2014 Freedom of the Seas Cruise Recap Part #4

Welcome back- feel free to read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 if you missed them.

We left off in San Juan, Puerto Rico, which was Day 4 of our cruise and the primary reason why we booked this itinerary. Freedom of the Seas typically goes to CocoCay, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten, which was the itinerary we did in our honeymoon in 2011 (on the same ship- not many Royal Caribbean choices from Port Canaveral).

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We wanted to check out San Juan, and as soon as we got off the ship, we hopped aboard a bus for a $10 tour. This was totally spontaneous and *not* booked through the ship- just that a tour company had buses to fill and offered us all a tour of the old and new areas of the city, and we couldn’t pass it up- mainly because the buses were air conditioned. Everyone else on the bus was from our cruise ship as well, and taking the tour was actually cheaper than getting a cab to the forts, which is what we wanted to see.

Our tour guide even stopped and let us take some pictures around San Juan, and the city had some amazing views and photo opportunities.

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One of the coolest things we saw was this memorial bicycle- we have one of these here in Charleston; they are all over the world in honor of cyclists who’ve been killed. I’ll have to take a picture of the one downtown to post in here so you guys can see it too, but it was neat seeing one in another country.

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In San Juan, we toured the El Morro historical site. There’s also another fort at the historical site- Castillo San-Cristobal, but we just walked around the outside of it and didn’t pay to get in (for future reference, you can pay $5 admission and get into both- which is a great deal).

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El Morro is the oldest place I’ve ever been- even older than the historical sites here in Charleston and the US. We walked around the fort and learned a lot about Puerto Rican history and how the soldiers lived in and defended the fort, which is almost 500 years old. El Morro has 6 levels, and it’s a lot of climbing and definitely a workout (especially with the heat), so if you go, wear good shoes, reapply your sunscreen, and bring water with you.

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One thing we noticed at the fort was how much shorter everyone was back then! I’m not usually able to touch the ceiling of anywhere, but I could touch the ceilings of the entrances and Clay had to duck in some of them. I also bought a Christmas ornament at the fort’s gift shop- one of our favorite traditions is buying a Christmas ornament in the cities we visit.

After spending a few hours at the fort, we bought water from a street vendor, then headed into downtown to find local Puerto Rican cuisine. We eat as many meals as possible on the ship to save money, but we like to get a local drink or two and a meal in port to try (slightly) more authentic food.

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We ended up at Inaru, where Clay got the grouper mofungo (mofungo is a fried, mashed plantain dish).

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It was a large portion, so I ate some of his mofungo and we both had drinks. I got a chocolate martini and it was *very* strong. He had the mojito, which won a few awards in San Juan (he said it was excellent, I’m not really into mojitos to know what’s good).

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The ship was delayed leaving Puerto Rico (we later found out that a passenger had a medical emergency), so I got this cool picture before Clay and I headed to dinner and we sailed away to St. Maarten.

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13 Responses to 2014 Freedom of the Seas Cruise Recap Part #4

  1. I know the bicycle you are speaking of at Hulsey & Lockwood. Looks just like it!

  2. This looks like it was so much fun and thanks for continuing your cruise. I am loving these posts!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      You’re welcome. I plan to review each day of it, three more days to go. It may take awhile with my work schedule and all the race recaps I have to write and post (I have 2 race recaps written and 1 to write)… but I will get the cruise written in here too!

  3. allieksmith says:

    Gorgeous pictures, Amy! I love the picture of you and Clay in front of the Forts and the picture before the ship sailed out. One time a ship I was on left a port like 2 hours late because these people went golfing in Mexico (our port) and the golf course was far away. They came running up to the port with their golf bags slung over their shoulders and everyone on the ship was looking over their balconies, etc. and was cheering for them because we could finally leave, haha! Still cracks me up to this day!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      When we were in Cozumel back in 2012, one group of people were coming back late and the cruise crew joking started pulling up the gangway… they started running… then they put it back out for them :). I don’t think they would leave someone they saw coming but you never know. I know they DO leave people!

  4. spectacuLAUR says:

    I’m loving these posts SO much! I went to Puerto Rico my junior year of high school and San Juan was BEAUTIFUL. All of the colorful buildings and the architecture of the forts was to DIE for! I loved it! Just so, so beautiful. I can’t wait to keep reading these! 😀

    • Amy Lauren says:

      I love the colorful buildings- it reminded me of downtown Charleston and East Bay street and Rainbow Row. I will say of all the foreign ports I’ve been to, San Juan reminded me the most of home and downtown Charleston.

  5. harveylisam says:

    I’ve seen ghost bicycles around while traveling, too. I think it’s kind of an awesome way to commemorate the loss of cyclists.

  6. Wow, those old forts are so cool looking. What a fun way to explore the world.

  7. Andrea says:

    I spend some time in San Juan before a cruise and really loved it. It’s so nice that everything in Old San Juan is walkable.

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