Old San Juan


It was such a pleasure to discover the inspiration and the vibe Luis Fonsi tries to evoke in his summer success! Of course, since my husband cannot hear Despacito without swearing and invoke Satan to burn down the radio, I kept this information till we left the port!

The Horizon in its splendor!

To be honest, docking in San Juan is nothing extraordinary, the port is very commercial, there are very little to do in the immediate vicinity of the port. However, if you are willing to walk just a little, and I highly recommend you do this early in the morning, you can walk past the shopping area and get to Castello San Felipe Del Moro.  I would have loved to visit la Fortaleza, but it was a fair bit of walk (meaning I wasn’t sure we could get back in time for the ship) and I didn’t want to book any excursions because I wanted to experience a restaurant by my own, I wanted to have enough time to see the multicolored houses, to shop and to see the castle.

The multicolored houses are typical of San Juan and you can actually have a glimpse during Luis Fonsi’s video.  It is so cute and original, compared to our north-american houses where the most original is a light pink brick house!


When we left San Juan we had an impressive view of the beach and the colored houses!

This is one of my favorite picture
The bright and shiny colors are everywhere in San Juan!

As soon as we left the ship, we headed towards el Castello Del Moro.  It’s a very reasonable walk, but beware, the weather tends to be hot in San Juan, therefore, we made sure to walk to the castle in the morning as we could take advantage of the air conditioning in the stores in the afternoon.   There is nothing much to see at the castle, but it’s always impressive to see how those fortresses resist time and storms.

We hadn’t booked any excursions and haven’t regretted it.  Most excursions took you shopping or at the castle or at the fortress, you can pretty much walk to those places for free.  Other excursions would take you to the forest, and to be honest, it was so humid, spending the day in the « tropical forest » must have been unbearable!

After taking pictures at the castle, we went back towards the port to enjoy the different plazas and take more pictures!  The same stores are found in old San Juan that you find in others ports, Diamond International, Blue Diamonds, Del Sol… Since we are not seasoned cruisers, we are not bored yet with those, so we spent a fair amount of time running around those stores and enjoying AC.

When we were about to die from heat, we found a cute local restaurant, right next to Castello del Moro, where they served Mojitos.  Everybody knows that mojitos are the perfect refreshing drink!? We both enjoyed their Mango Mojito which was an absolute delight!  We also nibbled on some kind of white fried fish they would serve with aïoli and honey AWESOME!  And we finally complete this improvised meal with a generous portion of chocolate cake.

I highly recommend this restaurant if you ever go to San Juan!

Finally, after this late lunch, we headed back to the ship.  I can’t get enough of these late afternoon departures, the venture point is so amazing for pictures (like the colored houses on the shore)

La fortaleza which is located at the entrance of the bay, which protects the port.

In conclusion, San Juan would never have been on our places to visit, however, we are more than happy that we had a chance to stop there. If you ever have a chance to spend a day in Porto Rico, I say go for it!


New York Port and first 2 (oups, 3) days at sea

Getting to New York

Here we are! 2 weeks ago was the official beginning of our first 2 weeks vacations! We had never taken more than 1 week vacation at a time, so you can imagine how excited we were (to be honest , I was the one excited, my husband was more or less following the vibe) to be off for 2 full weeks!

Our respective suitcases ready to go!

The cruise we had booked was leaving from New York City, Manhattan Cruise terminal on Tuesday, June 5.  We had already estimated that is was cheaper to drive to New York rather than flying.  We have no issue with the driving factor, we consider this as a full part of the vacations.  My husband is also lucky enough to get a free concert, featuring a large variety of music styles.  From Adam Lambert to Alan Jackson, I’ve got you covered!

So here we are, driving to NYC, we had booked a cheap hotel in Secaucus, right next to the Lincoln Tunnel, so we could relax on the ride to NYC and take it easy on Tuesday morning.

Getting to New Jersey was a breeze and we were able to relax at night before heading in trafic on the next morning.

Driving to NYC and getting on a cruise means that you have to leave your car IN NYC for an extended amount of time.  I don’t know where you guys are from, but near the cruise terminal, there is no such thing as free parking.
You can either park directly at the cruise terminal for the affordable amount of 40$/night, but if you are willing to walk about 500 meters, you can park in a private parking for 28$, for the 9 days we needed the parking, it was well worth it!

This parking is VERY busy, so I recommend booking your reservation online in advance if you plan to park your car in the Big Apple.  I have nothing good or bad to say about the service we received, we parked the car, took it back 9 days later and nothing happened to the vehicule, so I guess it was OK, but in the end, what can you expect from a parking?

Anyway, we realized  that the ship was right next the the Intrepid which was converted to a museum featuring not only the ship and several planes, but also the British Airways Concord and the Enterprise.  We took a few pictures and decided  that we would visit it on our way back. Pictures will be displayed in the 3rd post.


The Carnival Horizon

The ship is quite impressive by itself and when you see how big it is and how many people are waiting to board you can do nothing but thinking : Man! it will take FOREVER to board!
We were too early for our boarding time, so we were promptly directed to Zone 11 after passing through security.  Zone 11, they were boarding Zone 1… yeah… we will wait all afternoon for sure… NOPE, within 1 hour, we had checked in, gone through security and boarded the ship.  It was prompt and efficient, just how I like it!

Better picture to come, NYC terminal is not optimal for Ship Pic!

Our stateroom was an interior cabin and we loved it! The fact that there is no window, it is SUPER DARK day and night, we had the most restful sleep ever in that room.  Some people complain about the interior cabin, I understand they are quite small and dark, but the only activities we conducted in the room was shower and sleep, so we didn’t really care about how spacious the room was, as long as it featured a bed and a bathroom.

Most important feature : king size bed
Love the mirror that has built-in light


Leaving New York

Leaving New York wouldn’t be a complete experience without the statue!

Days at sea

This cruise featured 3 ports of call : Grand Turk, San Juan and Amber Cove.  Due to a medical emergency that required the US coastal guard to evacuate a passenger, we had to make a detour of 400 miles, which cause us to miss Grand Turk, we finally had 3 days at sea, San Juan, Amber Cove and 2 days at sea.  I must say that I was BEYOND pissed off for missing Grand Turk.  My former colleagues taught me very colorful expressions to express my anger and my disappointement in English, but those expressions are not necessarily lady-like and will not be featured here.  Let’s just say that I was mad en tabarnak.

Anyway, as usual the food is great and there are multiple activities on board to keep you busy.  However, when I am on vacations, I spend most of my time reading.  We haven’t gotten wet once on the ship.  We haven’t tried, the pool, hot tub nor water slides.  We have played mini-golf and tried the Skyride once though.

The Serenity is a small section on deck 15 that is adult only. Unfortunately, people leave towel to « reserve » the chairs…
How cute is this cuban inspired bar?