Duty Free at San Juan port??

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British Columbia
69 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Getting so excited for our Sunday departure on the CB!! We are definately going to bring some wine on board, but I am wondering something. I've read here that there is a duty free store within the port building at San Juan, but I've heard it is limited. How limited? Approximately how many different types of wine do they carry? And is it just wine and champagne, or are there other types of alcohol for sale? We like Irish Cream, and I was hoping to be able to bring a bottle on board - not sure if I need to try to smuggle it in my checked luggage or just try carrying it on. Either way, would it be something I could purchase at the duty free there?
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Alaska Summer 2005 - Norwegian Sun
Alaska Summer 2009 - Celebrity Mercury
S. Caribbean b2b Spring 2011 - Caribbean Princess
wilsonville oregon
80 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
We have cruised out of SJU 2 years in a row (always March) and will be there again in 2 weeks, sailing on the CB. The duty free shop in the terminal carries LOTS of "hard liquor" but the wine selection is severely limited. Your Irish cream will be easy to purchase and they will probably be giving out samples to entice buyers. Coming from an area rich in wineries, we generally elect to forgo the wine and purchase the basics for mixing our own cocktails while cruising. Some rums can be found only in the islands -at those prices- and we enjoy learning about the different flavors. When in Rome...!
Dover, NH, USA
1,370 Posts
Joined Jun 2000
We just returned from the Caribbean Princess that ended on 02/27/2011. Things had changed since last year at the Pan American terminal with the Security scan now taking place once you enter the terminal. I was not sure how that would effect the Duty Free shop but it only made it better for everyone!

After all your carry-on bag.....and you....are scanned you head over to get through the check-in process and receive your cabin keys. Then you are free to either head right to the walkways to head up stairs and on board the ship or you can easily walk over to the Duty Free store.

Prices have gone up slightly over the previous year. Baileys had been a special for the last few years where you could buy 2 and get a little one free for about $30.00....a great deal. This year Baileys is going for about $18 and not deal. I was offered a sample of "Molly's Irish Cream" while carrying a bottle of Baileys. Not being a connoisseur, I tasted Molly's and would be hard pressed to tell the difference between the two. I save the $4 and purchased the Molly's!

A couple things about the Duty Free store....

* There are a few labels of wines and champagne available and not being a connoisseur there either, the labels meant nothing to me. I do know that they were not any labels that I recognized. Although there is a small selection of wines and varieties of wine too.....someone really into wine will not be pleased most likely. Friends purchased a couple of bottles of Cabernet and they lived to see another day! HaHaHa!

* There is every other type of hard liquor in the store that you could want....and at decent prices. This year they even had some Jack Daniels (my DH's drink of choice) when some years it hasn't been available. The Bacardi rums are well stocked of course with more flavors every year!

* There aren't any 'smaller' bottles of alcohol. I would have loved to have purchase a pint of a rum but they only carry the large bottles of everything know. They used to have "nips" but no longer.

* They also sell cases of bottled water and some Coke products (Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite) in cans. If you want these, don't wait to go back off of the ship and get them later. We heard from some fellow cruise mates that they had done so and the shelves were bare of some of those selections.

* You can carry the soda and water on openly but be sure to leave room in a carry-on to put any hard liquor into. You need to be sure that the bags used by the store with the bottles in them are not in clear view.

I hope that answers your question but feel free to ask any others you may have.

Have a great cruise. We love the CB, leaving from wonderful San Juan and the Southern Caribbean ports!
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118 Posts
Joined Jul 2010

we were on the same cruise with Judy on the CB and can confirm all, what she wrote.
Our experience was, on the whole cruise was NOT ONE duty free shop or wine shop that cheap as in SJ!!
Fortunately we did 14 days and could purchase again some bottles.
Additional to your Baileys buy one or two bottles of wine and pack them in the bags of the shop,
the Baileys or other things pack in your private carry on, nobody want to take a look in your carry on,
but they are VERY interested for the shop bags!

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144 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Thanks for the informative post San10s. Will definitely be checking out the supply before boarding on Sunday, March 13.
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Have a Great Day!
Cape Girardeau, MO
4,424 Posts
Joined May 2005
Yep, I'm taking notes too for getting on the ship this SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAY!!!
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Tucson, AZ
254 Posts
Joined Sep 2002
Thanks for the info on the duty free shop. Was wondering if I could grab some rum / coconut rum and make cocktails in the room. Sounds like that is possible.

Another (off topic) question for any recent cruisers - is there any parking at the pier? I would like to drop off my luggage, get checked in with my mother and my kids so she can get them down for a nap. That will take a half hour to an hour I imagine. After that need to head to the airport to return the rental car. May consider a detour to a Walgreens or Walmart so I can pick up baby stuff instead of flying it all with us.

But the key is can I leave a car at the pier long enough to check in?