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 later this week.
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. El Morro is a large fortress that was designed to guard the entrance to the San Juan Bay, and defend the Spanish colonial port city of San Juan from seaborne enemies. Today, El Morro is one of San Juan’s most important historical sites. Anyway, 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. For the next couple of hours, we made our way through the passage ways and tunnels of El Morro; discovering ancient hiding spaces and lookouts. From the top of El Morro, you can the city of San Juan, the harbor, and even out towards the ocean. The views are truly amazing. A little while later we began to make our way back to the ship. With the hot sun beating down on us, we were very thankful to be greeted by smiling Eurodam crew passing out cold towels. While this is such a small thing for a cruise line to do, I hope Holland America Line knows the difference it makes!
The night was finished off with a fun and energetic deck party under the stars. While the deck party continued, other cruises ships began their night time sailaways. Soon, around 11:00 pm, it was our turn to pull up the ropes and began backing out of our dock. We began our quiet sailaway out of San Juan Harbor, setting course for our next port of call – St. Thomas.