Cruises to Puerto Rico

Historic Old Town
The Paseo de la Princesa
Fort San Felipe del Morro
Culinary Walking Tours
El Yunque

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San Juan

A bracing walk along the sea front

Blessed with some of the oldest buildings in the Western Hemisphere, San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital, is romantically charming with its bright pastel Spanish colonial facades, wrought-iron balconies abloom with flowers, narrow cobblestone streets and beloved park squares. Once you arrive on an MSC Caribbean and Antilles cruise at the port, explore Old San Juan (Viejo San Juan), a UNESCO World Heritage district, widely renowned for the fortresses of Castillo San Felipe del Morro and the Castillo San Cristóbal.


The old town occupies the headland of a 2.5-mile-long island (connected by bridge to the mainland) that shelters San Juan Bay, for centuries a key port in the New World. It was originally known as Puerto Rico, or “rich port,” because its location made it the perfect stop for shipping.
 
Several MSC excursions offer walking tours that let you soak up amazing views of San Juan while making cultural discoveries of a lifetime. Wander through the old town along the Paseo de la Princesa, San Juan’s oldest tree-lined avenue; head up its southern city wall, La Muralla, which until the late 19th century encircled all of Old San Juan with sandstone; and tour the 16th-century fortress of El Morro, with its six different lines of defense.
 
Take a coffee-tasting walking tour to explore Puerto Rico’s rich coffee culture, and learn how the island’s rich volcanic soil and climate have contributed to the rise of coffee as one of its main crops. Taste a delicious cup of freshly brewed Puerto Rican café con Leche, learn about the island's historical ties with the caffeine-rich beverage, and explore how coffee and the church are connected on this MSC excursion through the streets of Old San Juan.
 
Or savour San Juan’s culinary delights, in a Martha Stewart excursion curated exclusively for MSC that will have you tasting local cuisine and drinks at five destinations along the route through the fortified colonial city. From Puerto Rican fritters at historic El Convento Hotel, to chocolate tasting at a fourth-generation chocolatier, you won’t want to miss this tour, which ends at La Casita de Rones for a rum lesson and a piña colada, the national drink of Puerto Rico.
 
With more than 80% of the world's rum coming from Puerto Rico, delve deeper into the spirit on an MSC excursion to Casa Bacardí in the town of Cataño. Discover the story behind Bacardí’s legendary cocktails, sniff the products on display and learn about the rum-making process including wood barrelling, aging and finishing. For the grand finale, enjoy a fascinating mixology show.
 
Nature lovers will not want to miss a visit to El Yunque, the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. territory and one of Puerto Rico's finest spots of natural beauty. Marvel at its small horsetail waterfalls, giant ferns and tropical hardwoods.
 
For an enchanting experience, kayak into the enchanting bioluminescent bay at Laguna Grande of Fajardo on another MSC excursion. Under the blanket of the night sky and the lighthouse of Fajardo, paddle through the water and watch it glow with the bioluminescence of millions and millions of tiny organisms.

Must see place in San Juan

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    Puerto Rico

    Nature and modernity
    Nature and modernity

    Puerto Rico commands a pivotal spot in the Caribbean, the last substantial island before the sprawling arm of the Antilles swoops south towards Venezuela, fragmenting into the tiny Leeward and Windward Islands.

    A holiday to Puerto Rico can be a rare opportunity to experience its unique status as a commonwealth of the US, which keeps it a world apart from its island neighbours, over a distance that can be measured not just in kilometres, but in dollars. 


    It’s a place that combines island life with a level of infrastructure seldom seen in the region: excellent interstate highways allow travellers to zip from coral reef to five-star restaurant. 

    American influence is strongest in San Juan, where even the ramparts of El Morro – which staved off European aggressors for 500 years – haven’t managed to prevent the influx of American fast-food and retail chains. But the capital's core retains a distinctly Latin character, with Old San Juan host to a treasure trove of pastel Spanish colonial architecture on exquisitely restored cobblestoned streets. 


    During your cruise to Puerto Rico, even in the crowded capital, it’s hard to find a sullied beach, and nature is largely untouched outside the major cities – especially in the jungly, mountainous interior; on the relatively hidden beaches along the south coast; and on the offshore islands.