Day CS8, Saturday, December 22, Disembark Celebrit

Trip Start Dec 07, 2012
Trip End Dec 22, 2012

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Flag of Puerto Rico  ,
Sunday, December 23, 2012

I had set a wakeup call for 5am but was up just a bit earlier to find us already tied fast to the dock in San Juan.  It was drizzling a bit as I completed my final stages of packing and walked a final mile and a half on deck 11.  I had booked a walking tour of Old San Juan which concluded with a transfer to the airport while others in my group were either leaving earlier in the day or staying in San Juan.

We assembled at 8 in the Cosmopolitan Dining Room for the 8:30 tour departure.  At 8 we were escorted off the ship, claimed our luggage, and passed through Customs and Immigration.  We placed our luggage on a truck and left the port on a minibus about 8:45.  The 7 of us from the Summit were joined by 3 others from the Brilliance of the Seas and we took about a 20-minute drive across the city.  We disembarked at the grounds of El Moro, the fortress dating from 1539 guarding the narrow entrance to the harbor, along with the small Fort San Juan del la Cruz on the opposite side of the narrow channel. The 2 forts are close enough together to put entering ships into a deadly crossfire.  The fort has several levels starting at the water level with a cannon placement in a tower just above, barracks on the next level, and the fortified walls on the top level.  Our (New York native) guide spent an hour in the fort telling us all about it's operation and history as a Spanish Fort, a US fort, abandonment, and finally becoming a National Historic Site and UNESCO Heritage Site.  Leaving El Moro we walked through the narrow streets of Old San Juan stopping at many large neoclassical buildings that have been restored to new uses.  We stopped at a totem commemorating the 500th anniversary of Columbus' 1492 voyage and La Rogativa, and entered the San Juan Cathedral.  Our walk ended by the Old Port of San Juan and we arrived at the airport about noon.

Things were a bit chaotic there.  The luggage was in rows at the far end of the airport, once we claimed it there was no real support to get to the USDA inspection, and signage at the airport was very poor with no directions to the various ticket counters. 

My flight was through Atlanta, and Delta's pricing for First Class had been quite reasonable.  We boarded the first flight about 4, but both legs had delays to mechanical issues, starting with a loose row of seats.  My 2 hour layover in Atlanta shrunk to about 30 minutes to cross 5 concourses and board my Baltimore flight.  I landed in Baltimore about midnight and was dropped at my door about 1AM.

My final parting shot deals with the strange way things sometimes seem to come together.  This is my first cruise with my brother, who spent most of his working life as an Executive for Eastern Airlines.  On our tour today we paused outside the home of San Juan's first female mayor.  One of the stories our guide told was how she made arrangements with Eastern every year to fly in a planeload of snow at Christmas every year so the children could get a feel for what real snow was like.  I could almost imagine Roger helping with that effort.  What are the odds that this would be the year I heard that story.

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