Old San Juan, the historic district of Puerto Rico’s biggest city, is a mecca for cruise ships. And why not? The port’s location and availability of non-stop flights from major U.S. markets make it a great jumping-off point for ships exploring the heart of the Caribbean. Simply stopping by? That’s fine, too. Puerto Rico’s culture and liveliness are easily enjoyed, even if only for a day.
After stopping in Old San Juan, traverse over one of three bridges leading to mainland Puerto Rico. Venture along the cobblestone streets, and visit historic sites like forts and the district’s massive city wall. El Yunque, the island’s national forest, is also a site for nature-lovers to visit before leaving. Many of these are cruises to Puerto Rico from Miami, so be ready to experience a nightlife and urban culture almost unlike any other.
Here are the best Puerto Rican cruises that either begin or include a stop in Puerto Rico.
San Juan & the Virgin Islands – Windstar Cruises
Travel aboard Star Legend with only 200 other passengers on this seven-day, roundtrip cruise that departs from San Juan, Puerto Rico. After embarking on this Windstar Cruises voyage, you’ll stop at six other ports, including Vieques, Puerto Rico; Gustavia, St. Barthélemy; Little Bay, Monsterrat, British West Indies; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands; and Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands.
Explore more than 400 restored Spanish colonial buildings in San Juan before starting your Caribbean expedition. Visit El Morro’s 16th-century ramparts, a UNESCO World Heritage site, or go on a hike in Puerto Rico’s El Yunque National Forest.
At each of this voyage’s stops, there are opportunities for excursions — 26 in total. They range from $55 to $625 and can last from one to five hours. Among the possible excursions are kayaking, snorkeling and ATV adventures.
Caribbean Melody – Oceania Cruises
Starting from the bustling shores of Miami, you’ll embark on Insignia for a 10-day adventure that’ll see stops at six other ports: Gustavia, St. Barts; Fort-de-France, Martinique; Castries, St. Lucia; Basseterre, St. Kitts; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.
Onboard this Oceania Cruises voyage, there are 12 eat-and-drink options, ranging from bars, restaurants, lounges and cafés. Check out the artist loft for guided painting, sketching and more. There are also three boutiques to purchase duty-free items, a spa, a casino, four live-entertainment shows, a library with over 2,000 books, a pool, two whirlpool spas and a sports deck with a putting green, shuffleboard and a fitness track.
In total, there are 45 excursions across the six stops, with the most happening on St. Kitts. Visit botanical gardens, go on jeep tours, hike through El Yunque, or go on an ATV tour. Whatever your fancy, there’s bound to be something that’ll catch your interest.
Eastern Caribbean from Miami – Carnival
This Eastern Caribbean Carnival cruise takes you to four other ports in its roundtrip that begins in Miami, Florida. The seven-day voyage will include stops in the Dominican Republic (Amber Cove), the U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas), Puerto Rico (San Juan) and Turks and Caicos (Grand Turk).
You’ll travel on Carnival Conquest with a crew of 1,100. In addition to a seemingly never-ending, twisting water slide, there’s also a comedy club, an adults-only area, 10 eat-and-drink options and live musical entertainment.
Excursions at each port range from dune-buggy rides in the D.R. and exploring fortresses in San Juan to parasailing off the coast of St. Thomas and snorkeling off Grand Turk.
Southern Caribbean Cruise – Celebrity Cruises
Join 2,200 other passengers aboard Celebrity Summit on this seven-night Southern Caribbean cruise. You’ll embark on this roundtrip from San Juan, Puerto Rico, and hit five other ports: Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; St. Johns, Antigua; Bridgetown, Barbados; Castries, St. Lucia; and Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis.
Never be bored on this Celebrity Cruises voyage that has you and your group at sea for only one day out of the entire trip. At each port you stop at, there are 20 excursions each, including 20 from your departing port. Experience anything from rum tastings and eating seafood to snorkeling, island tours and horseback riding.
For the time you are on Celebrity Summit, enjoy six eat-and-drink options, a top-deck, al fresco area for movies, a kids club for the younger members of the party, a casino, an art gallery, a fitness center, shopping and an adults-only spot when you need to simply get away.
Caribbean and Antilles – MSC Cruises
Aboard MSC Seaside, you’ll embark on a unique itinerary that’ll depart from Miami, Florida, and return there midway through the voyage before ultimately ending there.
This 15-day, 14-night adventure will stop at nine ports, including a two-day stop in Puerto Rico: Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Cozumel, Mexico; Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, Bahamas; Miami, Florida; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Nassau, Bahamas; Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, Bahamas; Miami, Florida.
Across this MSC Cruises’ cruise from Miami to Puerto Rico, there are 188 excursions, with the most (45) occurring in Cozumel. From snorkeling and bamboo rafting to exploring Mayan ruins and experiencing tequila tours and tastings, there’s an abundance of activities fit for anyone’s tastes.
Eastern Caribbean – Holland America Line
Visit Puerto Rico and three other Eastern Caribbean islands on this seven-day cruise, as Nieuw Statendam takes you and your group on a roundtrip that begins in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and visits Amber Cove, Dominican Republic; San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Half Moon Cay, Bahamas.
Boredom aboard won’t be a concern on this Holland America Line voyage. There’s a variety of live-music opportunities, including genres like rock ‘n roll, the blues and orchestra. Head over to the Microsoft Studio to compile a photo gallery or a video from your memorable cruise experience, or visit the spa to unwind with the ocean’s waters around you.
In total, there are 11 eat-and-drink options, including 24-hour room service, New York-style pizza and French, Italian and Japanese cuisines. Want to get more hands-on with your food? Check out America’s Test Kitchen for live, onboard cooking shows and workshops.