Rican culture before the cruise even begins, and I consider that a very good thing!! 😊

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I did a b2b over the December 2019 Xmas/New Years Holiday and San Juan was very festive and the natives were very friendly. There is nothing to be scared of but just go and have fun. You make or break your cruise vacation. Life is too short.

Just remember ... If "if's" and "buts" were candy and nuts we'd all have a Merry Christmas.  😎😎

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We just had the Royal Caribbean Blog Group Cruise over New Years out of San Juan.   The area has recovered enough from the hurricane that you likely won't even notice anything, especially if you're sticking to the areas of the port, airport and Old San Juan.  They need your tourism dollars!

41 minutes ago, Brobbins246 said:

We plan on staying in Old San Juan the night before in a quaint old hotel called Casa Blanca. 

That's where I stayed and I Ioved it!

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Like others have posted, did not experience Spanish centric language or entertainment on 2 San Juan originating cruises. First & only time not greeted when boarding ship was 1st San Juan cruise. Only negative experience was arriving at port pre 11am, as always do, and having to wait outside as terminal entrance not yet open.

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If you were planning on spending significant time in San Juan around the cruise .. maybe a concern. If you are just flying in/out to take the cruise, i would not have any worries. Keeping the cruise terminal and airport running for the tourism $ are high on the to-do list.

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10 hours ago, bytheslice said:

Like others have posted, did not experience Spanish centric language or entertainment on 2 San Juan originating cruises. First & only time not greeted when boarding ship was 1st San Juan cruise. Only negative experience was arriving at port pre 11am, as always do, and having to wait outside as terminal entrance not yet open.

Everyone has different experiences!  Our cruise had all the announcements in both Spanish and English and there definitely was a Latin influence to some of the entertainment when it came to the musical performers.  It didn't affect my cruise at all but it was definitely noticeable when compared to the rest of my past cruises.

Also we were told not to show up at the terminal until 2:30pm.  We arrived a little after 11am and walked right on the ship.  With the way that the port is laid out traffic is a bit of a mess when there are folks debarking and folks arriving, so I can understand them wanting us to wait to board.  Further compounding things,  there was a Norwegian ship also in debarking and sailing the same day so they had to deal with 2 ships' worth of traffic entering/exiting the terminal.

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I've only been to San Juan a few times but I did not notice the language thing when I cruised out of there at all. Hurricane season is over by then, you should be fine. As for how the island is coping I don't know enough to comment on that. I still would go...if anything you're helping to boost the economy there if you go.

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Another vote for San Juan is doing fine with it comes to cruising out of there. The media coverage of the issues the island is dealing with tends to overlook the fact that a great deal of the problems are outside San Juan.

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We loved cruising out of San Juan in January-it was nice and warm.  I should also note that we were there and cruising during the earthquakes.  When we returned-no damage to be seen.  We'd do a cruise out of San Juan again in a heartbeat.  The Southern Itineraries are amazing though we only did the Saint's itinerary and cannot wait to do the ABCs one day.  Flights can be pricey so book early and keep checking-we got lucky following these two points.  Have a wonderful time!!!!!!!!

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Was there just 6 months after Hurricane Maria on Oasis. They did a wonderful job getting Old San Juan up and going. Back then we had to be back on board by 1:00 pm because they still were doing construction around town. 

Just left on Freedom last March for Southern Caribbean from Pan Am pier and it was fine. 

There was a little more Latin flare to the cruise but those Latinos are FUN people with TONS of energy. 

The biggest issue right now is that not only are they still recovering from the hurricanes but 4,000 people are homeless from all the earthquakes this past month. 

They really need the tourism dollars. 

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On 1/28/2020 at 8:20 AM, AshleyDillo said:

Everyone has different experiences!  Our cruise had all the announcements in both Spanish and English and there definitely was a Latin influence to some of the entertainment when it came to the musical performers.  It didn't affect my cruise at all but it was definitely noticeable when compared to the rest of my past cruises.

Absolutely, different experiences for everyone! I was relating my experience, did I do something wrong???

I do not recall if announcements were made in Spanish as well as English. I know it bothers some to hear Spanish, does not bother me hence why I don't recall...in my experience.

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1 minute ago, bytheslice said:

Absolutely, different experiences for everyone! I was relating my experience, did I do something wrong???

Nope..not at all.  Just misreading my ! 😉  I just meant that my experience with the terminal not being open at 11am was the difference.

I noticed that the announcements were in both Spanish and English because I had to sit there and listen to them twice every time.  Apparently on MSC they do them in several different languages..I can't even imagine!

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6 minutes ago, AshleyDillo said:

Nope..not at all.  Just misreading my ! 😉  I just meant that my experience with the terminal not being open at 11am was the difference.

I noticed that the announcements were in both Spanish and English because I had to sit there and listen to them twice every time.  Apparently on MSC they do them in several different languages..I can't even imagine!

That's a relief!!!  I wish I had your pleasant experience boarding. If I had known the doors opened later, I would have arrived later but we did not have the benefit of being told that.. Also did not like that a second line was started  after the original line reached a certain point and those at the back of line 1 who had waited longer, entered behind those at the beginning and middle of line 2! 😖

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2 minutes ago, bytheslice said:

That's a relief!!!  I wish I had your pleasant experience boarding. If I had known the doors opened later, I would have arrived later but we did not have the benefit of being told that.. Also did not like that a second line was started  after the original line reached a certain point and those at the back of line 1 who had waited longer, entered behind those at the beginning and middle of line 2! 😖

We were told via email that boarding wasn't going to being until 2:30.  I mean it makes sense since the ship doesn't leave until 8pm..but I'm used to getting more time out of the first day on the ship!  We couldn't find any reason for the delay -- the previous cruise was disembarking on a normal schedule and some folks suggested congestion at the port since it was 2 big ships.  

I would have been mad about the line up snafu you experienced as well, especially if it was hot out!

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On 1/27/2020 at 4:57 PM, NicoleC7932 said:

We have booked for 1/10/2021 departing San Juan. There are others not yet booked that intend to join...However a few have expressed concern about departing out of Puerto Rico instead of a Florida port due to Puerto Rico still being in some disarray from hurricanes of the past 3 years. I don't want to have to start over if I don't need to but I'm feeling the pressure. Please share your thoughts on yay or nay with San Juan, especially during the month of January. Also the reason we chose San Juan was because we're going southern Caribbean and there was a savings on a 7 day depart PR as opposed to an 8 day departing FT. Lauderdale. As much as we'd love more boat time we felt it was best for us to spend a little more on time and money for the flight than another pp/pd charge for the boat. I'm definitely open to any suggestions, as I have barely any experience choosing this type of vacation but I value the experience on this forum! 

This is right in my wheelhouse.  To me San Juan is easily the best North American port from which to begin a cruise.  I guess it may not technically be North America, but it's easy for people from North America to get to.  With a January sailing, your chances of good weather are much higher out of San Juan than anywhere in Florida.  You get much deeper into the Caribbean from San Juan than Florida.  Most Americans have been to Florida many times but much less to Puerto Rico, so it will be new for some.  Nowhere else in North America is so much History concentrated in a small area as in Old San Juan.  The tourist areas are cleaned up and in full operation.  These are a few of the reasons to stay the course.

If you can go 2 or 3 days early do it.  There is so much to do there.  Be sure to go at least one night early because of weather concerns in the States getting there.

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