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Serenade of the Seas - Embarkation Questions

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OK. I know that next April is still over 6 months away, but us planners have to plan.


(1) With a 10:00 pm departure, how early can we board? How early can we drop off our luggage?


(2) Assuming you can board in the afternoon, can you get off the ship as long as you are back aboard before 9:00 pm?


(3) Are there any hotels that are "linked up" with RCI in such a way that I can have my luggage taken directly from my hotel room to my cabin? (Just off Pride of Hawaii and they had a deal like that with the Marriott that worked great.)


(4) If not, what hotel (don't necessarily need/want a full=blown "resort") would you suggest for a one-night pre-cruise stay? Why?

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We were at the pier shortly after 11. They opened the doors to the terminal at 11:30 on the dot and we were onboard no later than 11:40.


Yes, you can check in and then get back off and go to Old San Juan. However, you can't get to your room until 1pm so if you want to leave the ship before then you'll have to keep your carryons with you.


You have to be back onboard the ship by 8pm for muster.


It varies depending on the cruise, but if you want to check which hotels are connected to RCCL, then go online as if you are booking the cruise and click that you want to do a precruise stay and it will pull up the list of hotels they are using for your cruise. They won't take your luggage from the hotel room for you though. We stayed at the Sheraton Old San Juan (booked through RCCL). When we checked out that morning we left our bags with the rest of the luggage to be brought over to the ship with the transfer group and went onto the pier in a taxi because we didn't want to wait the 2 to 3 hours for the transfer bus to arrive.

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Hotels are pretty pricey in SJU. We stayed at El Canario by the Sea last time and it was fine for a one night pre-cruise stay. The rooms were clean, and the people friendly. The breakfast was a small Continental buffet. Next time we are staying at El Canario by the Lagoon, since they are now the only one in that group that allows one night stays. We just grabbed a cab over to the ship. Their price is decent, too.


I agree with everything that Wrona posted.

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(2) Assuming you can board in the afternoon, can you get off the ship as long as you are back aboard before 9:00 pm?


The Serenade docks at the Pan-Am pier which isn't a big deal, but just so you know you won't be right in Old San Juan. You will need to catch a cab there. I'm not sure how the decisions are made on which ships dock where, perhaps on size. Because, my first cruise out of San Juan the ship docked in Old San Juan, but Serenade does not.

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Muster is 2 hours before departure? What about those people that don't get (or get back) to the pier by then?


In general the muster happens at or after the latest boarding time, so if you don't make the muster most likely you don't make the cruise.

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Another point to mention :


Normally dinner times are 6:00 and 8:00 ** but ** so that muster can be held at 8:00 they move the early seating to 5:30 and the late seating to 8:30...... just in case you want to eat that night :D in the dining room. Also - if you miss the muster after already checking in.... (not because of late flight) you might be asked to attend one the next day.....


We stayed 2 nights at El Convento (www.elconvento.com) which is right in the heart of old San Juan...... checkout is at 11:00 and they will hold your luggage in a locked luggage room (you get a ticket for each piece) so you can go and explore. I do not believe there is a time limit. We did not "rush" to the ship and opted instead to go have breakfast (La Bombonera) and then shop a bit.... when we got to the pier (we took a taxi instead of the transfer - but that is another story) it was 3-ish and there were only 4 people in line in front of us.... we were on the ship in 5 minutes.... went straight to our cabins. Luggage came quickly too.... had fresh clothes for dinner at 5:30.


So you may want to rethink going to the ship (which is at Pan Am pier - all RCI ships embark/debark at Pan Am) that requires a taxi ride and then another taxi ride back to old San Juan and then another back to the ship......... just stay at a hotel in Old San Juan..... spend the day there and then go to the ship in time for dinner and the muster drill. Just a suggestion.

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