Technically this is a 7 day cruise, but as it works out it's really 8 days. The flight home is at night. We chose to have the Old San Juan Historic tour. We saw a portion of it ourselves on the first day. This gave us a second chance to see things we didn't get chance to see the first time.
We chose the boat tour because they said that the luggage would be put on the bus with us, and all of us would then go to the airport. This is a total 100% Lie.
But let's start from the beginning of the day. Today is the last day. The night before, and the day before we packed. We have our own pillows, but they had to be packed back up. Because you have to put your luggage out by midnight on friday. They give luggage tags of a certain color to everyone.
After breakfast, in a packed Wind Jammer. We head to the Aurora theater after our color is called. Because we had the boat tour, regardless of when your plane leaves we get to go first. When you hear your color, you report to the theater, and they provide you with the right instructions. While they let the earlier crowd go, you can sit and watch an endless loop, of a silent show of Mr. Bean. The people from other countries can now get their passports back. Apparently they hold them for the duration of the trip. We need to get the permission to go off from the US people. We hand them our passports, a quick stamp on something, and that was it. No one asked about duties or anything, at least I don't remember them doing that. It may have been asked on a card that was in our room.
We were now allowed off the boat. The room that you walked through when you came in. A large, large room, bigger then a high school gym. Imagine that room on the first day, totally filled with luggage. Solid black luggage. Every bag looks the same. It is different when you see your luggage travel on the belt at the airport, but now, it's mixed together in zones. Those big color bands that we stuck on there really paid off. 2 bags were together, another was about 20 feet away. A quick glance and we saw them. A little girl tied a garbage bag around her handle, no problem.
Grabbed the bag, onto the bus.
Here's the funny part. They said to leave your luggage here outside. It's not going with us. It's going to the airport on it's own in a van. Later on, they left all the luggage OUTSIDE of the airport under a small roof. 1 guy guarded the whole thing. As I said it was a total lie. I was going to have my carry on bag go with it. I'm glad we decided to keep it on the bus.
We get on the bus, at least it was partly right, it was a city bus. And we were able to keep the carry bag's safe inside.
The tour guide told us in the start that if anyone is left behind, then it's too bad for them. I thought he was joking.
The first stop on the Old San Juan Walking Tour was the Casa Blanca Museum. A large courtyard and relics of times past. I found it colorful, and really boring. Because I'm only interested in pictures, and not their history.
We traveled onwards to El Morro. You better be in good physical condition to go here. It was a long walk, it had to be well over a 1000ft to get to the fort. This guy moved very fast, and he never looked back, and he barely let anyone take pictures of any kind. I was lucky to get the shot's in at all.
Inside of El Morro, is a long set of steps. Rough and uneven, no rail, at a fast pace, down the stairs. Many stairs. I almost fell down twice, as I was still swaying from being on the boat. He took us down on the inside to see that, then up to see another level. We stayed on each level for no more then 10 minutes. Then it was back up those nasty stairs. We stopped for a rest/bathroom break, and we were once again off.
Next was Quincentennial Square, and we may have seen something else in passing, but we were moving so fast. This square, was very boring. A big pole coming out of the ground. So boring, that I totally forgot to get a picture of it. Instead I took pictures of the local things like a flower cart and some buildings.
Then it was onto what we think is San Juan Cathedral. A large open building with painted arched ceilings. There were people inside. It was boring as well. The park across the street had more interest.
As a final stop, I'm not even sure if it was on the description or not was that pigeon park. We were there the first day. As we were already here, we were familiar with it, it had a homey feel to it for some reason. Then back to the bus and to the airport.
My recommendation: Get your luggage to a near by hotel, one is already arranged in the Cruise Compass. Get a taxi. Go to El Morro and whatever that big pink dome is. See that. Then walk around the town yourself. See the parks. You could probably see much more then we could. The tour is limiting, we had many hours at the end, all of it was wasted. Then get to the airport if you have a late flight.
The Flight back:
San Juan Airport is smaller then Newark Airport, but still pretty big when it comes down to walking to the end of it. We had a 5:00pm flight, we were there at about 12:00pm. First was the check in. Outside of the building, right near the luggage they left outside, there is an area to get your bag inspected by the USDA. Only check in goes in. It's scanned, and a small sticker is placed on the bag. Why is this outside? When I can then peel off the sticker and add fruit later on. And why not the carry on? Doesn't make any sense.
So we have the sticker, we run all the way back to where we started, as we didn't know where to go to find this machine. Wait in line, do our stuff. In line we noticed about 6 pieces of luggage, being searched. Piles of clothes, wiping down surfaces. I looked for anything common. Was there anything they were looking for. The only thing that I found was they were all junk. Light weight zipper's, colorful for the most part, just wimpy bags. When they placed ours on the belt, we watched as the guy looked down, was about to grab it, he saw that we had huge colorful belts on it, zip tied locks, and all bags were heavy duty and 3 of them were the same, they let them go through.
Next is the x-ray. They had me take off my belt and shoes. Everything went through without a problem. Get dressed, on to lunch. Very busy at lunch. Mc Donald's (finally real food), was swarming with people. There was a order line and a separate pick up line. If you find this place and eat here, there are tables inside, so you don't have to sit on the floor outside. They have the free refill soda fountain. This is a good place to reload on ice and hydrate.
We sat for about 3 hours. As I was sitting, I heard something crash to the floor. Hah Hah, it was someone's LLadro, a large box crashed to the floor. Sad for him, funny to me. Vacation is not the place to get this stuff. Finally it's time to board.
The plane is super small. Everyone had those free bags that the cruise gave out. There wasn't enough space in the overhead compartments to put my bag. We managed to use a seat in front of us for storage, as we were related to that person. The bag was under sized, and it was still hard getting it under the seat. The seat I was in was very cramped, and as if it wasn't cramped enough, the person in front of me tilted her seat all the way back. Not concerned at all for the person behind her. I didn't move my seat because I knew it would crush whoever was behind me. And I couldn't say anything because I lost my voice due to the illness. Some people are pretty inconsiderate.
We had dinner on board. I wasn't feeling all that great, and didn't want to chance eating too much. But the meat was pretty good, better then what was on the boat anyway. The roll makes a good wrist and elbow rest. I don't know about it's flavor, but it also makes a good stress ball. It took hours before they took the trays away. So I had a tray hitting me, while the seat in front of me bounced.
They had little TV's, they played some movie that I could care less about. If I sat on the left side of the plane, I would have seen an AWESOME sunset. But it would have been torture, because the camera was wedged under the seat, and I wouldn't have been able to get at it. Plus you can't take pictures until your at 10,000ft, and they don't announce when it's safe. The lights over the city were pretty, but my ears closed up so bad, I couldn't hear anything at all. Pretty painful actually. My allergy doctor says to use a shot of Afrin an hour before landing. But I didn't have any, and only found out about it afterwards. If I were an optimist, I would say that, I couldn't hear that baby cry any more, so that was a good thing. Of course I couldn't hear myself speak either, that was bad.
We get back. It took a while to find the luggage. I looked like someone drugged and tortured me. We got everything. We ran up and down, and up and down, trying to figure out were we are meeting our driver. He said to call when we got in, we did, he came, we left, yay we're home.
It was so cool, when I got home, I discovered, that when you turn on the cold water, cold water came out. And there was no funny taste. And when I woke up, the front yard still looked like the front yard. Trees had no leaves, it wasn't blazing hot, it was great. The room still moved though, that was annoying. And still is, its at least 2 weeks after the trip, and I'm still moving.