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Xcitdcruiser

Honeymooners REVIEW of the SUMMIT in the S Caribbean on 22Feb in AQ AFT w DIETARY Req

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We aren't even cruising the Caribbean but I know I'll be eyes-glued to this review until the end!

 

Love the photos!

 

lol - maybe by the end of it you will be tempted? ;)

 

Great review.... thanks for taking the time to post it!

 

Thank you for reading & taking the time to comment :)

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Thank you for taking the time to share your photos and review! It is a blessing to have so many people that take the time to share with others. I have been a part of CC for a few years and I can tell you that the information here is invaluable!

 

Looking forward to your photos and review.

 

The forum really is something. I'm so glad i stumbled across it one boring day at work! Every so often i would say something to DH eg 'Now there is a secret stairway somewhere, help me find it because it's a shortcut to the bar downstairs' His response...'how do you know this??' I would just smile. He knew the answer. Cruise Critic!

 

I'm so following this .... thank you for sharing. and congratulations on your wedding! ;)

 

my previous cruises have been with NCL, and am doing my first Celebrity in 45days. I've also been scouring the boards for information, and consider included pics a plus. I know this isn't the ship I'll be on, but I still an curious.

 

and, Happy Friday Y'ALL! :)

 

Thank you for your well wishes! It has been wonderful (so far ;)!)

I have so doubt that whichever ship you are on, you will love X, they are really something!

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This is my first time reviewing anything to this extent; posting pictures & providing information that I found interesting.

 

If there is anything that I can do different to maximize your reading pleasure, please let me know -

 

The images are actually coming out a lot larger than i expected, I hope that is ok as I am unsure how to change it...

 

I aim to update the review each day so I hope that you bear with me!

 

That is all for today, tomorrow we are still in OSJ & visit the Castillo San Felipe del Morro, visit the Bacardi Factory & tour with Legends of PR. Big Day!

Edited by Xcitdcruiser
more info

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The links to the pics on the first page are broken - I assume you moved the pics. It's tough to do such an extensive review, but I'm sure lots of folks appreciate it.

Edited by kemenyg

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Congratulations on your marriage. Hope you have many happy years together. Traveling is one of the ways we found to recharge our marriage. We will be married 35 this fall. We have been on the Summit twice. I can not wait to read the rest.

 

Villa H is wonderful. Not for everyone. Glad you two got it. We have been to San Juan many times as a start place for cruises. Stayed in many places but since finding Villa H it will be our go to place from now on. We got upgraded to upstairs room. Everything was wonderful except the ice cold shower. Ours never got warm. Would we stay here again, YES cold water and all. Location and charm would bring us back. We did not eat breakfast just helped ourselves to fruit and coffee. We like to eat in local non tourist places too.

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Yay ... another Celebrity Summit - San Juan review and with pictures! Loving it so far. Didn't catch the first part before you must have changed picture location so the early ones don't display for me .. bummer.

 

Looking forward to following along and soaking up any detail for my cruise in November. Have sailed out of San Juan before but didn't really have time to explore much before sail away, this time arriving two days before so definitely going to explore San Juan and the Forts.

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We also stayed in Villa Herencia and loved its charm! This past February it was all booked up, so we stayed at Casablanca, another very old, very charming boutique hotel. Loved it even more than VA, as it had a bar and restaurant. It's right across the street from Marmalade, in a very convenient location.

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The links to the pics on the first page are broken - I assume you moved the pics. It's tough to do such an extensive review, but I'm sure lots of folks appreciate it.

 

Opsy daisy! Sorry about that - i'm new to photobucket I was trying to organise the photos AFTER posting them not realising the links would no longer work - should be all good now!

 

Congratulations on your marriage. Hope you have many happy years together. Traveling is one of the ways we found to recharge our marriage. We will be married 35 this fall. We have been on the Summit twice. I can not wait to read the rest.

 

Villa H is wonderful. Not for everyone. Glad you two got it. We have been to San Juan many times as a start place for cruises. Stayed in many places but since finding Villa H it will be our go to place from now on. We got upgraded to upstairs room. Everything was wonderful except the ice cold shower. Ours never got warm. Would we stay here again, YES cold water and all. Location and charm would bring us back. We did not eat breakfast just helped ourselves to fruit and coffee. We like to eat in local non tourist places too.

 

Congratulations! 35years is a long time! We met many couples on their anniversary, hoping that we can keep celebrating in the years to come!

 

I had read that cold water at VH should be expected (& still booked it!) so i was very excited with the continuous hot water. Kudos to them!

