Eastern Caribbean Cruise – Part 1: Grand Turk + Puerto Rico
Two weeks ago Colby and I went on a cruise through the Eastern Caribbean! Our cruise left out of Miami and went to Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Kitts and St. Maarten. It was an 8-day cruise on the new Carnival ship, the Horizon.
I don’t quite remember, but I think this was our 4th cruise together. Every time we cruise I am reminded how wonderful of a vacation it is. I know so many people are anti-cruises, even though it seems like the people who don’t like them are the ones that have never been on them, but we love them! It helps that they are so budget-friendly, so stress-free and overall, just wonderful!
Day 1 + 2 – Fly to Ft. Laderdale
We left Dallas on Friday and flew into Ft. Lauderdale. We rented a car and stayed the night in Miami. Saturday morning was relaxing. I did some work from the hotel and then we headed to drop off our car and get on the ship. Thankfully the boarding process was so easy and fast.
Day 3 – Sea Day
The first full day on the ship was a sea day. We love sea days because it gives us a full day to relax! After we had breakfast we went to the gym and then went to the adults only section of the ship and found a comfy place to hang for the day. We spent the day doing nothing besides listening to podcasts, music and reading.
We enjoyed having a date night every day on the ship! Most nights after going to dinner we would usually just walk around, take pictures, play cards and listen to the different musicians. They also had PG comedy, so we enjoyed each night too.
Day 4 – Grand Turk
Our first island to visit was Grand Turk, which we had been to once before on our cruise to the Southern Caribbean. Grand Turk is such a care-free port to visit because literally right when you get off the ship, you are there! There is no need to take a taxi or plan an excursion.
We enjoyed the day going back and forth between the beach and the pool all day and it was a perfect. We also met a sweet family from Missouri who was so fun to talk to. We ended up seeing them later when we were in St. Maarten too.
Day 5 – San Juan, Puerto Rico
Colby had been to Puerto Rico once before with friends, but this was my first time. Once we got off the ship, we just started walking! We walked to both forts, Castillo de San Cristóbal and Castillo San Felipe del
After the forts we walked around town for a little bit. The one negative part about going on a cruise in the winter is it got dark so early, so by 5:30 each night it was pitch black. Not only was it dark early but in San Juan it started pouring rain so we decided to make our way back to the ship to eat dinner. We didn’t see the point in spending money for food on the island when it was free once we got back to the ship. Overall, we liked San Juan much more than we thought we would.
After San Juan we went to St. Kitts and St. Maarten which I will recap in the next few weeks! I want to know, have you been to these islands before?
If you need transportation from the airport to port, use Uber (much cheaper than taxi) or use a rental car. Use carolineh2699ue for $15 off your ride when booking with Uber. Make sure to download app and setup your account with credit card and enter info ahead of time so you can request a car right away.
Find the Facebook group for your specific cruise. It’s a great way to meet people and get ideas for excursions.
Book excursions through 3rd parties. You will save a lot of money by doing this.
Book your cruise using ebates. We booked through priceline and got $91 cash back.
Bring your own water bottle/cups. This way you will avoid having to refill their small ones. We brought two water bottles and two coffee cups and were so glad we had them.
Keep bathing suit + sunscreen in your carry on. The first day the lounge chairs and pools are empty, so you will have the area to yourself.
If you are on an older ship bring a plug extender for your room. Something like this.
Bring some towel clips. We were so glad we had these because it gets sooooo windy!
Bring googles. You will want these to see all the beautiful fish in the clear waters.
Make sure to do the ship activities (slides, ropes course, games, etc) during the start of the cruise. If it is too windy (or there is other bad weather) they will shut those things down and if you save them for last you won’t be able to do them at all. Thankfully this cruise we didn’t run into this problem, but we have in the past.
Download the Carnival app. This was so helpful, even more so than prior cruises. We could see the full schedule, weather, reserve our dinner table, etc.
Bring a jacket. I rarely used it on the ship, because thankfully the temperatures were perfect, but if you are on a ship that is cold, you will want it.
Bring a lanyard. This was helpful to have for our room keys.
Bring a beach blanket. It of course doesn’t have to be this one, but we were so glad we had this and used it at most ports. Yes, they give you beach towels, but it was nice to have this and several times to ourselves how glad we were we brought it.
Bring some cards or games. The library had a ton of games too, but it was nice to have our own.
On the last day, if able, carry off your own luggage. We walked right off the ship at 8:30 am and it was so simple.
Have questions? Leave a comment and I will answer!
I didn’t start sharing our traveling adventures on the blog until the end of 2013, but you can see some of our vacations below. You can also see our best tips for traveling on a budget here!
Western Caribbean Cruise
South America: Argentina
South America: Torres Del Paine
South America: Lake Region
South America: Santiago + Coast
Costa Rica: Manuel Antonio
Costa Rica: Santa Teresa
Costa Rica: La Fortuna
Caribbean Cruise – Grand Turk + Dominican Republic
Caribbean Cruise – Aruba + Curacao
Colorado Ski Date #2
Europe: The Netherlands
Europe: Montenegro + Greece
Colorado Ski Trip #4
Northern California + Lake Tahoe
Yosemite + Napa
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