The epilogue; for want of a better word; to this cruise covers the final 2 days of our trip. Disembarkation day and today spent in the fabulous Old San Juan.
Cruise Ships are interesting places on the final mornings. The welcoming luxurious place you have become accustomed to becomes an inhospitable empty shell. It is the way cruise ships deal with passengers to get us off in a timely fashion to restart their cycle once again. From loud announcements in your cabin to early limited breakfasts to no open facilities you will soon want to be anywhere else.
Breakfast was the usual limited offering on final mornings with juices, milk & pastries running short. The welcoming Bucks Fizz counter at the entrance of the Windjammer was now a distant memory. Needless to say the chocolate milk did not make a welcome final day return.
We were off the ship around 9:30 after an unexplained delay in disembarkation. We quickly found our luggage, swept through immigration and was in a taxi within 10 minutes. On arriving in San Juan use a porter. They have access to a quicker US immigration queue and we were taken to the front of the taxi queue.
As we left in our taxi towards our hotel it was very hot. Perhaps it was a mirage but I am sure I could see a van getting loaded with chocolate milk by some shady looking characters. Where it was going & who wanted the ships supply we can only wonder.
Our Hotel was the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino a lovely 4 star hotel in San Juan. It is only a couple of minutes from the port by taxi. The hotel has good facilities including a fantastic rooftop garden and infinity pool. However; its cafe, bars and restaurants are ridiculously expensive….think 5 star London prices.
We spent the majority of the day relaxing at the pool. We could see Jewel of the Seas in port docked next to the Disney Magic. In the distance was also a Carnival Ship.
In the evening we ate in a franchised restaurant situated in the Hotel called Metropol. Metropol serves Cuban/Puerto Rican cuisine and has seven restaurants across the island. Food is not stunning but portions are massive. Overall it does represent good value for money especially compared to the hotel owned restaurants.
Our final day was spent in Old San Juan. Old San Juan is the oldest settlement in Puerto Rico and is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historical Places.
Old San Juan can be explored by foot plus the is a free tourist trolley with multiple stops across the town. The area has several points of historical interest including old forts, plazas, defensive structures and museums. The are also an abundance of markets, shops, open air cafes and restaurants. We had dinner in an outstanding tapas bar.
Old San Juan is a different side to the Caribbean than what we have experienced previously throughout our vacation. It was nice to spend a day away from beaches and the coast. However; San Juan does have an impressive coastline and I understand some spectacular beaches.
A quick taxi ride and a further expensive drink in the hotel bar and our journey to the Caribbean is complete. In the morning we will be travelling to the airport to start our long journey home.
The trip has been fantastic and we have discovered many beautiful places. We have experienced great food and have met many brilliant characters. I last visited the Southern Caribbean 18 years ago and I hope it will not be as long again.
The epilogue is complete for this adventure…..until next time.
Final thing to learn
Why does the same shop sell t-shirts saying San Juan was established in both 1493 and 1521? Very odd!