Every season, Holland America Line carries thousands of guests on cruises to the Caribbean. The allure of the region reaches beyond sun-kissed skies and gorgeous beaches. The Caribbean is rich in culture, history, natural beauty and unique adventures.
One of the great pleasures of travel is the opportunity to sample local food and drink. While you may find language barriers along the way, an appreciation for good food is a universal language and can be a fantastic way to immerse yourself in local cultures.
As highlighted in the above video, Holland America Line’s seven-day eastern Caribbean cruises feature the gorgeous port of San Juan, Puerto Rico, in addition to Grand Turk, St. Maarten and Half Moon Cay. Puerto Rico is the largest island that the ships visit on this exciting itinerary. Rich in history and culture, it is always a guest favorite.
Dating back to the early 1500s, Puerto Rico is surrounded by high stone wall and dotted with examples of Spanish Architecture. Old San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital city, provides a cultural experience that is unmatched. The island is about 100 miles long and 35 miles wide. Puerto Rico’s entire population is around 5 million, while the population of San Juan itself is 1.6 million.
Like most of the other islands visited on the Caribbean cruises, Puerto Rico was once home to the Arawak people. Because of the size of this island, it was home to more Arawak settlements than any other island. Of course, this all changed with the arrival of Europeans, beginning with Christopher Columbus in 1493. It was on his second trip to the new world that Columbus found Puerto Rico. Though he named the island, he named it not what it is today. The name he gave to the island was San Juan Bautista, honoring St. John the Baptist.
Enjoy these two photos that I took while ashore in the Caribbean.
Mike Faust, editor of Cruise Currents, recently sailed on board Eurodam for a seven-night eastern Caribbean cruise and chronicled his trip for us. What’s your favorite Caribbean port? Let us know in the comments below!
Cruising the Eurodam – Day 4 – San Juan
It was around 9:00 am when we began pulling into San Juan Harbor. We were greeted with rough waves and spotty showers, but the rain stopped and the sun came out as soon as we docked.
The morning was pretty much spent sitting on the balcony watching us sail into San Juan. I ended up skipping breakfast to instead accept the invitation of Captain Emiel de Vries to tour the bridge. This had to be the highlight of the cruise so far. Captain Emiel showed me around the entire bridge, showing me the different types of radar and equipment used, as well as the crazy intricate deck plans on the walls of the bridge! I am very thankful to Captain Emiel for his invitation, and I can’t wait to show you photos of my bridge tour.
Right after my bridge tour we decided to debark the ship and head into San Juan. This was actually my first time ever debarking in San Juan. I have been on cruises in the past that had stops in San Juan, but I had actually never debarked. Anyway, we didn’t have any pre-planned excursions in the city, so we thought we would begin walking towards the El Morro Fortress. On our way to the fortress, we navigated the narrow and steep brick streets trying to find our way to the fortress. About a half hour later we found El Morro. We found ourselves standing at the border of the fortress overlooking beautiful green grass, the bright blue ocean in the distance, and the amazing El Morro Fortress.