Serenade of the Seas Photo Review- Take Two: Aruba Route

#1
New Jersey
3,713 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Hi everyone! I coudn't wait to get back and share our vacation with you. Life has been hectic lately, and our vacation came at the perfect time. My husband and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary on the Serenade of the Seas, visiting St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Aruba, and Curacao. We sailed her last year as well, you can check out my review from last year here.

This past May, I sailed with one of my best friends and my Mom on the Carnival Glory (review here). We had a nice time, but I think that sailing confirmed for me that RCCL's product just fits my husband and me better right now.

This trip was different in a couple ways: we were sailing by ourselves for the first time in two years. We sailed the Adventure of the Seas in 2009 on our own and had a great time. That's actually how we found the tour guides for our Serenade sailing in 2010 (visiting Barbados, Antigua, St. Lucia, St. Martin, and St. Croix). We were so happy with those tour operators that we went with them again last year with our Mom and friends.

This trip was also different because we decided to spend another day in San Juan after the cruise. I got to redeem enough US Airways miles for us to fly RT to San Juan for free, and the catch was that we would have to spend an extra night on vacation. How could I ever spend an extra night away with the love of my life?! (note my sarcasm, lol).


This vacation was also one full of milestones- our 5th anniversary, my 5th cruise (his 4th), and the longest vacation we've ever taken (10 days). It was our first time visiting any of the islands on this itinerary. This turned out to be one of my favorite vacations we've taken. It was nice to take time away from everything and everyone else, and have 10 whole days to enjoy and focus on our marriage. Married people take note- you need a vacation every year! Even if you have to get a hotel room on the other side of town for a few days, you two need some time to reconnect on a regular basis.

So I'm off my soapbox now, and ready to share the details of our vacation with you. I share lots of tips and photos, and the review will take me a few days to complete, so stop by every day or so for your reading pleasure

My husband and I flew out of Philadelphia the Friday before our cruise. We had an amazing friend agree to stay in our home with our dog, Dewey, as well as drive us to and from the airport. Our flight was at 9:40 AM, and we arrived at the airport around 8:00.

Our flight was smooth and uneventful. We arrived in San Juan around 1 PM. As soon as we had our luggage, we walked outside to the taxi stand and caught a cab to La Concha Renaissance Resort, in the Condado section of San Juan. The taxi cost about $22, including our luggage.

We've never stayed in the Condado area, having stayed at the Caribe Hilton closer to Old San Juan, and the Ritz Carlton in the Isla Verde area. Hands down, this is now my favorite hotel. It's FABULOUS. The entrance is clean and contemporary, using lots of white with lime green and red accents, pretty fountains, and greetings from a fantastic staff. Very modern furnishings...I have to say, the hotel just felt so chic! We felt like part of the "cool" crowd from the minute we set foot inside the hotel.












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~Chrystal
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Previous Cruises:
NCL Norwegian Crown-NYC to Bermuda (2006)
RCI Adventure S. Caribbean-Barbados Route (2009)

Complete Photo Reviews:
RCI Serenade S. Caribbean-Barbados Route (2010)
l Carnival Glory from Norfolk-Bahamas (2011) l RCI Serenade S. Caribbean-Aruba Route (2011) l RCI Liberty to Cozumel (2012) l Fort Lauderdale Pre-and-Post-Cruise l RCI Allure W. Caribbean-Babymoon (2012) l RCI Liberty to Cozumel-Baby's First Cruise (2014)


Up Next:
Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas, November 2016
Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico, March 2017 (Girls' Trip)
Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas, March 2017
Rome and Tuscany Land Tour, August 2017
Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas, August 2017
Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico, October 2017 (Couples' Trip)
Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas, January 2018



Travel Blog


"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
~Mark Twain

#2
New Jersey
3,713 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
I got a great AAA rate about two months before our stay. I noticed that as we got closer to the trip, even that rate went up a little bit, so book early if you would like to stay here. Before our trip, I contacted the hotel to ask if we could have an early check-in, as well as to let them know we were celebrating our anniversary. It's just something I tend to do to make preference requests, etc, for a more personal touch. Frankie, the front desk associate who checked us in, treated us like royalty. He let us know that our room wasn't quite ready yet because he was trying to find us a really nice suite, which was fine with us. He asked if we would like some champagne, and of course we said yes! While we toasted to our trip, he took care of our luggage so we could tour the hotel a bit. Here are some of our first pics around the hotel:














