{Trip Report} Southern Caribbean Cruise

Warning: This trip report is rather long! It’s nearly 6400 words, in fact! I mostly detail my experiences in the ports of call rather than the cruise ship experience. I’ve cruised numerous times to the Caribbean and even to Alaska and the Mediterranean. I now have diamond status on Royal Caribbean, so for me, the ship is a means of transportation. It is not the destination. I do love food, so I will take note of that in my report. The purpose of trip reports, in my mind, is to help future travelers and to document the vacation experience so the memories are never forgotten. We traveled with our neighbors: Sal, Meow and their two little kiddos.

Day 1: PRECRUISE

The Sleep Inn of Buffalo, NY is where I laid my head the night prior to our trip. We had enough points to book two free flights to San Juan (a 400-odd dollar per ticket in savings), but we had to fly out of Buffalo, a two hour drive from home, at the crack of dawn. We like the Sleep Inn because they offer modernized rooms and an excellent sleep and park package (my opinion changed later… more on that at the end). My alarm went off at 3:45 a.m., announcing the beginning of our vacation. Xander popped up exclaiming, “See, I’m not cranky!” We had a quick breakfast, before meeting the shuttle. We texted our travel partners (who were flying out of a differ airport) with a pic of our exhausted, yet excited faces, and they returned the favor. Our uneventful Southwest flight took off at 6:15 and landed on time in San Juan, Puerto Rico at noon.

Ahh, hello San Juan. It’s been 10 years since I’ve seen you last! And how I have missed you!

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Old San Juan through my lens

Old San Juan in Puerto Rico, or Viejo San Juan,  is characterized by its 16th and 17th century stone buildings and azure cobblestone streets;  its history is rich, as Ponce de Leon founded it and Christopher Columbus named it. In short, it is a mecca for history or architecture buffs.

I spent time in Old San Juan yesterday and the previous weekend walking the narrow streets, peering into courtyards and shop windows, marveling at the kaleidoscope of colors, and tasting local food and infamous cocktails from a handful of small cafes and restaurants. The Caribbean sun was fierce, the sky violently blue, and the humidity surged.  Gazing at the colorful kites on the emerald lawns of  the sea-front El Morro offered a diversion from the heat. I definitely needed more time in OSJ.

Here is what Old San Juan looked like through my lens.