Looking for a way to avoid a long Canadian winter we booked the Disney repositioning cruise from San Juan PR to New Orleans LA. I love repositioning cruises. It gives you an opportunity to visit two different ports before and after the cruise. This repo was mainly sea days with a stop at Castaway Cay.
Flying from Canada is a bit trickier in winter you can never be sure what the weather will be like. I wanted to make sure we were arriving 3-4 days before the cruise to allow us some extra time to get to San Juan in case of flight cancellations due to weather. United had flights from Halifax to San Juan with an overnight stop-over at Newark for $211CAD about $160USD per person. I jumped on the deal. For our flights home from New Orleans I was able to find flights using my Aeroplan points. Once the flights were booked all we needed to do was wait. Luckily we had another cruise booked in the summer to help the time pass.
San Juan Hotel
Originally I booked a hotel in Old San Juan for the two nights before our cruise. As our trip got closer and the winter was colder, I thought we might want to spend some time at the beach. About a week before we left I found a good deal at the Doubletree by Hilton San Juan. Normally I would show a few pictures of the hotel here, but sadly my memory card was accidentally erased and I lost my hotel pictures. It was very nice with a small quiet pool area. If you wanted to go to the beach they would take you in a golf cart to the beach area. They had loungers and umbrellas, I think you could also order food from the hotel to be delivered to the beach.
The weather was good the day we left Halifax our flight to Newark was uneventful but it was on a very small plane. We found our shuttle to the Hotel easily and were in our room in no time. Finding a hotel in the Newark airport area with a pool proved difficult. It is an industrial area without much to do. With an early flight the next morning we didn’t want to venture too far from the airport. We spent most of the afternoon watching tv and ate at the restaurant in the Hotel.
We needed to be at the airport around 5:30am the next morning so we headed to bed early 9:00pm. I woke up at 10:30pm to a toddler screaming up and down the halls Thinking it was still early and it would stop when they got to their room I tried to ignore it. At 11:30pm I had had enough and went into the hall to tell them to knock off the noise. Much to my surprise, no one was in the hall. It turned out the noise was coming from the room next door. A call to the front desk did little and a knock on the wall seemed to make the yelling louder. I think I finally drifted off to sleep around 1am.
Travel Day Part Two
Needless to say, I was a wee bit tired at 4am when our alarm went off, and I may have not been as quick to turn it off as I normally would have been. I certainly hoped I had not awoken anyone in the screaming room lol.
The shuttle was quick to the airport and the driver let us off at our terminal which I was not expecting. It took a while to clear security. We have Nexus but did not get Pre-Check on our boarding pass and had to go through the regular line. I think that we should be using our Nexus cards instead of our passports when we check-in. In Canada, you just need to show the card when you get to security and they will let you in the known traveller line.
The flight was good a much larger plane and United has a huge amount of movies and TV to choose from. We all choose Mission Impossible 4 to watch, it wasn’t long enough for the entire flight. I started watching “Who killed Garrett Phillips”. It was pretty interesting and I watched the rest of it when I got home.
Arriving in San Juan
San Juan airport is modern and easy to get around. We got an Uber to take us to our hotel. We checked-in online but still needed to stop at the front desk and pick up our key cards. The room was a Queen with a double Murphy bed perfect for us. The room did have a bit too much furniture it was crowded when the murphy bed was down, good for two nights but any longer might be a little too small with the extra furniture. We did have a view of the pool which was nice.
We dropped off our luggage and headed to the pool. it was quiet and not very busy. Jay headed across the street to the large supermax and picked up some drinks for the room. We stayed at the pool area for a couple hours and also tried out the hot tub. It was all very nice. The area around the hotel has lots of restaurants in walking distance. We decided on Panuchos.
The restaurant is a short walk from the hotel, about 5 minutes. It reviewed well online and we enjoyed it. I think that we arrived at a good time not too busy. We ordered the Flautas de Papa Y Polo to share. It was delicious, definitely one of the best things I have ever eaten. My main was the Salmón Chile Guajillo, I thought it was a bit bland a let down after the Flautas de Papa Y Polo. Jay had the Tacos Estilo Pastor they were pretty good more flavour than mine. The best was what Georgia ordered Enchiladas Gratinadas Entomatadas. Very flavourful and huge so Jay and I both were able to help her finish it.
Street Art in San Juan
It was a long day after we ate we headed back to the hotel for an early night. There is lots of great street art in San Juan I wish we had more time to see it. We took a few pictures along our walk back.
I was going to do all of our San Juan time in one post but I think it is getting a bit long. Check here for Part Two. If you enjoyed reading this trip report check out my London and Transatlantic cruise trip report.