Tag Archives: Puerto Rico

Travel Diary | Cruise San Juan, Puerto Rico Port – 3

Happy Monday all!

My apologies for taking a hiatus after Grand Turk post, however I have been completely swamped with studies.  I know this is how it will be for majority of this year so please bare with me as I try to get new posts up slower than usual.

San Juan Port Cruise

Overview of San Juan right before entering the cruise port

San Juan Fort

View of Fort from our cruise

Puerto Rico, was a beautiful stop on our cruise of the Eastern Caribbean.  It had been a place I was wishing to visit and I was excited to find a cruise itinerary that worked for us with a stop at San Juan, PR.

San Juan cruise yacht island

Beautiful yachts and boats area next to the cruise port

For our excursion in San Juan, we decided to take a trip over to the rainforest, El Yunque. This excursion was almost 5 hours long since it took almost an hour to get to the rainforest from the cruise port. The husband and I enjoy nature and scenic activities, thus we thought this would be a fun way to explore a part of Puerto Rico that not many tourists may get a chance to explore. Also, we figured once we got back from the rainforest we would still have some time to explore areas of Old San Juan.

El Yunque Puerto Rico cruise

The visitor center area in El Yunque

El Yunque rainforest

A waterfall area in the visitor center

El Yunque rainforest puerto rico

Waterfall in the rainforest…can you spot Umair?

El yunque rainforest puerto rico

Serene water area in the rainforest

After almost 3 hours in the forest we left without covering much ground. We found out that some areas of the rainforest were restricted to tours on buses. Thus, that was somewhat a disappointment, however I had gotten a headache from being on the bus therefore I was happy to head back to Old San Juan and explore on foot.

streets of San Juan

Colorful buildings of Old San Juan

old san juan

Another shot of the beautiful streets and buildings

The cruise port was walking distance to Old San Juan where we were able to see the beautiful brick streets and colorful building that I have admired from pictures for many years. This area is quite small and of course, touristy. We had about 2 hours left before our cruise departed the island so we made the most of it by walking around the local shops. We did want to check out one of the forts on the island, however we weren’t sure if we will be able to make it back in time so we resisted that urge and admired the forts from afar.

old san juan

Island overview from Old San Juan. In the background are the mountains where the rainforest was, and the cruises were docked where the ocean is.

For the 8 hours that we were on the island, we were still able to explore a lot since we got to see new San Juan on our bus tour, along with some of the rainforest and the beauty of old San Juan. It was a nice long, somewhat exhausting day but it was worthwhile. Our tour guide was friendly, but very talkative to the point where he was talking about personal stories that I didn’t feel fit the mood of the tour. I would definitely recommend checking out El Yunque rainforest if your are in Puerto Rico as it has beauty that can’t be found other places.

If you missed part 1 on the cruise, and part 2 on Grand Turk do check them out. Thank you for visiting, and have a great week!

Umair’s Sweetheart,
Ayesha

Travel Diary | Eastern Caribbean Cruise – 1

Hi all,

Cruise mojito wrap maxi dress hijab

Vacay has to begin with a mint mojito in hand!

Over the December break the husband and I went on our first ever cruise together to the Eastern Caribbean.  We sailed with Holland America’s ship Nieuw Amsterdam, and traveled to Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay ports over 7 day’s.  The cruising experience was quite relaxing and worry-free for us that we felt our vacation was well-spent. We would definitely love to sail to other ports in the future and try out other ships.

cruise orange wrap maxi hijab

Oh & a pina colada too!

Holiday cruise hijab red maxi skirt chambray

Walking around the pool area while listening to live steel-drum music

cruise lunch sea view Holland Amercia

Lunching at the buffet-style dining “The Lido” while enjoying the sunny ocean view

Here are some snaps from our “cruise day’s” which included two formal nights, shows, and special decor since the cruise took place during the Holiday’s.  Our first night on the cruise was spent trying to figure out how to navigate around the ship, figure out the dining areas, showroom, pools, etc.  It is quite amazing how much there is to do indoors that we almost had to make an effort to go out on the ship’s deck to enjoy the sunshine/pool areas.

Holland America cruise afternoon tea

Enjoying afternoon tea with the husband. It became a tradition for us to enjoy tea everyday at 3pm. So fancy!

Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam captain toast

Captain’s welcome toast and first formal night

Caribbean cruise formal night

My dashing husband getting ready to eat some yummy food!

