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About leighuf

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

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    Eureka, MO
  1. leighuf

    Old San Juan Lunch Restaurant

    It's a little bit of a walk from the OSJ port. We do it often but its a bit uphill. Plenty of taxi stands but it may take you longer in a taxi lol! If you are sailing into the other port (Royal Carib etc) then you need a taxi for sure.
  2. leighuf

    What to do in these ports?

    We've only once grabbed a tour on the fly in port. Otherwise we have always booked independently (after 1-2 cruises of ship-tours). I prefer looking on TA for ideas. In St Thomas, I'd recommend hiring a captain and a boat to go explore the area (St. John, BVIs etc). You can snorkel, beach it, grab lunch at one of the legendary spots on Jost. It is a bit expensive, so it may be your splurge excursion. It'll easily run $600 for 1 boat. In St. Martin/Maarten, we booked a group excursion with Billy Bones BoatCharters. We snorkeled, made a beach stop at Pinel Island, ate lunch on the French side, and watched a huge plane fly over us at the airport beach. A great value and a favorite excursion of our last S. Carib cruise. Only 5 others with us on the tour. For St. Lucia, many operators do the same the trip (snorkel, pitons, bats, mud etc). Check TA for those with the best reviews. Def book with someone that uses a boat. I'd avoid cruise ship tours... unless you like tons of people with you.
  3. leighuf

    Old San Juan Lunch Restaurant

    That looks so goooood!!
  4. leighuf

    Mambo Beach Crowded?

    YES. We were only ship there was well. We arrived around lunch.
  5. leighuf

    Irie Tours

    Last August we visited Curacao for the second time. First time we did the dolphin thing, found a beachside restaurant to eat at, and we walked the city area. This time, we had the inlaws with us (limited mobility) and wanted to see a bit of the island on the cheap. My mother in law didn't want to do the longer tour, but I did. She won. LOL. I'd rate the east side tour 3 stars out of 5. Yes, the bus is a bit beat up on the inside (torn seats and even a hole in the floor in the back of the bus). I liked the open air concept. The employees were fun and friendly. One crabby lady screamed at the driver 30 mins into the tour saying to shut the music off. She didn't want to be forced to listen to music she didn't like. Can we say awkward!? What I didn't like was that I felt parts of the tour were a little long and unnecessary and I didn't like the beach we stopped at. It was super crowded and the price of loungers/food was overpriced and just average in quality. It felt touristy and that's not my thing. We made the best of it, but I wouldn't do it again. We paid a lot of money for private tours on other islands so I did appreciate the cheap Irie fare. But obviously it came with a compromise.
  6. leighuf

    First time cruise from OSJ, need suggestions.

    Once I arrived the DAY OF the cruise (from Florida) and I was sweating it. So don't do that! Ha! I definitely recommend at least 1 day because things can happen, obviously, even in December with winter weather delays. A cancellation happened to me once, but I was able to get on a flight the next day. Because I had arranged 3 days precruise, I was fine. For flights, I would start checking now! See options (for price and shortest flight). I now fly Southwest 90% of the time and typically get airfare of $400 or less roundtrip to SJU per person with 1 stop. Now if you are flying during the holidays, expect higher fares.
  7. YES! We have used Barrachina twice now. Even if not technically "open" for drinks or food, someone is there to take your suitcases. Tip nicely! They are great and there is a restroom for you to use as well.
  8. leighuf

    Long Port Time 8:00-11:00 p.m.