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Yay ... another Celebrity Summit - San Juan review and with pictures! Loving it so far. Didn't catch the first part before you must have changed picture location so the early ones don't display for me .. bummer.

 

Looking forward to following along and soaking up any detail for my cruise in November. Have sailed out of San Juan before but didn't really have time to explore much before sail away, this time arriving two days before so definitely going to explore San Juan and the Forts.

 

Sorry about the broken links on the first page - should be up & running now. One if the things that i loved before our cruise was stalking these boards reading any review i could!

 

We also stayed in Villa Herencia and loved its charm! This past February it was all booked up, so we stayed at Casablanca, another very old, very charming boutique hotel. Loved it even more than VA, as it had a bar and restaurant. It's right across the street from Marmalade, in a very convenient location.

 

I believe Casablanca & VH are sister hotels so I can see how the charm would flow through. The location would have been great! Was it noisy at all?

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Today we wanted to explore the other fort, Castillo San Felipe del Morro. We felt that the temperature had spiked today so we were much slower in pace. We were able to walk from VH to the Fort in about 10 mins, it was a leisurely walk. There was no entry fee again today(wo hoo!). This fort was much bigger with a lot more to explore compared to the other. They had a fire canon demonstration which was REALLY loud & gathered quite a crowd. Here are some of the images taken.

 

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We only lasted about an hour here, it was very warm & there were a lot of people arriving which started getting uncomfortable. We also declared that that it MUST be lunchtime because we were starving. In hindsight we probably shouldn’t have come to this fort first as there was a lot more to explore compared to the other & we probably didn’t appreciate its true beauty. When all the walls were starting to look the same we knew it was time to go.

We took this picture on the way out not knowing what it was (we only figured it out on the last day of our trip!)

 

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For lunch we headed to St Germain, a cafe / bistro hot spot for lunch. It was a vibrant little place that focuses on fresh ingredients. I was a little hesitant about my order: a salad with watermelon & bacon (it is generally served with cheese also). Cannot say that I’ve thought of this combination as a ..well a combination but curiosity got the better of me. It was delicious!! I ate every last bit! DH had a cheese sandwich of some sort & you could smell the cheese, oozing out between the bread. He was just about licking his fingers! After the amount of alcohol consumed the day before we decided to stick with water. Service was great, we had a lively & energetic waitress who was quick on her feet. The total bill came to $32 – it was at this point that we realised it was only midday!! Meaning we had sat down for lunch at 11am – no wonder it was quiet! Oh the beauty of not wearing a watch ! .....(that changed in St Marteen when I receive my birthday pressie!)

 

After ‘brunch’ we headed back to VH to re-group; off to the Bacardi Factory we go! I wasn’t too keen on this but it was something that DH had his heart set on. Entry was free, transport was minimal & you get free drinks. So, my arm was twisted. Off we went. We went down to Pier 2 (to Catano) for $0.50 each. Once we arrived I was expecting a taxi rank but there wasn’t one, so we just followed other tourists for a few minutes until some locals greeted us & guided us to a car park where they were filling mini vans with people. It was about an 8min drive (don’t think this can be walked) – we arrived at Bacardi –it was massive! So much bigger than what either of us expected! The tour itself was very gimmicky, were given some history, watched a short film, learnt how to make some cocktails & at the end there was an area with computers (?) mounted on the walls where you could take a ‘selfie’ & it would be posted directly onto your choice of social media. The last of it was making use of the tokens given for 2 free drinks each. It was a lovely afternoon, so with a cocktail in hand we made the most of it.

 

 

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Where is the 'bar' where the drinks were served

 

 

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The tour / return trip took about 2.5hrs. DH admitted that it had not lived up to expectations. If you have nothing to do it’s something to fill your time but i wouldn’t dedicate your only afternoon in San Juan for it.

Upon return we went searching for a highly rated coffee shop, Cafe Cola which is just by the pier. It’s a small little cafe but the quality of coffee was good & it was one of the best soy lattes i had on the trip.

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The next piece of information will be more useful for those not based in the US. Because we were away from home for an extended period time, we had brought my phone & turned on international roaming for ultra emergencies only as calls were about $8p/minute (in & outbound). We had various excursions booked & were hiring a car so thought that buying a cheapie phone & sim was the best way to go. We stopped by Radio Shack & Jimmy helped us out. For $20 we were able to purchase a simple Samsung handset. We went with AT&T – the sim itself was free but for every time we used the phone it would cost $2 & had unlimited minutes for the day. Sounded great! Except Jimmy didn’t stop there; he noticed our accent & offered us an international plan, for $5 we would have 250 minutes to Australian landlines – perfect! Our parents mentioned a few times of how thoughtful we were :D Thanks Jimmy!