Cruise hijabi formal night outfit

Carefully deciding between all the entree options

muslim couple on holiday cruise

The happy couple! We ate at the Manhattan Dining Room for our formal dinner’s

We decided to sail with Holland America mainly due to the fact that it fit our dates of travel, ports we were interested in, fit our budget and lastly was geared more towards adults/couple/mature cruisers rather than families/kids/college crowd.  The Nieuw Amsterdam ship is well-kept, constantly cleaned/maintained, is one of the newer/renovated ships, and what we truly appreciated about the ship was that majority of the staff on the ship was Muslim!  It was so nice to arrive to our cabin on the first day to be greeted with “as salam u alaikum” by our room steward, and then throughout our days on the ship to be greeted in the same manner by several workers several times a day.  In addition, whenever we wanted recommendations on what items were “halal” they always gave great suggestions.

Nieuw Amsterdam NY theme atrium muslim couple cruise

NY themed atrium and holiday decor that was not over-the-top-in-your-face

Holland America cruise review

The carpet in the elevator changed everyday so we made it a habit to take a picture with it everyday

Our room was cleaned several times a day, all our important papers/itineraries would be set out during the turn-down service, we never had to complain about getting extra towels/toiletries, nor did we have much trouble with our order during dining regardless if we went to the buffet or sit-down dining rooms.  At times at the buffet if we arrived late some of the items would not be available but there were always other choices for us to try.  As far as the food goes, it was decent American food, with huge salad bar, sandwich station, burger’s, entrees, desserts, to so much more that there were stations that we never even got a chance to try.

sting-ray towel animal

A towel animal was left every night during turn-down service along with the itinerary for next day

holiday cruise outfit hijab

Waiting in the Blues lounge for the live music to start. This became our go-to place after dinner every night. It was one of our favorites on the cruise.

Nieuw Amsterdam blues lounge

One of the live performer’s at the Blues lounge who was amazing along with the band!

Holland America recycled percussion show

Recycled Percussion was a great interactive show that was performed live one of the nights

cruise recycled percussion show

Umair was called up on stage during the show to “monkey” around

They had a few paid dining rooms, which we didn’t opt for trying out because we felt satisfied with the “non-paid” options, however one of the paid restaurants, Tamarind, had complementary lunch everyday so we did try that out one day it definitely was a nicer experience with a modern fixed menu.  The items on that menu were not items you could have gotten at the non-paid dining.

cruise muslim couple outfit

2nd formal night photo-op

cruise hijabi outfit maxi

Photo-op session before lunch at Tamarind’s bar area

Tamarind cruise lunch

Fancy salad for lunch at Tamarind

One of the port days we had early morning arrival, thus requested room-service for our breakfast.  We had filled out the menu the night before, and then selected the time slot we wanted delivery and our food arrived in the morning during that time.  We did hear of complaints from a few cruisers that they were not happy with the room service because it was quite delayed, and the items that they requested didn’t arrive, however that was not the case for us.  Room service is my jam!

hijabi cruise outfit maxi dress

Ocean breeze and the endless sea

We booked a window cabin that had a partially obstructed view, and while it was obstructed the window was a floor to ceiling window that allowed plenty of natural light to come through and gave us enough of a view to know when we were arriving land.  Our cabin was quite spacious with a king size bed, plenty of closet space, sitting space with small sofa, chair + table, and even the bathroom was decent size with vanity space for our toiletries.  Our cabin was located mid-ship on deck 4, where I felt would be the most comfortable to not feel motion or lots of noise.  While I did take motion sickness tablets the first day I didn’t feel the need to continue taking them throughout the cruise.

Niuew Amsterdam window cabin

Our room for the week

Holland America cabin

Opposite view of the room with closet, vanity + sitting area

Today’s review was mostly about the ship and overall experience.  In later posts I will share snaps of our time in Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay.  In addition, talk about our excursions and what we thought of each island.

cruise food veggie curry

The last night of our cruise was “international cuisine” night so Umair ordered the veggie + tofu curry – not bad!

Last year for our December break we visited Colorado, and despite the cold we had a great time with all it’s picturesque beauty at Rocky Mountain National park, Loveland skiing, and Vail for New Year’s eve.  Check out our gallery here until you wait for part 2 of our cruise snaps.

Thank you so much for visiting and do let me know places you have cruised to or if you are planning to take  a cruise soon in the comments below!  I read each and every comment.

muslim couple holiday cruise

Last night on the cruise in the Manhattan Dining Room

Umair’s Sweetheart,
Ayesha

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