Where will I go on a Puerto Rico cruise?
This depends on your itinerary. Cruises that visit or depart from Puerto Rico generally also include other ports in the Caribbean, such as Samana, Dominican Republic; Barbados; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands and Labadee, Haiti.
How long does it take to get there?
Puerto Rico is accessible via a four-hour flight from New York City.
When is the best time to take a Puerto Rico cruise?
Puerto Rico cruises are available all year. The climate is warm year-round with little seasonal variation in temperature.
How long do Puerto Rico cruises last?
These trips typically last four to 14 nights, but there are a few longer sailings.
Will I need a passport or visa?
All cruises now require proof of citizenship. On some itineraries, a certified copy of your birth certificate and a driver's license or government-issued photo I.D. are sufficient, on others a passport is required. Visas may also be required on the more exotic itineraries. Your cruise counselor will advise you on documents you will need depending on your itinerary.
Is English spoken?
English and Spanish are the official languages of Puerto Rico.
What is the time difference?
It is the same time in Puerto Rico as it is in the Eastern Time Zone.
What is the local currency?
The local currency in Puerto Rico is the U.S. dollar.
Is tipping a common practice?
Service is sometimes included in restaurant bills. If not, a tip of 15% to 20% is customary. Taxi drivers generally receive 15-20% and other service staff, such as maids and porters, generally receive $1 to $2.
What should I wear?
Casual resort wear, including shorts and T-shirts, is the standard daytime attire for most cruises. Bring a variety of footwear, including low-heeled or rubber-soled shoes for walking on deck, sandals for beach excursions, sturdy walking shoes for guided tours and a pair of dressier shoes for formal dining. You can check your ship's dress codes for options suitable for nighttime, but most restaurants encourage slacks and nice dresses during evening meals.
What should I pack?
Think about the kinds of activities you will want to try -- a round of golf or a relaxing day at the beach, for example -- and pack accordingly. Be sure to bring sunscreen, sunglasses and swimsuits, protective hats, good walking shoes and windbreakers. Also, remember to pack all of your medications, prescription or otherwise, in a bag you can keep with you as needed.
Is the water safe to drink?
Most resorts and restaurants filter their tap water, though bottled water is available almost everywhere.
What sort of medical precautions do I need to take?
Shots aren't usually necessary for visitors from North America, but it never hurts to check with your health care provider and discuss the countries you'll be visiting.
What types of electrical outlets are used?
U.S. cruise companies use the standard 110-volt outlets. International guests will likely need converters and adapters.
How do I make a telephone call from Puerto Rico?
Resort hotels and public phone booths offer direct dialing for international calls. Calling cards also are available for sale in tourist-friendly markets. U.S.-based cell phones might not work everywhere.
Are hotel rooms outfitted with air conditioners?
Many of the hotels in Puerto Rico have air conditioning. If recycled air is important to you, make sure to consult your travel counselor before booking a pre- or post-cruise hotel stay.
What is the shopping like? What souvenirs should I buy?
Puerto Rico has a variety of shopping options, and you will find the best range of stores in San Juan. Here, you can find excellent prices on china, crystal, clothing, and jewelry. Shopping for local crafts like santos (small carved figures of saints or religious scenes), hand-rolled cigars, handmade mundillo lace, vejigantes (colorful masks used during Carnival and local festivals), and fancy men's shirts called guayaberas. Old San Juan is a great place for outlet shopping, and you’ll find stores like Coach and Ralph Lauren. Those looking for designer items should visit Condado. Avenida Ashford is considered the heart of San Juan's fashion district, and you'll find plenty of high-end clothing stores here.
How do I get around?
Rental cars are widely available in larger cities, and drivers will find roadways fast-moving and well-maintained. "Publicos," which are a bus/taxi hybrid, have low fares and somewhat flexible routes. Taxis are another great option, and they allow visitors to choose between a flat-rate ride to predetermined tourist areas or a metered fare available anywhere on the island. Guest can travel by ferry to the surrounding islands. Bicycle and moped rentals may also be available, and many tourist areas of town are pedestrian-friendly. Shore excursions purchased through your cruise line highlight top attractions and include transportation and a guide.
Can I rent a car?
Car rental can be a great way to explore Puerto Rico. Major rental agencies are easily found on the island, and the minimum age to rent is 21-25 years old.
What can I do there?
Puerto Rico has a flourishing tourism industry that includes a variety of activities and some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Explore El Yunque Rain Forest, which features more than 240 species of trees, hundreds of miniature orchids, and what was once believed to be the Fountain of Youth. See Baño Grande, a natural swimming pool. Tour Old San Juan, the second-oldest European settlement in the New World. Bike through the gorgeous scenery of the Piñones Reserve, home to the island's most spectacular views. Enjoy authentic Spanish-style sangria and taste a wide array of delicious tapas.
Do you have any photography tips for travelers to Puerto Rico?
There's plenty of natural beauty to capture, so be sure to bring plenty of gear. Users of "point-and-shoot" digital cameras should pack rechargeable batteries, a charger, electric adaptors and high-capacity memory cards (1 gigabyte is recommended). If you're bringing a digital video camera, don't forget the long-life batteries, charger, adaptors and converter. Make sure photography is permitted before shooting in museums, churches and cathedrals; in some cases, you'll just be asked to turn off your flash.