Apart from the international minutes we didn’t really have any intention of using the phone but we ended up being surprised by how much it came in handy – we were able to make dinner reservations from the comfort of our room, provide a contact number each time we were wait listed when we didn’t make the reservations, book last minute excursions & the most crucial – deal with flight cancellations (I’m looking at you AA). Even if it’s just for peace of mind, have a mobile phone access!

The next US dollars spent were for a piece of headwear that i decided MUST have as soon as we realised we were heading to the Caribbean – a fedora. Lucky for me we stumbled across the most quaint store that literally had hundreds of them! They custom fit each hat to your head & you can even customise the ribbon to your taste (i went with a plain black one). He store owner was saying that just a couple of weeks ago some prince for the UAE had some in & spent a total of $26,000! The hat he purchased was $6,000! Each of those take 12 months to make. Mine? 12 per month...so a little different to say the least. Regardless, it was the best $60 i spent! I received many compliments wore it just about every day – (& it was perfect for the bad hair days!) The store owned was kind enough to let me take some pictures....

 

 

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The super $$ hats..

 

 

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The sweet man who helped us

 

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& last but not least, the name of the store.

Oh - they have these funny signs everywhere, just in case you were wondering where they WEREN'T made

 

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And it's bedtime for me now. Next I'll chat about the night walking tour & dinner at Carli's, the home of a beach boy.

 

Hope you are enjoying the review so far!

Edited by Xcitdcruiser

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I love this review, can't wait to read the rest of it!

 

I'm so glad you are enjoying it! I hope that the rest entertains you as much as this first portion!

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I'm so glad you are enjoying it! I hope that the rest entertains you as much as this first portion!

We read about the hat shop in Porthole Magazine, we were planning on stopping there. I think it is right next to Puerto Rican Crafts, which I love, on Fortaleza Street. I am cruising on Celebrity Reflection in less than two weeks and this review is making me really happy right now!

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Before our trip I tried to do as much research as I could about Old San Juan, I would spend hours & hours on the internet reading & trying to soak in the history trying to figure out where to see what. After a few days i came to the realisation that i wouldn’t be doing the city any justice should i have taken this onboard – decided to leave it to someone who knew what they were talking about. Enter a walking tour. The most well known OSJ tour is Flavors of San Juan; popular because it includes local restaurants during the night sampling what each have to offer. The idea is that by the end of it you would have had a tapas style dinner with some historical information in between each establishment. The tour costs $70. Having thought about it I decided that this was not our best option; although they state that they cater for all dietary requirements i didn’t want to have to deal with numerous restaurants when a single one can be quite challenging. And in short, i didn’t want to risk it. Enter Legends of Puerto Rico. Highly rated, half the price & going ahead hail rain or shine- a comprehensive tour of OSJ with the city being the only focus. Perfect. I decided it give it a go. Booking was a seamless process over the internet, meeting was at the popular Plaza Colon. Debbie was a knowledgeable, fun & charismatic tour guide leading us through streets & alleys with different types of information ranging from realty pricing, historical significance to recent movies filmed. It was fast paced with a bathroom break in between & plenty of opportunities of take photos. Unfortunately i have not yet mastered night photography so i don’t have anything worth sharing. During the tour you could see how highly regarded she is amongst the community with locals greeting her just about in every corner we turned. I cannot recommend Legends of PR highly enough. What i would advise is to wear comfortable walking shoes & lots of questions to keep her on her toes.

For dinner we made a reservation at Carli’s, a restaurant / jazz joint operated by Carli Munoz former member of the Beach Boys whom actually plays each night from 8pm. Very cool. As we came straight from the walking tour we were very underdressed compared to the other patrons & felt slightly uncomfortable. The tables were tiny & VERY close together. A few of the tables actually made a few jokes about it. I feel you could easily love or dislike this place; it is a very small, cosy, but live & intimate. I enjoyed it much more than DH. It served international cuisine & had an extensive wine list. I had a salmon dish & DH pasta & we shared a bottle of wine. Cost was $112. We didn’t get much of a traditional Puerto Rican feel, the biggest draw card is definitely Carli. If you enjoy jazz & fine food then you will enjoy this place.