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~Chrystal
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Previous Cruises:
NCL Norwegian Crown-NYC to Bermuda (2006)
RCI Adventure S. Caribbean-Barbados Route (2009)

Complete Photo Reviews:
RCI Serenade S. Caribbean-Barbados Route (2010)
l Carnival Glory from Norfolk-Bahamas (2011) l RCI Serenade S. Caribbean-Aruba Route (2011) l RCI Liberty to Cozumel (2012) l Fort Lauderdale Pre-and-Post-Cruise l RCI Allure W. Caribbean-Babymoon (2012) l RCI Liberty to Cozumel-Baby's First Cruise (2014)


Up Next:
Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas, November 2016
Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico, March 2017 (Girls' Trip)
Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas, March 2017
Rome and Tuscany Land Tour, August 2017
Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas, August 2017
Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico, October 2017 (Couples' Trip)
Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas, January 2018



Travel Blog


"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
~Mark Twain

#3
New Jersey
3,713 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
After we finished our champagne, we realized that our tummies we pretty much empty. We decided to check out the Condado area for some lunch. Some shops to the right (and across the street from) the hotel:









View of the hotel from across the street:



We settled on Cafe de Angel, slightly to the left of La Concha, across the street. The restaurant served traditional Puerto Rican food, which I was craving. There was an outdoor seating area, and one indoors. When they asked our preference, my husband immediately said, "Indoors, please!" It took him a minute to get adjusted to heat. We live in NJ and were leaving 50 degree weather during his favorite time of year (fall), and my favorite season is summer. I love the heat!! You'll see me hanging out on the beach quite a bit this week while Wesley is either in the water, in the shade, or in the hotel or stateroom, lol.

Our view from inside the restaurant:




So this place isn't fancy by any means, but we don't care about that if the food is good. I have to say we were really happy with our meals. I ordered the roast pork, arroz con gandules (pigeon peas), and plantains. Wesley had chicken and rice, with red beans on the side.








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~Chrystal
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Previous Cruises:
NCL Norwegian Crown-NYC to Bermuda (2006)
RCI Adventure S. Caribbean-Barbados Route (2009)

Complete Photo Reviews:
RCI Serenade S. Caribbean-Barbados Route (2010)
l Carnival Glory from Norfolk-Bahamas (2011) l RCI Serenade S. Caribbean-Aruba Route (2011) l RCI Liberty to Cozumel (2012) l Fort Lauderdale Pre-and-Post-Cruise l RCI Allure W. Caribbean-Babymoon (2012) l RCI Liberty to Cozumel-Baby's First Cruise (2014)


Up Next:
Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas, November 2016
Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico, March 2017 (Girls' Trip)
Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas, March 2017
Rome and Tuscany Land Tour, August 2017
Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas, August 2017
Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico, October 2017 (Couples' Trip)
Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas, January 2018



Travel Blog


"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
~Mark Twain

#4
Upstate NY
1,131 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Hi Faith!
Great review so far.
Thanks for the suggestion of Café de Angel. We will be in San Juan in February 2012
we always like to try places like this.
Up here is Snowbound Syracuse we do not get to have real Puerto Rican food.

Nice pics of you and hubby. Cute couple

Nora
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Past Cruises~
Dawn Princess~2002
Voyager of the Seas~2003
Celebrity Constellation~2005
Caribbean Princess~ 11/2005
Costa Western Caribbean ~2007
Explorer of the Seas 2/1/09
Norweigan Gem 2/27/10.


#5
New Jersey
3,713 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Originally posted by boop3
Hi Faith!
Great review so far.
Thanks for the suggestion of Café de Angel. We will be in San Juan in February 2012
we always like to try places like this.
Up here is Snowbound Syracuse we do not get to have real Puerto Rican food.

