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brenda July 18th, 2001 12:51 AM

San Juan Pre Cruise Hotel

Love your site - so much helpful information. My husband & I are planning our FIRST cruise to celebrate our 25th anniversary. We've decided on the Infinity S. Carribean. SO excited!

We opted for a 1 night pre-cruise stay in San Juan since our flight arranged through Celebrity won't arrive until 5:00 p.m. on the cruise date. Sure don't want to miss our first meal! :-) Time to rest up after the flight will be nice, too.

Now, my question. Does anyone know anything about the Comfort Inn Tanama Princess in Condado, PR. The information says that it has been recently and completely refurbished. Sure would be nice to have some first hand knowledge.
Since our flight arrives late, we'll only spend minimal time in the hotel room. Time to check in, grab a bite to eat, see the sights - then back to the hotel to sleep, shower & head for the ship. Sure hate to spend extra $$ for a quick 1 night stay. I can book Comfort at $90 compared to the $150-$200 or more at some of those recommended.

Suggestions? Any help appreciated.

Nanatravel July 18th, 2001 02:30 PM

Re: San Juan Pre Cruise Hotel
I don't know anything about the Comfort Inn at the Condado. But, I have found that booking through the cruise line is twice as expensive as booking on your own. You have to pay the deviation fee for your air arrangements, too don't you? A recent poster recommended, especially for a one-night stay, trying You bid on the price you want to pay and see if they accept it? Bid real low like $35. They wont' book you unless they accept your bid. I have done this with a rental car but never been successful with a hotel. There may be too many "areas" to be concerned about too. I had printed out an extensive list of hotels from the Puerto Rico Tourist board. You may try your search engine to see what you can come up with. Its title is something like, When printed out it was at least 20 pages with ratings and descriptions and telephone numbers. They say the Isle Verde area is the nicest about 5 minutes from the airport. The Wyndham Old San Juan is right across from the pier, the El Convento and Hotel Milano are right in Old San Juan.
Good Luck

pamda July 18th, 2001 04:24 PM

Re: San Juan Pre Cruise Hotel
Hi, Brenda ...

My current recommendation is the Hotel Milano in Old San Juan. Very reasonably priced. The folks who've gone there liked it, a lot.

My husband and I usually stay at El Convento, but that's because of my Puerto Rican background/bias and we absolutey LOVE the place. VERY pricey. And probably not worth the money.

The Condado just doesn't get it, at least for us. We love Pueblo Viejo.

Look back through the archives here and see my story, "Bienvenidos a San Juan." Then, if I can answer any questions, fire away.

pamda -- CruiseMates First Time Cruisers Editor and part-time Puerto Rican

Jennifer July 18th, 2001 10:50 PM

Re: San Juan Pre Cruise Hotel
I agree with Pamda about old San Juan. The first time I cruised out of San Juan we stayed in a cruiseline-booked 5 star hotel on Isla Verde near the airport. It was the El San Juan then. I think now it has a new name. Anyway, it was a lovely, classy 5 star property, but in that kind of place you can never tell if you're in San Juan or Timbuktu. They have no local character. The second time I stayed at the Galeria San Juan, owned by an expatriate east coaster, Jan D'Esopo. She is an artist, and the bed and breakfast type place is a conglomeration of 2 or 3 old houses, and her artwork is EVERYWHERE!! Paintings, sculptures, masks, it's great! Jan and her husband Manuco make you part of the family from the time you walk through the gates, and the staff is warm and wonderful. I highly recommend that you spend at least one night here. It was the highlight of my 2nd stay in San Juan, and we plan to go back this fall.
Happy Cruising!

brenda July 18th, 2001 11:45 PM

Re: San Juan Pre Cruise Hotel
Thanks everyone for your help and suggestions. We had read several postings that recommended Hotel Milano and are considering it. The Infinity will dock in Old San Juan so that will be convenient for us also.

Are there places within walking distance to eat or will we need to taxi? (Or suggestions as to where NOT to eat!) Also, is there a supermarket that we can pick up some cokes on our way to the pier? Questions, questions!

Jennifer July 19th, 2001 12:38 AM

Re: San Juan Pre Cruise Hotel
Everything in Old San Juan is within walking distance, although there's some heavy duty hill climbing upwards from the port. You can always take a taxi up, and then wrok your way back down walking. There are lots of wonderful places to eat. Don't miss La Mallorquina, and order the asopao and mofongo!! Have a great time!

Jorge Ginorio July 19th, 2001 01:25 PM

Re: San Juan Pre Cruise Hotel
Hi Brenda:
I live in PR and would bve glad to give you any advice you may need. In the Old San Juan area there are many different restaurants from 5 star restaurant to cafeterias. Let me know what you need to know and I will gladly assist you.


pamda July 19th, 2001 02:11 PM

Re: San Juan Pre Cruise Hotel
Jennifer ...

You said the magic word ...


And the second magic words ...

La Mallorquina !!! I first went there over thirty years ago, and the waiters still remember me. They may be older than the building.

Actually, I like the mofongo better at La Barrachina, but it's usually only available on Thursdays unless you start to cry on another day. I have found crying to be quite effective.

It's also good on the outdoor terrace at El Convento.

To answer Brenda, there is a Pueblo (supermarket) on the Plaza de Armas. Short walk.

Our favorite restaurant these days is the Parrot Club on Fortaleza. A bit upscale, with with a great Borinqueno "thing" going on. More than one of their special mojitos just might kill you, but it's worth the effort.

pamda -- CruiseMates First Time Cruisers Hostess and part-time Puerto Rican

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