 

We ended up going back around that way & took some pics of the menus for anyone that is interested

 

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I’ll try & keep this portion short & sweet – after realising how long it’s taken to post our time in OSJ i considered excluding Culebra (& EL Yunque) but I’m hopeful that if anyone is cruising from San Juan either of these areas can be included as a pre/post cruise side trip & this information could be useful / inspiring.

One can get to Culebra one of two ways – ferry or plane. The ferry will put you back a few dollars & departs from Fajardo which you can hire a car & drive to or catch a taxi (approx $80). Tickets cannot be purchased in advance & it’s not unusual for people to line up from 6am to get tickets for the ferry. It sounds like it can get very busy on the weekends & locals are actually given preference.

You can fly from Fajardo or San Juan (from one of the two airports). The available airlines are VAL, Air Flamenco & Cape Air. We decided on the latter purely because of the generous luggage allowance. When we booked the tickets 4 months out or so, i had no idea what our suitcase dimensions were was let alone its weight. We later found out that it was actually Cape Air’s second day of flying that route.

We made it to the international airport without any problems. Upon checking in i was excited to see that the seats on our boarding passes meant we were sitting together. I felt pretty silly about vocalising this when i realised this was the size of the aircraft:

 

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We ‘checked’ our bags in (which really meant they were on a trolley in front of us wheeled to the aircraft) & took our seats. It was a full plane. Six passengers. The pilot was lovely & we were off on our way – well kind of. The left propeller wouldn’t work. We sat on the tarmac for 20 minutes trying to get it to start. At that point we were getting worried – i don’t think we wanted it to work! Sure enough the pilot apologised profoundly & had to delay the flight. Back to the building we went. We started chatting to another couple whom has booked this flight the day prior but guess what happened? The left propeller didn’t start. At this point i was starting to get anxious – how are we going to get to Culebra?? We followed queue & raced to the Air Flamenco counter to see whether there were spaces on the next flight out in a couple of hours. There were four seats left. Perfect. They organised the transfer of luggage & Cape Air promised s a refund (which i am yet to see). The 25minute flight could have been sold as a sightseeing tour – the views were stunning. It was gorgeous!

 

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This was the plane

 

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Really enjoying your review and you haven't even got to the cruise yet! I'm from Melbourne and can relate to the long flights as we are thinking about Europe for next year. I've never really thought about the Caribbean as a destination but from what you have shown it looks like a great place to visit. And yes, you are brave for getting on that small plane! I would have been shaking as I've never been on one that small, my husband would love it though!

 

I look forward to reading more about your trip. :)

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Loving the review, also, but anxious to skip ahead and find out what AQ aft stateroom you were in, and if you had any troubles.;) I have one booked coming up. :D

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We read about the hat shop in Porthole Magazine, we were planning on stopping there. I think it is right next to Puerto Rican Crafts, which I love, on Fortaleza Street. I am cruising on Celebrity Reflection in less than two weeks and this review is making me really happy right now!

 

Your excitement is oozing out of your posts! I'm sure you will have a great time - I wish I could go back! (or go on another!) Have fun in the lead up!

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You and your husband are adventurous, brave souls! Enjoying your review so much!

 

I'm glad you are enjoying it - I apologise for not being able to post more sooner! I'm working about an hour a day on it - I've decided to do a sneaky & follow up to comments at work so home time is purely for posting :)

 

Really enjoying your review and you haven't even got to the cruise yet! I'm from Melbourne and can relate to the long flights as we are thinking about Europe for next year. I've never really thought about the Caribbean as a destination but from what you have shown it looks like a great place to visit. And yes, you are brave for getting on that small plane! I would have been shaking as I've never been on one that small, my husband would love it though!

 

I look forward to reading more about your trip. :)

 

Hello fellow aussie! Europe seems to sell a lot more over here, we felt adventurous by visiting the Caribbean - we LOVED it. The best would be the beaches & shopping. The worst? The long flights. But would I do it again? Heel YES!

 

To be honest I had no idea that the plane would be small. Should have I realised before booking I probably would have told DH & we would have made the decision to not go ahead lol. We did go & very happy that we made it back.

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Loving the review, also, but anxious to skip ahead and find out what AQ aft stateroom you were in, and if you had any troubles.;) I have one booked coming up. :D

 

Glad to hear that you are enjoying it. The stateroom will be the first things I talk about when I get to the cruise - I made sure I took lots of pics for fellow cc! Hang tight! ;)

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I have several friends that left on this same trip 2 days ago. I am enjoying your review so far.

 

Sent from my SPH-D710 using Forums mobile app

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