Nice pics of you and hubby. Cute couple

Nora
Hi Nora! YES, I was really craving some good Puerto Rican food myself. We live in the Princeton area, so I have to visit friends who live about an hour away to get some. The cafe's arroz con gandules tasted just like my friends' rice. Thank you so much for the compliments!

~Chrystal
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~Chrystal
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Previous Cruises:
NCL Norwegian Crown-NYC to Bermuda (2006)
RCI Adventure S. Caribbean-Barbados Route (2009)

Complete Photo Reviews:
RCI Serenade S. Caribbean-Barbados Route (2010)
l Carnival Glory from Norfolk-Bahamas (2011) l RCI Serenade S. Caribbean-Aruba Route (2011) l RCI Liberty to Cozumel (2012) l Fort Lauderdale Pre-and-Post-Cruise l RCI Allure W. Caribbean-Babymoon (2012) l RCI Liberty to Cozumel-Baby's First Cruise (2014)


Up Next:
Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas, November 2016
Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico, March 2017 (Girls' Trip)
Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas, March 2017
Rome and Tuscany Land Tour, August 2017
Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas, August 2017
Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico, October 2017 (Couples' Trip)
Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas, January 2018



Travel Blog


"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
~Mark Twain

#6
New Jersey
3,713 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
First page of the menu they have available to take in front of the restaurant:




While we were paying the bill, we received a call from the hotel that our room was ready. Frankie let us know that someone would bring our luggage up, and we made a mad dash for our room.

We walked through the lobby, and went to the right to enter the Suite Tower. Here's the corridor that leads you to the Suite Tower Elevators:






The tower is lovely, with an atrium in the center, with lots of lush plants and inviting couches.











We found our room (#1006), and the first thing we noticed upon our entry was the view!! Just a breathtaking view of the ocean:






View straight ahead:






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~Chrystal
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Previous Cruises:
NCL Norwegian Crown-NYC to Bermuda (2006)
RCI Adventure S. Caribbean-Barbados Route (2009)

Complete Photo Reviews:
RCI Serenade S. Caribbean-Barbados Route (2010)
l Carnival Glory from Norfolk-Bahamas (2011) l RCI Serenade S. Caribbean-Aruba Route (2011) l RCI Liberty to Cozumel (2012) l Fort Lauderdale Pre-and-Post-Cruise l RCI Allure W. Caribbean-Babymoon (2012) l RCI Liberty to Cozumel-Baby's First Cruise (2014)


Up Next:
Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas, November 2016
Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico, March 2017 (Girls' Trip)
Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas, March 2017
Rome and Tuscany Land Tour, August 2017
Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas, August 2017
Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico, October 2017 (Couples' Trip)
Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas, January 2018



Travel Blog


"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
~Mark Twain

#7
New Jersey
3,713 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
To the right:




To the left. The shell-shaped building is Perla, La Concha's upscale restaurant:





Straight down: Private Suite Pool area:





Balcony:



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~Chrystal
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Previous Cruises:
NCL Norwegian Crown-NYC to Bermuda (2006)
RCI Adventure S. Caribbean-Barbados Route (2009)

Complete Photo Reviews:
RCI Serenade S. Caribbean-Barbados Route (2010)
l Carnival Glory from Norfolk-Bahamas (2011) l RCI Serenade S. Caribbean-Aruba Route (2011) l RCI Liberty to Cozumel (2012) l Fort Lauderdale Pre-and-Post-Cruise l RCI Allure W. Caribbean-Babymoon (2012) l RCI Liberty to Cozumel-Baby's First Cruise (2014)


Up Next:
Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas, November 2016
Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico, March 2017 (Girls' Trip)
Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas, March 2017
Rome and Tuscany Land Tour, August 2017
Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas, August 2017
Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico, October 2017 (Couples' Trip)
Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas, January 2018



Travel Blog


"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
~Mark Twain

#8
New Jersey
3,713 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Bedroom area and bathroom:













As a heads up, the bathroom shower wall is frosted glass. You can see Wesley standing on the other side of the shower wall. Fine for couples or people who don't mind, but if you're bringing family or traveling with friends, you may need to coordinate when you're in the shower. Perhaps everyone else can hang out in the living area while someone is in the shower? Just FYI:



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~Chrystal
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Previous Cruises:
NCL Norwegian Crown-NYC to Bermuda (2006)
RCI Adventure S. Caribbean-Barbados Route (2009)

Complete Photo Reviews:
RCI Serenade S. Caribbean-Barbados Route (2010)
l Carnival Glory from Norfolk-Bahamas (2011) l RCI Serenade S. Caribbean-Aruba Route (2011) l RCI Liberty to Cozumel (2012) l Fort Lauderdale Pre-and-Post-Cruise l RCI Allure W. Caribbean-Babymoon (2012) l RCI Liberty to Cozumel-Baby's First Cruise (2014)


Up Next:
Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas, November 2016
Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico, March 2017 (Girls' Trip)
Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas, March 2017
Rome and Tuscany Land Tour, August 2017
Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas, August 2017
Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico, October 2017 (Couples' Trip)
Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas, January 2018



Travel Blog


"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
~Mark Twain

#9
St. Charles Missouri
6,917 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
great pics
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Allure of the Seas November 2016
Navigator of the Seas Sept 7, 2014, Independence of the Seas Mar 29, 2014, Allure of the Seas Nov 17 2013, Oasis of the Seas May 25 2013, Liberty of the Seas Nov 25 2012, Liberty of the Seas Nov 29 2012, Liberty of the Seas March 2012, Carnival Freedom Sept 2011, Majesty of the Seas Jan 2011, Mariner of the Seas May 2010, Carnival Fantasy September 2009, Majesty of the Seas March 2009, Freedom of the seas May 2008, Carnival Triumph July 2007, Majesty of the seas July 2006, Explorer of the Seas May 2005, Carnival Destiny April 2002, Sovereign of the seas July 2001, Monarch of the seas January 1999, Sovereign of the seas Feb 1998, Viking Serenade April 1997, Big Red Boat June 1996, Song of America October 1995

R
#10
New Jersey
3,713 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
I loved how everything in the room matched:





Living room- Wes loved the flat screen TV's in the living room and the bedroom:







Someone's a happy camper. I did good choosing the hotel :




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~Chrystal
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Previous Cruises:
NCL Norwegian Crown-NYC to Bermuda (2006)
RCI Adventure S. Caribbean-Barbados Route (2009)

Complete Photo Reviews:
RCI Serenade S. Caribbean-Barbados Route (2010)
l Carnival Glory from Norfolk-Bahamas (2011) l RCI Serenade S. Caribbean-Aruba Route (2011) l RCI Liberty to Cozumel (2012) l Fort Lauderdale Pre-and-Post-Cruise l RCI Allure W. Caribbean-Babymoon (2012) l RCI Liberty to Cozumel-Baby's First Cruise (2014)


Up Next:
Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas, November 2016
Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico, March 2017 (Girls' Trip)
Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas, March 2017
Rome and Tuscany Land Tour, August 2017
Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas, August 2017
Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico, October 2017 (Couples' Trip)
Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas, January 2018



Travel Blog


"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
~Mark Twain

#11
New Jersey
3,713 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Originally posted by LBumb
great pics
Thank you!
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~Chrystal
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Previous Cruises:
NCL Norwegian Crown-NYC to Bermuda (2006)
RCI Adventure S. Caribbean-Barbados Route (2009)

Complete Photo Reviews:
RCI Serenade S. Caribbean-Barbados Route (2010)
l Carnival Glory from Norfolk-Bahamas (2011) l RCI Serenade S. Caribbean-Aruba Route (2011) l RCI Liberty to Cozumel (2012) l Fort Lauderdale Pre-and-Post-Cruise l RCI Allure W. Caribbean-Babymoon (2012) l RCI Liberty to Cozumel-Baby's First Cruise (2014)


Up Next:
Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas, November 2016
Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico, March 2017 (Girls' Trip)
Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas, March 2017
Rome and Tuscany Land Tour, August 2017
Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas, August 2017
Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico, October 2017 (Couples' Trip)
Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas, January 2018



Travel Blog


"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
~Mark Twain

#12
New Jersey
3,713 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
The kitchen area had everything you could need while on vacation: large fridge with an ice maker, two stovetop eyes for cooking, pots, pans, cutlery, plates, bowels, and lots of glasses. Very nice. The living area is designed for entertaining. In fact, the following night there was a party a few doors down, and one of the guests stopped by to ask if we would be willing to give them our ice- sure, no problem! We had plenty. They told us to come down for drinks if we wanted to, which I thought was nice. We didn't really notice any noise either.























