Monday, February 2, 2015

Trip Report: Christmas Cruise on Independence of the Seas [Day 6] Puerto Rico

We woke up Christmas morning in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  San Juan is perhaps the worst port to be in on Christmas Day because Puerto Rico is very religious and traditional, so most stores were closed, and very few tours were operating.  We were also in port for a very short period of time, departing at 2PM, so it wasn't really long enough to justify a trip to the beach.

We were joined in port by the Carnival Conquest.

Carnival Conquest

No plans, but we decided to leave the ship to walk around. We needed to visit a drug store to pick up some medicine, as Rachel and I were both coming down with something.



Independence of the Seas

Old San Juan

We stocked up on drugs at CVS, and I learned that you can share a Coke in Spanish. I looked through the case in search of my friends' names, but with no luck, I settled for something more generic...

Diet Coke to Share

We went on a walk through Old San Juan in search of some open stores.  The only stores that were open, however, were jewelry stores.  We ran into our shopping guide, Paige, twice, and she wasn't very good at her job.  At one store she stood propped up against a jewelry case, completely blocking anyone from being able to view inside.  Also, she was so consumed in conversation with her friends that she didn't bother to notice that we had been at two stores with her, and maybe she should talk to us to see what we were looking for and if she could help.

Old San Juan

Old San Juan

Old San Juan

Old San Juan

Old San Juan

Old San Juan

Old San Juan

Old San Juan

Old San Juan

Who needs the World's Best coffee when you can have this?

Old San Juan

Los Reyes, the Three Kings, are a very important part of Puerto Rican culture, having the present-giving role of Santa Claus.

Old San Juan

San Juan Parking Garage

Old San Juan Cruise Port

Independence of the Seas

Independence of the Seas

So it's a bit of a joke for us to take family selfies.  They turn out really funny because Dad never smiles.  So we decided to take a Shingleton Family Selfie in front of the ship.  Of course, when people saw dad struggling to take a selfie, they'd offer to take a family photo.  "Oh, no thanks - we want a selfie.  It's funny."

Ship Selfie

Independence of the Seas

While we were busy taking selfies, the Holland America Noodam joined us in port.

Cruise Ships in San Juan

Independence of the Seas

San Juan Cruise Port

All Aboard!

San Juan

San Juan

San Juan

Rachel and I decided to get a little sun on the top deck as we were leaving San Juan.

Sun Deck

Sun Deck

Castillo de San Cristobal

Cruise Ships in San Juan

St. Tropez, on the 13th (14th?) deck forward is a great, quiet spot for catching some rays.

St. Tropez Sun deck

Sail Away

Cruise Ships in San Juan

I was lying in my chaise, taking advantage of the Verizon coverage available in San Juan to Snapchat my friends when I heard someone say, "Well, it looks like Victoria is on Vacation."

At first, I thought I must have misheard or imagined it... but then I realized that there was no way.  I turned around with a goofy grin on my face and met Don, who reads my reviews on Cruise Critic and recognized me!

This is the first time I have ever been recognized while on vacation, and it felt really awesome to know that I had reached so many people through my reviews that I had finally met the odds of randomly meeting one of my readers.  Rachel thought it was pretty cool, too, and even bragged on me to Mom and Dad.

So thank you, Don, for speaking to me - you made my day!

Cruise Ships in San Juan

Sailing out of San Juan was scenic and beautiful.  We slowly cruised out, passing Castillo San Felipe.  It was a great opportunity for photographs.

San Juan

San Juan

San Juan

Castillo San Felipe del Morro

Castillo San Felipe del Morro

Castillo San Felipe del Morro

Castillo San Felipe del Morro

Sailing

Rachel and I returned to our room and were watching The Santa Clause 2 on our stateroom television when I couldn't help but notice the beautiful golden glow on our balcony divider.

Balcony Glow

Balcony Stateroom

Balcony

Olive or Twist

Rachel had arranged to meet Mom and Dad for pre-dinner cocktails, but forget to tell me... and we ended up arriving fifteen minutes late.  Dad thought we had ditched them.  Talk about terrible dates!

To add to the terribleness, in the hurry to get out the door, I reached into my backpack and grabbed the plastic card I assumed was my SeaPass.  It wasn't until I sat down at Olive or Twist that I realized I was instead holding an old Disney PhotoPass card.  I did not have my SeaPass.

This, of course, was the night that we got ID'd.  The bartender asked if we were both over 21, and we responded yes.  Rachel showed her SeaPass, and I did not offer mine.  She seemed a little suspicious of me, but she served me, anyway.  The irony is that I'm older than Rachel, but for some reason no one ever guesses that or wants to believe it.

Olive or Twist

Olive or Twist is the cute name for the location typically called the Viking Crown Lounge on Royal Caribbean ships.  It has a wonderful view overlooking the pool deck below.

Olive or Twist

Romeo & Juliet Dining Room

I believe the dish below is brie cheese, but I cannot recall or locate its official menu name.

VIC_4918

I felt a little guilty ordering the Tandori Chicken as an entree on Christmas Day because it didn't seem at all a traditionally festive dish, but I found it to be the most intriguing item on the menu.

VIC_4922

And this is some sort of chocolate cake...

VIC_4924

The Quest

After dinner, the entire family headed to Labyrinth for 50% off ladies cocktails.  I was even able to purchase drinks for my dad and receive the discount.  This is the best drink promotion I have ever seen on a cruise ship... specialty cocktails for $4 - it's incredible!

Having pre-gamed we arrived at Studio B for Quest a little late to get actual seats.  The ice rink was packed, and many people were standing and sitting in the aisles, which I don't believe is suitable for fire codes, but I'm not complaining.  Our team captain really stunk.  I tried to help her out by bringing her a comb for "false teeth" but she refused to take it.  "It works!  I promise!"  She wouldn't.  How lame.  I was also incredibly disappointed that I didn't get to do the worm because I am pretty fantastic at the worm.  Yes, I am bragging, but give me a break - this is the only dance move I am good at!

In our cruise director, Jaime's typical style, he stretched out every single Quest to last as long as possible (well, not the Quests themselves, but the time between them).  He can't just crack one joke and move on.  He has to make a big, giant deal about everything.  Shut-up, Jaime... you would be funnier if you said less.  Just like I witnessed perhaps the longest game of Love & Marriage ever earlier in the cruise, I witnessed possibly the longest game of Quest this night.

Bored of the incredibly drawn out game, Rachel and I left Studio B to take advantage of 50% off ladies cocktails in Labyrinth before it ended at midnight.  We took our drinks to-go and brought them back to Studio B... to find that Quest was still going.

Towel Animal

NEXT: [Day 7] Labadee, Haiti