    Former Bville girl here! I'm sure we know at least 1 person in common, ha! So, I went back to my pics to double check. We had an umbrella (front row by the water) and 3 loungers. We were greeted when we got out from the cab (beach access by the Riu) by a guy asking if we wanted a package, which we did. I believe it was $30. There are public restrooms right at the beach. The cab was reasonable. Maybe $20? I can't remember that number, so this is just a guess.
  9. leighuf


    How have I never heard of this before?!! YUM
  10. leighuf

    Wine purchase

    In the past, I have bought wine at Walgreens before (think Barefoot brand). If you have room in your luggage, I would recommend packing your wine in there with bubblewrap/vacuum packed LOL if you want a high quality wine from home. I have found that is easier sometimes than wine-hunting on embarkation day. Depending on your pier, you may not be within walking distance to stores.
  11. Go to Old San Juan, shop, check out the fort, and eat dinner. I recommend Rosa de Triana or Barrachinas.
  12. leighuf

    Old San Juan Lunch Restaurant

    Rosa di Trianna tapas restaurant. You can order a variety of little Puerto Rican dishes and sip some sangria in this quaint little restaurant that was once a jail. It's across from the catedral
  13. Personally, I'd do one or the other. Rainforest or OSJ. The rainforest does require a bit of a drive, so for your first trip, perhaps OSJ is the better choice? Grab a meal at some point, either a late lunch or dinner. Part of why I love PR is the food! Old San Juan is walkable and very unique with its blue brick streets and colorful architecture. Pack a kite and try flying it on the expansive lawns in front of El Morro. Maybe see if Flavors of San Juan has any tours for your day in PR. It's a walking tour where you will learn about the history of the area AND you will get to try lots of food! http://sanjuanfoodtours.com/ That being said, the Rainforest is pretty cool. You will need to rent a car or hire a driver. I'm sure there's a ship tour, too, but that will dictate what you see at the forest. If on your own....Stop at the welcome center, get info, watch the movie. Take a hike or two. I recommend the La Mina trail (less than 1 mile) as it will take you to the falls which you can take a dip in. The Yokahu Observation Tower is another little "hike" you can do to get some amazing views. You can stop at La Muralla within the park to grab a bite. They have picnic tables set up. We dined on beef tacos, a pizza empanada, chicken kebobs, along with rice and beans for a very decent price. The owner makes his own bottled hot sauce which I really liked. OR you can drive into Luquillo and pick a restaurant there to eat at. There's a local beach across the road for a quick dip if you feel inclined. I also like Carabali for food. It's on the road back to San Juan but still technically in Luquillo. They even have go-karts and horseback riding. The inside of the restaurant is quite lovely. I love their skirt steak and the fried cheese app that is served with guava sauce.
  14. leighuf

    Casual Family Lunch and Dinner in OSJ

    Barrachina is definitely a spot we always go for a drink or two. The ambiance is lovely... we usually sit in the courtyard with the parrots. I have never eaten here, so I can't speak to the food or prices. It is ideally located near some great little shops. You can get a perfectly sized panama hat across the road. They will measure your head and let you pick your favorite ribbon. My all time fav restaurant though is Rosa de Trianna for tapas. Some entrees do go into the 20 dollar range but most tapas are around $9-12. They will serve bread to everyone at the table. It's located near the cathedral and el Morro on an adorable street. Inside is quite unique as it dates back many centuries. Apparently it use to be a jail?! I'd recommend the eggplant with honey (idk price), the chorizo in wine sauce ($9.50), the fried plantains ($4.50), ham/cheese/sausage plate ($18.00). and of course the mofongo with chicken ($9.75). When in PR, you must get churrasco! I've never eaten it at this restaurant but it's also on the tapas menu ($12). They do have a kids menu with chicken fingers if any of your teens are picky eaters. We like to order lots of choices and share. I know this will bust you budget.... but their sangria is amazing too.
  15. leighuf

    Airport arrival time

    San Juan airport can be busy, but it won't take you any longer to retrieve luggage than it would in any large city on the mainland. Within the hour you should have your bags and hopefully be on your way to the ship. The taxi line is efficient. Prices are pre-set and you will be informed of this while you wait in the taxi line. Sometimes drivers speak limited English but price and location is always given to them ahead of time, so no worries. For a larger group, you can obviously break up the group into multiple vans. Or, you can obviously hire someone ahead of time if you want. But I wouldn't.