In San Juan, we took a relaxed approach to our morning – with no shore excursions booked, we were in no rush, with no deadlines to meet. We had a relaxed breakfast, then listened to travel guide Danielle give a talk about the port as we sailed into it. It was a treat that they opened access to the bow for guests to watch from that special vantage point. After a leisurely disembarkation, we explored the port. The CVS pharmacy only a block from where the ship docked was a boon to travelers (like us) who forgot just one or two tiny but important items (like sunscreen!). Once properly protected from the tropical sun, we started wandering through the town.
The blue cobblestones were beautiful – called adoquines, they were cast from furnace slag brought over on Spanish ships as ballast. As paving stones now they are striking, framed by all the different brightly colored, white-trimmed buildings up and down the streets. We hiked up the hill to Castillo San Cristóbal, where a soft rainbow was arching overhead. We continued on toward the other fort, Castillo de San Felipe del Morro, and watched children fly colorful kites in front of the citadel. Our meandering return path took us across courtyards and down alleys filled with bright flowers, snoozing cats and skittering lizards.
We would have liked to wander through the town for hours, but we had dinner reservations at Canaletto onboard, so we made our way back to the ship to try out yet another new venue that we were eager to experience. Canaletto was lovely – good ambiance, excellent service, and very tasty food. And, at the end, a surprise – they delivered a huge plate of cotton candy to each table with the dessert course. I haven’t had cotton candy in years, and was tickled at the special treat. After finishing our desserts, we slipped back off the ship for a final stroll in the warm evening air of San Juan.
Lauren Kaufman is Holland America Line’s public relations coordinator and she recently sailed on Eurodam in the Caribbean.