More to come!
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~Chrystal
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Previous Cruises:
NCL Norwegian Crown-NYC to Bermuda (2006)
RCI Adventure S. Caribbean-Barbados Route (2009)

Complete Photo Reviews:
RCI Serenade S. Caribbean-Barbados Route (2010)
l Carnival Glory from Norfolk-Bahamas (2011) l RCI Serenade S. Caribbean-Aruba Route (2011) l RCI Liberty to Cozumel (2012) l Fort Lauderdale Pre-and-Post-Cruise l RCI Allure W. Caribbean-Babymoon (2012) l RCI Liberty to Cozumel-Baby's First Cruise (2014)


Up Next:
Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas, November 2016
Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico, March 2017 (Girls' Trip)
Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas, March 2017
Rome and Tuscany Land Tour, August 2017
Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas, August 2017
Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico, October 2017 (Couples' Trip)
Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas, January 2018



Travel Blog


"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
~Mark Twain

#13
North Carolina
13 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Thank you for sharing your vacation pictures. We are on the Serenade at the end of the month (Oct. 30 Aruba route) and your pictures are increasing the anticipation! We stayed at La Concha in 2009 and loved it. This time we are at the Conrad Condado pre-cruise and The Intercontinental post-cruise, I am already bracing for the letdown after being reminded of how much we enjoyed our La Concha stay the last time we were in SJ. We plan to have great time no matter, as we are traveling with 3 other couples. This will be our first RCCL cruise.

I am looking forward to seeing the pics from the rest of your trip.

Rick
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Topnotchike
1st one: Star Princess 4/05
2nd one: Carnival Imagination 10/06
3rd one: Caribbean Princess 11/09
4th one: Serenade of the Seas 10/11
5th one: Norwegian Dawn 12/14


#15
Venice, FL
10,125 Posts
Joined Sep 2000
Great review and pics so far! Thank you for posting them. I have a question for you....we are staying in the Condado area for the first time ourselves next week at a small place called At Wind Chimes Inn. How far is that property from the La Concha?
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"Life is a Journey - Not a Destination"
#16
New Jersey
3,713 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Originally posted by topnotchike
Thank you for sharing your vacation pictures. We are on the Serenade at the end of the month (Oct. 30 Aruba route) and your pictures are increasing the anticipation! We stayed at La Concha in 2009 and loved it. This time we are at the Conrad Condado pre-cruise and The Intercontinental post-cruise, I am already bracing for the letdown after being reminded of how much we enjoyed our La Concha stay the last time we were in SJ. We plan to have great time no matter, as we are traveling with 3 other couples. This will be our first RCCL cruise.

I am looking forward to seeing the pics from the rest of your trip.

Rick
Lucky you! We really enjoyed the Aruba route and love the Serenade. We actually stayed at the Intercontinental, and while it was fine, I think La Concha is now our favorite hotel in San Juan. I'm sure you'll have a blast traveling with other couples, that sounds like an awesome vacation!
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~Chrystal
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Previous Cruises:
NCL Norwegian Crown-NYC to Bermuda (2006)
RCI Adventure S. Caribbean-Barbados Route (2009)

Complete Photo Reviews:
RCI Serenade S. Caribbean-Barbados Route (2010)
l Carnival Glory from Norfolk-Bahamas (2011) l RCI Serenade S. Caribbean-Aruba Route (2011) l RCI Liberty to Cozumel (2012) l Fort Lauderdale Pre-and-Post-Cruise l RCI Allure W. Caribbean-Babymoon (2012) l RCI Liberty to Cozumel-Baby's First Cruise (2014)


