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Our cruise sailed out of San Juan. Even though the sailing began late, so that people could fly in on that day, we chose to go a couple of days early and spend time in Old San Juan. Madeline hadn’t been there since our very first cruise in 1986. I was there 10 years later right after Hurricane Hortense hit the island.


Unfortunately Hurricane Irma hit our house 3 days before we were to leave. Our flights got changed, so left early and flew to Houston before moving on to San Juan. We were upgraded, though, so that was good. We stayed at the Sheraton Old San Juan hotel right opposite the piers. It was an easy walk to the forts and other parts of Old Town. Little did we realize, though, that Hurricane Maria would destroy Puerto Rico only a few days after we left.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

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American put us on a United flight to Houston and then to San Juan. Upgrading us made up for the fact that we flew back over Orlando.


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It was about 3:30 in the afternoon when we got to San Juan. A storm had just left the area. When we got to the Sheraton, we discovered we were upgraded once again. We had a room overlooking the piers, and there was already a Royal Caribbean ship there performing relief efforts for St. Maarten that had been so badly beaten by Irma.


We just wanted to have a quick meal at Señor Frog's and relax in our room after our long day.

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The wall is more than 40’ tall in some places and fully encircled the city by 1783. The path took us by the red city gate and passed a large number of feral cats. The views of the fort were the most magnificent, though.

We started walking west from our hotel and came upon Paseo la Princesa and its Raices Fountain that celebrated the New World’s 500th anniversary in 1992. From there, we walked down a tree-lined path and around outside of the old wall.

The construction of the Castillo San Felipe del Morro citadel and its surrounding walls began in 1539 on orders of King Charles V of Spain. Its main purpose was to defend the port of San Juan by controlling the entry to its harbor. Puerto Rico was the first island to have food, water, and supplies for ships sailing across the Atlantic, so it became a major hub for treasures going in and out of the New World. The fort has six levels, and we explored all of them despite the high heat and humidity.

Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery is a colonial-era cemetery. It is the final resting place of many of Puerto Rico's most prominent natives and residents. Construction began in 1863, and we saw it from three different sides.

After a quick lunch we moved on to Castillo San Cristóbal, a fort built by Spain to protect against land based attacks of San Juan. When it was finished in 1783, it was the largest fortification in the Americas at the time. Smaller than El Morro today, we still enjoyed the dungeon and the wonderful view of El Morro and the shanty town along the sea.

Looking southeast towards San Cristóbal

Looking northeast towards the Atlantic

Looking northwest towards El Morro.


We woke up early for some reason on Saturday and looked out our window just in time to see our ship come into the harbor. We hoped she would dock right across the street where the other ship had docked, but she moved onto the other side instead.


We had all morning to explore San Juan some more, so we went to the Catedral Metropolitana Basílica de San Juan Bautista or St. John the Baptist Cathedral, which is the second oldest cathedral in the Americas.


We walked the quaint streets of Old San Juan some more before going to the ship. From there, we got a good view of Saint Augustine church from our cabin balcony. 

An image from TV when we returned