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Friday file: The 'Rich Port' Of San Juan

Of all the ports in the Caribbean, and there are hundreds it seems, one that keeps attracting more attention is San Juan, Puerto Rico (translation: “rich port”). Strategically positioned just east of the Dominican Republic, it can be either a port to visit on the way to the Southern Caribbean or a place to embark on a Panama Canal cruise. We have done both and today’s photos reflected our visits to Old San Juan…

Pina Colada

Shouldn’t we all know the who-when-where of the whole pina colada thing?


From inside San Cristobal, and what it must have felt like a few centuries ago.


Also inside the fort, another era’s “weapons of mass destruction” remain.

Seahorse sculpture

The first statue of a seahorse that we’ve seen in the Caribbean (or anywhere).


In Old San Juan, seats in Starbucks are rare, and everybody’s on a device.

Free trolley-1

Free trolley the best way to get around Old San Juan, where you need a day.


If bus is too crowded, there’s always the (not free) horse and buggy option.

Arturo Somohano Portela-musician

Conducting an orchestra in perpetuity: Arturo Somohano Portela. Google him.

Today at portsandbows.com: Another 'Port' (Canaveral), one that's getting more options for passengers

Norwegian Dawn
7 nights
October 16, 2015

Boston (return): King’s Wharf 
Inside: $629

Cost per day: $89

Starbucks at Sea…One More Time

The new parents in our family (no, guess again) met when both worked for Starbucks, so forgive the new grandparents if we have a soft spot for the coffee giant. It should be mentioned, however, that our affair with Starbucks long pre-dated the day our daughter met her husband to be.

Last year, we visited the first Starbucks at sea, on the mighty Allure of the Seas, shortly after it arrived in North America for the first time. We had a coffee (tall, non-fat cappuccino) before the ship left on its maiden Caribbean voyage, and frankly we thought at the time it might be a while before there was another Starbucks-at-sea.

Now it’s happened, thanks to Royal Caribbean, almost exactly one year later.

It will come as no surprise to anybody who follows cruising that Starbucks No. 2 is on Oasis of the Seas. That’s Allure’s older sibling, of course, and it was inevitable that one day it would have a Starbucks of its own, as long as Starbucks No. 1 was successful.

In our household, there was never any doubt.

Emerald Princess
10 nights
May 12, 2012
New York return (New England/Canada)
Inside $1,499.00

Starbucks at Sea Just The Beginning?

When it comes to Starbucks, we’re pretty much originals. It seems like longer than 13 years ago when we started enjoying cappuccinos at the now-famous coffee house but it isn’t, because until 13 years ago the only Starbucks in existence was in Seattle, and we weren’t in it.

So let’s make it an even dozen years.

In that span, we have bought not only cappuccinos and Frappuccinos, but also espresso machines (yes, more than one) and the  pods you need to make your own. Our daughter and son-in-law both managed Starbucks stores, which led to a barista romance and ultimately a wedding, but we always told them we were Starbucks lovers before they were.

To hear that the coffee giant is joining forces with the cruising giant, Allure of the Seas, is heartening to those of us who have sometimes gone far out of our way to find a Starbucks. You don’t really want to know.

But this is just the start of something, isn’t it? The licensing agreement is between Starbucks and Royal Caribbean, which can only mean it’s a matter of time before there’s a Starbucks store on every corner…er, every ship. There are 21 of them at the moment, and it’ll be interesting to see ultimately how many have Starbucks on deck.

There is one little flaw. Like many licensed Starbucks stores, it doesn’t recognize the coffee (loyalty) cards. When informed that we were card-carrying aficionados of the brand, a Royal Caribbean spokesperson simply said: “We hope to in the future.”

To be able to walk down to the Royal Promenade on the Allure and have a cappuccino — the only real cappuccino we like — is appealing.

There’s just one catch. First we have to be on the Allure.

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