San Juan, Puerto Rico…Off the ship for new photos…

Tom took this sunrise photo yesterday morning as our ship was a few miles from Puerto Rico.

As we’ve become more experienced cruisers, we’ve learned to determine when it makes sense for us to get off the ship.  For example, yesterday, as our ship approached the port of Puerto Rico, the bustling city attracted our attention, offering plenty of places to walk to explore the nature of the area. 

I’m impressed! His photo taking is improving!

Now, as I write this, we are docked at the pier at Grand Turks and Caicos, a small island country.  All we can see for miles on this clear, sunny day, is once again, a man-made beach, pool, and shopping area, owned by the cruise lines. We are unable to use our Xcom Global MiFi as no signal is available from this small. As a result, we are posting today, using the ship’s WiFi at $.33 a minute for the package we purchased at the second leg of this back-to-back cruise.

Tom took this photo from our balcony of the captain on the bridge, as the ship entered the port of San Juan, Puerto Rico early yesterday morning.

With no respite from the blaring sun, we’ve decided to stay aboard,  use the self-service laundry on our floor in preparation for tomorrow’s packing. This will be the last cruise we’ve booked on which there is self-service laundry. Going forward, we’ll have no alternative but to pay the exorbitant fees to have the laundry done by each ship’s laundry department. 

 El Morro Fort on the island of San Juan.

Again this time, we have some serious rearranging to do, putting all of our vitamins inside the various suitcases,  using the duffel bag for clothing only.  There’s no way we’re willing to experience the difficulty we had boarded this ship as described in our post of 4/10/2013.

 San Juan appears to be a busy business and industrial city. Maybe someday we’ll experience this smaller ship with only 296 passengers with a crew of 207.  Intimate smaller ships are especially appealing to us.

Much to my dismay, my bum shoulder is acting up so much I can barely move my right arm. Taking two Aleve on a full stomach last night and again this morning, I’m hoping to get some relief after a few days of this regime. Moving to the Norwegian Epic in two days, leaves me worrying that I won’t be able to haul my share. 

The Silver Cloud, of Silversea lines, a 296 passenger, 207 crew members on the ship.

This morning, when getting the $14 of change needed for two loads of laundry plus two little boxes of laundry soap, we discovered that this ship will arrive at Pier D in Miami while the Epic will be loading at Pier C. If we plan to be among the last passengers off of this ship when disembarking, and we’re lucky enough to find a porter with a large cart, we’ll manage to move over with relative ease, once we go through customs.

 The busy port of San Juan.

Entering a ship preparing to sail doesn’t require a customs inspection, only a trip through security.  So far in all of our travels, customs had not been an issue. It was Carnival’s onboard security that gave us the difficulties with the vitamins.But we shall see. Nothing in our travels is a certainty. One can never relax anticipating any procedure to be a breeze. This, we’d anticipated and has been confirmed over and again.

As for Puerto Rico, it was a lovely city, clean, orderly, well policed. Modern US  and international stores lined the
boulevard. Vendors were in abundance with little of the expected hawking. A few beggars clinked their near-empty pop cans, hoping to attract a generous passerby, unfettered by the police.

Parrots posing for us as we walked along the boulevard.
Getting off the ship at various ports has been relatively easy, only requiring that we show our “Sign and Sail” card which they swipe through a  scanner revealing our ID and photo. Upon returning, both the card and driver’s license or additional photo ID is required. The lines to get off and on can be lengthy and slow.Our goal has been to leave later and return earlier, thus avoiding the rush of passengers.

In only an hour and a half of walking we’d seen the entire area, not wanting to get too far from the pier with the early 3:30 pm sail time. Content, that we’d seen everything in the immediate area, we returned with ample photos unloaded our stuff and made our way to the pool.

While trying to get a good shot of these parrots, the vendor kept moving the cart, readjusting the cart in the fierce winds, making it difficult for me to get a good shot. Nonetheless, they took an interest in my close proximity. Thanks, Parrots!
Within minutes of arranging our chaise lounges, towels and beverages, a movie began to play on the poolside movie screen, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. A few years ago, I had inattentively watched this movie with my precious granddaughter Maisie, too young to appreciate it at the time. I spent more time watching the expressions on her face than paying attention to the movie.
 Familiar stores lined the streets of San Juan.

As the movie began, I found myself entranced by its sweet story, unable to tear myself away. Tom, less interested in it, eventually wandered to a shaded area to read the latest book on his phone, while I stayed put until the movie ended. At one point, tears welled up in my eyes  not only for the tender story but the memory of the time spent with my granddaughter. Of course, we miss them all.

Equally familiar fast food restaurants were available.

Dinner was pleasant at another table for six in the Golden Olympian while lively conversation ensued among the three couples. My dinner was almost perfect except for the following: I’d asked for Caesar dressing on the side.  The salad was swimming in a thick dressing. I asked for non-starchy vegetables to include cauliflower, zucchini, broccoli and a small amount of carrots. 

 A replica of an old pirate ship.

Instead, my lamb was laying on a bed of puckered overly cooked green peas (starchy) with a single piece of broccoli and cauliflower. My cheese plate was decorated with several juicy pieces of fruit (I can’t eat fruit due to carbs from sugar). 

 Horse and buggy waiting for visiting passengers to partake.

Rather than complain, I scooped the peas onto Tom’s plate and moved the fruit onto my saucer asking for additional steamed veggies which I received  in perfect order. It’s not easy to feel  full and satisfied after a meal when one doesn’t eat bread, potatoes, rice, beans or dessert. Veggies seem to fill the bill for me when a remaining pang of hunger strikes when others are enjoying gooey desserts.

As we approached the  end of the boulevard, we spotted this fountain and began making our way back to the ship to ensure we’d arrive in plenty of time to depart San Juan.

Tom ordered the Seafood Newberg finding the flavor inconsistent from his same order only a few nights ago, liking it much less the second time. We’ve found many inconsistencies in the food on Carnival, although overall, it has been palatable. Of course, nothing so far, can compare to the amazing food on the Celebrity Century with their designated gluten free menu and gourmet flair.

 Tom pointed out the mud stirred up as the ship fired up to depart the port of San Juan.

Off we go, living on ships for the next two months, except for the 13 nights in Dubai. Tom asked me if I’m bored. Ha! First off,  boredom has never been an issue for me. I’ve always been able to find a way to entertain myself when alone and when with Tom, the idle chatter, laughter and banter never ceases, hardly leaving time for boredom.

 The sunlight view as we left San Juan.

For us, where we are is irrelevant, as we easily find ourselves wrapped up in the moment. We even got a kick out of doing our laundry together today.