Up Next:
Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas, November 2016
Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico, March 2017 (Girls' Trip)
Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas, March 2017
Rome and Tuscany Land Tour, August 2017
Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas, August 2017
Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico, October 2017 (Couples' Trip)
Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas, January 2018



Travel Blog


"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
~Mark Twain

#17
New Jersey
3,713 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Originally posted by KittyCat1Million
Thanks for taking the time for the review and pictures Faith. Looks like a great hotel. We were on the Serenade for your same route a few months ago. Loved it! Looking forward to the rest of your review.
Thank you so much! We really loved the cruise too. I think we're headed to the Freedom or Allure class next time, we'll see. I think we're a little spoiled by the Southern Caribbean islands, but we do want to try one of the larger ships. We'll probably do Freedom on the Western next. In the meantime, I'll keep writing!

Originally posted by stones902
Great review and pics so far! Thank you for posting them. I have a question for you....we are staying in the Condado area for the first time ourselves next week at a small place called At Wind Chimes Inn. How far is that property from the La Concha?
Thank you! It's my pleasure, the reviews help me relive the vacation all over again lol! I don't think we passed At Wind Chimes Inn while we were there. From what I see on Google, it's about a 20 minute walk from La Concha. Ashford Avenue (the main road in the Condado area) is very easy to walk though.

We really love the Condado area. Plenty of places to eat and shop. It's just a convenient, trendy area. Very nice.
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~Chrystal
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Previous Cruises:
NCL Norwegian Crown-NYC to Bermuda (2006)
RCI Adventure S. Caribbean-Barbados Route (2009)

Complete Photo Reviews:
RCI Serenade S. Caribbean-Barbados Route (2010)
l Carnival Glory from Norfolk-Bahamas (2011) l RCI Serenade S. Caribbean-Aruba Route (2011) l RCI Liberty to Cozumel (2012) l Fort Lauderdale Pre-and-Post-Cruise l RCI Allure W. Caribbean-Babymoon (2012) l RCI Liberty to Cozumel-Baby's First Cruise (2014)


Up Next:
Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas, November 2016
Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico, March 2017 (Girls' Trip)
Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas, March 2017
Rome and Tuscany Land Tour, August 2017
Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas, August 2017
Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico, October 2017 (Couples' Trip)
Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas, January 2018



Travel Blog


"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
~Mark Twain

#18
New Jersey
3,713 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Totally exhausted from our trip, we fell asleep to the sound of the ocean. It’s amazing how important napping becomes on vacation once you get older, lol. We enjoyed some time on the balcony before dinner. One of Wesley’s favorite things when we travel is a nice view. It is kind of therapeutic to just sit and watch the ocean. So soothing.




For dinner, we visited di Parma Trattoria, which was less than a 5 minute walk to the right of the hotel. It was a balmy, beautiful evening, so the outdoor seating was perfect. The view of Ashford Ave from our table:





The service and the atmosphere were wonderful. We each had personal pizzas and they were insanely good. I couldn’t finish mine. I also had a champagne sangria- total yum.









The dessert of the day was a coconut crème brulee. How could we possibly pass on that? It was delicious- not too sweet. The berries on top were a nice touch.





We strolled around the area a little bit, then headed back to the hotel for the evening.

Next up- a full day in San Juan!
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~Chrystal
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Previous Cruises:
NCL Norwegian Crown-NYC to Bermuda (2006)
RCI Adventure S. Caribbean-Barbados Route (2009)

Complete Photo Reviews:
RCI Serenade S. Caribbean-Barbados Route (2010)
l Carnival Glory from Norfolk-Bahamas (2011) l RCI Serenade S. Caribbean-Aruba Route (2011) l RCI Liberty to Cozumel (2012) l Fort Lauderdale Pre-and-Post-Cruise l RCI Allure W. Caribbean-Babymoon (2012) l RCI Liberty to Cozumel-Baby's First Cruise (2014)


Up Next:
Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas, November 2016
Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico, March 2017 (Girls' Trip)
Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas, March 2017
Rome and Tuscany Land Tour, August 2017
Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas, August 2017
Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico, October 2017 (Couples' Trip)
Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas, January 2018



Travel Blog


"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
~Mark Twain

#19
New Jersey
3,713 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
For those that know me…I’m an early riser. I normally get up between 4:30-5 AM at home during the week, so I’m sure you’ll find it hilarious that I thought waking up around 6:30 each morning a total luxury!

