May 3, 2014
Our second day started off with the San Juan Sea Trek offered through Aqua Adventure at the Caribe Hilton in Old San Juan. Sea Trek excursions are common sights in the Caribbean and I highly recommend going at least once. Essentially, you are given a heavy helmet that is connected to an air supply at the surface and then you get to walk along the sea floor. The helmet sit on your shoulders and is completely open at the bottom, but the regular supply of fresh air keeps your entire head dry. This allows you to easily reach your hand inside the helmet to help equalize pressure.
In preparation for this trip we invested in two underwater cameras; a Nikon Coolpix AW110 for Luis, the photography aficionado, and a used FujiFilm XP20 for myself that we got, from all places, a police auction. If you are planning a cruise or any trip with underwater adventures, no matter if it’s SCUBA, snorkeling, Sea Trek, or any other water activity, I highly recommend getting an underwater camera. The experience is magical, and being able to capture a little bit of that magic in pictures is priceless. You don’t have to get a top of the line underwater camera, but I definitely suggest getting a decent, high quality underwater camera.
Our Sea Trek was an amazing experience and we got some wonderful photos and memories, but we still had a lot of plans before boarding the ship. We grabbed lunch and then went to explore Old San Juan and the historic forts. Old San Juan is very quaint area filled with history. Puerto Rico has done a wonderful job maintaining the historical architectural themes reminiscent of colonial Spaniard design. The streets are narrow but lined with buildings in a wide variety of bright colors; it’s really a stunning sight.
We had a few hours to wander Old San Juan before having to return the rental car to the airport and take a taxi to the pier to board the Jewel of the Seas. The Jewel is one of the older and smaller ships in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, but it is still massive and looms over the pier. I was particularly giddy as we dropped off our luggage and got our room keys; when I was younger my family went on a Disney cruise, but my memories of the experience have been slowly fading. In many ways this felt like the very first time. The next step of the adventure was starting.
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