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Please help with questions about cb from San Juan


smilz

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Hello folks. I am not new to cruising or to the cb but somehow we seem to be less sure of things this time.. We will be leaving on 03/22 from San Juan. I understand from several postings that we will be leaving from the Pan American Pier. Does that mean that we will be returning to the same pier? Can anyone tell me when the all aboard is in sj? I am reading that the muster drill is at 8pm. Also...We are avid snorklers and have our own equipment incuding a prescription mask. We have been to the wreck a couple of times in Aruba and thought we may take a bus up to the beaches by the California lighthouse. Will we be disappointed? In Boanaire, we are also having a hard time deciding whether to take the ferry to klein bonaire or stick to the boat excursion we are booked with. 1/2 day port calls are not my favorite and we have 2 this time. We snorked Grenada last time and it was just ok. How are the beaches? We are also not fans of roaming too far on our own (including by boat) We were on a Princess excursion several years ago in Barbados and the boat engine blew. Making a long story short, the ship waited several hours for us. That kind of changed how we felt about doing things on own own on islands that we are not real familiar with. I have no concerns with the possibility of reairs/renovations not being completed on cb. we are flexible and can enjoy ourselves reguardless. we even had a reat time on a RCCL cruise to Bermuda in 50 foot seas! Looking forward to your imput!:)

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Hi, there are several reviews from the last few weeks with the CB that you can search on and read. But to answer your questions, You will both embark and disembark from the Pan American Pier. There was a thread earlier that said the last minute boarding is around 9 pm (2 hours before leaving - because of customs). Our trip order had the sea day last, so we boarded around noon and wandered the ship. We visited San Juan on our return because our flight didn't leave until Monday.

My husband and I (late 40s) snorkel a lot and chose only to bring our masks/snorkels with us. On our two snorkel tours we got flippers. We also choose to do Princess tours. We chose to only snorkel in St. Thomas and Bonaire. We did the Nautica Speed Tour, enjoyed the boat ride and the crew, snorkelling was in Turtle Cove and a spot around the corner, both were good spots, will definitely see turtles. Bonaire we did the Sea Cow and enjoyed the crew but I was disappointed with the snorkelling. I read so much hype about Bonaire so don't know if it was bad day/bad spot - though we were off Klein Bonaire or my expectations were too high. We thought it might be a really good place to dive since the reef dropped off very quickly so might want to consider the Resort Dive that the ship offers. The whole week we did have winds and because of rain, the offshore stuff is cloudier.

Since we snorkel all over the place we chose to do some different tours this trip and greatly enjoyed them. We did Dominica River Tubing/Lunch/Emerald Pool ..the tubing part was great fun, Lunch okay, Emerald Pool mobbed. Would still do it again, great crew. In Aruba we did the ATV tour, again great crew and great fun (I'd never driven an ATV). Grenada was our short day in port and we didn't want to get up that early. So we wandered around Carneage - unfortunately really not that much to see, then went shopping for spices which is the only real shopping that I do.

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I will try to answer some of your questions, based on our own experiences.

 

Re Pam Am pier, when we did Crown Princess in 2008 from San Juan, we left from the Old San Juan pier. We did however leave from the Pan Am pier a few times on RCCL ships. I am not a fan of the Pan Am pier and much prefer OSJ, but Pan Am is just a short taxi ride from OSJ. That pier does not have a duty free store however.

 

We also snorkeled the wreck in Aruba and have not snorkled elsewhere, but my nephew teaches and certifies divers and has dived in many places in Aruba and says it is a great place to snorkel/dive.

 

I agree with you about doing ship tours, especially on water, for the same reason you indicate, which is that boats can break down easily. We did the Princess boat/beach tour in Grenada, which was great. They take you by boat right from the dock to a very nice beach and they sail into the harbour by the town en route. You then have about an hour or 2 to swim and the beach is very nice, sandy and no rocks. The boat crew serve rum punch to you at the beach. Some people say Grenada is bad for vendors bothering you and there are vendors approaching on the beach, but they are pretty good at taking no for an answer and the crew helps to shoo them away from you too. Prices are pretty good though for what they are selling and I did not find the vendors nearly as annoying as they were in say Jamaica or Mexico. On the boat going back to the ship, they serve delicious fresh fruit, cheese and crackers and of course the rum punch and it is a great party and the crew were lots of fun and very friendly. I highly recommend this tour.

