Grand Africa voyage, day 69, San Juan, Puerto Rico

17 December 2022, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Our Captain’s prediction of rain materialized this morning.  I went up to the Lido and got wet taking photos from the aft deck.  Ate a good breakfast of one Egg Benedict, bacon, pineapple, watermelon, orange juice and coffee.  Moved to a window in the Explorer’s Lounge to watch the weather.

The ship was cleared for passengers to go ashore at 7:50am.  Showers through the overcast day are predicted.  My Apple Watch, iPhone, and iPad all seem to be on East coast time.   
We have returned to the US, so everyone has to go through a Face to Passport Immigration inspection this morning, understanding that there is no return to the ship until the inspection has been completed — all off for zero count.
US Coast Guard and Health inspections were also underway.

At 8:50am Jeremy requested that everyone in my “independent” (shuttle bus) group go ashore to immigration.  I really wanted to wait till later but got ready to go ashore as requested.  Still raining.  Easy passport check.  I sat in the terminal for a while, hoping for better weather.
Went outside for Connor to photograph me.  Then boarded the big luxurious 10am shuttle bus.  We are right by the airport.  Raindrops on the window.  We drove along the coast to the San Christobal Castle and then into downtown’s Plaza Colon (Columbus Square).

Still raining.   Almost got off the bus, but it was wet and gray outside.  The city was still asleep.  Some of the passengers boarding the shuttle bus looked like drowned rats.  We do not have to be back onboard until 10:30pm.  I sat back down and rode the shuttle bus back to the port.  Maybe I will try again this afternoon?

Back inside the terminal was a larger crowd of people.  All the chairs were filled, and people were having to stand and wait to be allowed back on the ship.  Holland America brought in a table to serve little cups of lemonade or water.  I asked for a chair.  One of the Immigration officers brought me one. Everyone kept waiting patiently.  It was close to 11am when we were allowed to reboard the ship.  Still gray outside.  I watched my TV’s bow camera, hoping for sunshine.

I tried again at 2pm.  Left the ship, and the sun came out.  What a miracle.  Took the shuttle bus downtown again and what a difference.  The sun was shining, and Plaza Colon had come to life.  I really wanted to see the two forts, so walked the lovely streets, thinking I might zig zag my way to the old San Felipe Castle / El Morro built to protect the city by sea.  Beautiful streets and balconies with Christmas decorations.  Just made it a few blocks and decided to make my way back to Plaza Colon and maybe visit the nearby San Christobal Castle, built to protect the city by land.  Both forts are part of the San Juan Historic Site, part of our National Park System.  I had even brought my National Park Pass.

One souvenir shop had expensive USA prices, so I was surprised to spot one with a sign for 3 T shirts for $10.  I had to go in.  Bought one T shirt for myself.  And succeeded with other shopping.  Feeling satisfied tasting this lovely city, I admitted that I was tired and took the 4pm shuttle bus back to the ship.

At dinner I learned that Jan & David had spent the whole day exploring the city and forts of San Juan.  Rain and sun.  They were still soaking wet, when they returned at 4:30 pm, but they had fallen love with San Juan.
My dinner was the Smoked Chicken with Raisins appetizer, Cream of Five Onion Soup, Baked Crab Cakes, the Zinfandel Rose wine, and decaf coffee with cream & sugar for dessert.

On World Stage:  Comedian Gabe Abelson, one of the most in demand mentalists.  Gabe’s demonstrations of thought reading, persuasion, suggestion, and intuition leave those who witness his stage show stunned and slack jawed in disbelief!”

Waiting in my room were two dark chocolates, etc.  Earlier, the 8×10 photo from yesterday’s Gold medallion presentation had been delivered.  Me + Captain + Hotel Director.  Nice.

Quote of the Day:  Travel opens your heart, broadens your mind, and fills your life with stories to tell.” Paula Bendfelt

Photo gallery by Barbara Cummings

Photo by Malcolm Garret on

2 thoughts on “Grand Africa voyage, day 69, San Juan, Puerto Rico

  1. What ongoing grand photos and script; I particularly like ur Mariner pic with the officers. You all look relaxed, happy and delightful people.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s