My plan was to go to La Bombonera, then walk around Old San Juan for a bit for the rest of the day. I had been there for breakfast back in 2009, when my friends and I took a girls’ trip to San Juan. For some reason, Wes and I had never been there together, and I knew he would love their signature mallorcas (pastries with powdered sugar on top). Some pics as we made our way out of the hotel:












We went to the hotel entrance around 8:30 AM and asked one of the doormen for a taxi. I noticed that there were always a couple cabs waiting on Ashford Avenue, in view of the hotel entrance. It took a just couple seconds for him to wave a driver over, and he asked us where we were headed. As soon as I said La Bombonera, he exclaimed, “Oooooh yeah, La Bombonera!!! Good choice!” I said, “Yes, we want to have some mallorcas.” He said, “YES! The mallorca! Don’t forget to add some bacon, some cheese, and some egg!! HEAVEN!” He kept raving about it, lol. That got Wes a little excited to see this place.

The taxi ride was only about 10 minutes long. We were dropped off in the main square of San Juan (the streets in the old city are very narrow so sometimes drivers will drop you off within walking distance of a place- no biggie at all), and La Bombonera was just a 2-minute walk down Calle San Francisco. It was funny because we were among a couple groups of tourists that ended up walking to the same place. We all took pics of La Bombonera before we all crossed the street to enter the bakery.






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~Chrystal
Email Me Friend Me on FB (Please message me your screen name on CC)



Previous Cruises:
NCL Norwegian Crown-NYC to Bermuda (2006)
RCI Adventure S. Caribbean-Barbados Route (2009)

Complete Photo Reviews:
RCI Serenade S. Caribbean-Barbados Route (2010)
l Carnival Glory from Norfolk-Bahamas (2011) l RCI Serenade S. Caribbean-Aruba Route (2011) l RCI Liberty to Cozumel (2012) l Fort Lauderdale Pre-and-Post-Cruise l RCI Allure W. Caribbean-Babymoon (2012) l RCI Liberty to Cozumel-Baby's First Cruise (2014)


Up Next:
Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas, November 2016
Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico, March 2017 (Girls' Trip)
Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas, March 2017
Rome and Tuscany Land Tour, August 2017
Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas, August 2017
Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico, October 2017 (Couples' Trip)
Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas, January 2018



Travel Blog


"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
~Mark Twain

#20
New Jersey
3,713 Posts
Joined Jun 2009


I was surprised at how empty it was…but then again it was still early on a Saturday morning. The last time I was there, it was total pandemonium, in a lively, wonderful way. We had to wait for someone to seat us that time, and it was about a 10-minute wait. This time, the hostess encouraged us to choose wherever we wanted to sit.






Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
~Chrystal
Email Me Friend Me on FB (Please message me your screen name on CC)



Previous Cruises:
NCL Norwegian Crown-NYC to Bermuda (2006)
RCI Adventure S. Caribbean-Barbados Route (2009)

Complete Photo Reviews:
RCI Serenade S. Caribbean-Barbados Route (2010)
l Carnival Glory from Norfolk-Bahamas (2011) l RCI Serenade S. Caribbean-Aruba Route (2011) l RCI Liberty to Cozumel (2012) l Fort Lauderdale Pre-and-Post-Cruise l RCI Allure W. Caribbean-Babymoon (2012) l RCI Liberty to Cozumel-Baby's First Cruise (2014)


Up Next:
Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas, November 2016
Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico, March 2017 (Girls' Trip)
Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas, March 2017
Rome and Tuscany Land Tour, August 2017
Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas, August 2017
Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico, October 2017 (Couples' Trip)
Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas, January 2018



Travel Blog


"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
~Mark Twain