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We were on the CB in November. Boarding and disembarkation are at the Pan Am pier and depending on customs and other circumstances (as reported on reviews) should begin at 1PM. Maybe they have this process worked out by now but it was a disaster when we were there.

 

Snorkeling; Bonaire and Aruba would be your best bets. Bonaire ecology was effected badly with the hurricane last September. The reefs were very "worn" and silt covered much of the underwater flora and funa. I would think a ship's snorkeling tour would work well but do wear lots of sunscreen and even a tshirt. There is no protection on Klein Bonaire.

 

I wouldn't go to a beach up as far as the Lighthouse in Aruba as the coral may be rough. I don't know if Seagrapes Beach still has a taxi que, but if you check that out, I would not hesitate to stop there. We went to 7 Mile beach in November, between the Radisson and the Riu to DePalm pier. There is a vendor under the tent who will rent the chaise lounges & umbrellas with jet skis, parasailing, etc. available too.

 

Please feel free to read my review: CB Nov. 2, 2008 by nanatravel. Highly recommend Mando tours in Grenada.

 

Bon Voyage

Nanatravel

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I will try to answer some of your questions, based on our own experiences.

 

Re Pam Am pier, when we did Crown Princess in 2008 from San Juan, we left from the Old San Juan pier. We did however leave from the Pan Am pier a few times on RCCL ships. I am not a fan of the Pan Am pier and much prefer OSJ, but Pan Am is just a short taxi ride from OSJ. That pier does not have a duty free store however.

 

Sorry but the Princess Pan American terminal has had a duty free store located inside since at least 2004/:confused:

 

I have spent lots of money there.;)

 

Mike:)

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We did the Princess boat/beach tour in Grenada, which was great. They take you by boat right from the dock to a very nice beach and they sail into the harbour by the town en route. You then have about an hour or 2 to swim and the beach is very nice, sandy and no rocks. The boat crew serve rum punch to you at the beach. Some people say Grenada is bad for vendors bothering you and there are vendors approaching on the beach, but they are pretty good at taking no for an answer and the crew helps to shoo them away from you too. Prices are pretty good though for what they are selling and I did not find the vendors nearly as annoying as they were in say Jamaica or Mexico. On the boat going back to the ship, they serve delicious fresh fruit, cheese and crackers and of course the rum punch and it is a great party and the crew were lots of fun and very friendly. I highly recommend this tour.

Which tour was this? What beach or what was the tour name.

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Sorry but the Princess Pan American terminal has had a duty free store located inside since at least 2004/:confused:

 

I have spent lots of money there.;)

 

Mike:)

Sorry for the misinformation, perhaps it was prior to that the last time I was there. I still prefer the OSJ pier however.

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Which tour was this? What beach or what was the tour name.

 

Here you go:

Party Cruise & Beach GND-650

 

Party hearty on a motorized-catamaran cruise that features a live steel band and visits beautiful Morne Rouge Beach.

 

Board your party boat for a leisurely 45-minute cruise. Leave St. George's inner harbor, passing by Grand Anse Beach, on the way to Morne Rouge Beach. Enjoy sightseeing Grenada's south coast with complimentary rum punch, soft drinks, and local fresh fruit. An informative commentary will provide an historical, cultural, and social overview of the island. Stop over a reef to feed the fish and dance to the rhythms of a live steel drum band. Drop anchor at Morne Rouge Beach, where there will be ample time to swim, sunbathe, or simply relax on the sun-soaked beach. Then it's party time during your return cruise. Dance to the band's Caribbean beat, participate in the limbo competition, form a conga line with the friendly crew, and have the time of your life!

 

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Cricketgal - We have booked this same tour for our upcoming cruise. Glad to hear that you had a good time. Could you tell me if you have to swim to get to the beach, do they put you in small boats to get there or does the catamaran come right up on the beach type of thing? (in other words - do you have to get wet to get off the catamaran?) Also, do you remember if they had beer as well as rum punch?

 

Thanks very much!

 

Canuck

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A great place to snorkel in Aruba is Boca Catalina. It is on Road 1A that bears left at Tiera del Sol. You can go right off the beach and swim approx. 100 yrds to the coral reefs.BTW the snorkel tours all go to the same reef. Bring some frozen peas and watch the fish go nuts.

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