Jason Daniel Shaw
What to Expect When Taking a Carnival Cruise Out of San Juan Puerto Rico
Old San Juan – San Juan, Puerto Rico
Taking a cruise out of San Juan for most people is like getting an additional port free of charge. Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States but it feels like it is another country in the middle of the Caribbean Sea and I highly recommend taking advantage and exploring it while you are there. There are so many things to do and sights to see that you should plan on spending at least a couple days before or after your cruise, or both, like we did.
Getting to San Juan
Getting to San Juan from the US is super simple, it is a domestic flight, which makes sense but not something that I had really thought about in the past. There are quite a few flights in and out from various destinations and the airport is a short 15-20 minute taxi ride from Old San Juan and the ports. We flew from LAX to Charlotte and then directly into San Juan. We opted to stay in the popular Condado Beach which is just five minutes from the Carnival Fascination and Old San Jan.
The Castles (Forts) of Old San Juan
There are many forts from the 16th century around Old San Juan but the most popular are Castillo San Felipe Del Morro San Juan and Castillo de San Cristobal which are both within a mile of each other. I highly suggest spending a day and exploring them both. The walk between them is spectacular as well and takes you along the colorful houses that line the sea front. Everything is so green and the people come out from everywhere around sunset to enjoy the beautiful views. Both castles are part of the US National Park Service and admission at one gets you into both for 24 hours so take advantage of it. The photo opportunities are endless and the history is just a bonus. We were even able to spot a Carnival cruise ship from the top of Castillo de San Cristobal but it wasn’t our ship, our ship would be arriving the next morning after this one departed.
Exploring Old San Juan
Old San Juan is not very big but it is so full of character that you could easily get lost for days and never see the same sight twice. We made sure to carve out some time to wander the old cobblestone streets, taking in the sights, sounds and smells. There were endless street vendors selling anything and everything that you could imagine, so many families out taking photos or heading to dinner and bands playing an islandy-tune. Getting around in Old San Juan is best on foot and the streets are uneven so bring a good pair of walking shoes – your feet will thank you.
Our Carnival Cruise
We were on the 7-day Southern Caribbean cruise aboard the Carnival Fascination (September 2, 2018 – September 9, 2018) out of San Juan visiting St. Thomas, Dominica, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Maarten and finally returning back to San Juan. Click on any of the links above to find out more about what we did in each of our ports of call or visit my Instagram.