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San Juan, Puerto Rico is the hottest cruise port in the Caribbean…Come and find out why

San Juan Cruise Port - Guide for Cruisers

The San Juan Cruise Port is host to an estimated 500 cruise ships (approx. 18 different cruise lines), and nearly 2 Million passengers travel to Puerto Rico through this port – every year.  Most Eastern and Southern Caribbean cruises include a stop in San Juan offering travelers an opportunity to experience a little bit of the magic of this extraordinary city.  Many cruisers eventually return to spend a few more days in San Juan in order to explore the city in more detail, and we think you will want to do it as well once you get here and experience the magic of San Juan. 

Keep reading for more information about the cruise piers and terminals, a map, related cruiser guide links, answers to frequently asked questions from potential cruisers (FAQ), booking a cruise, and cruise lines frequenting San Juan.

 

The Piers at the Port of San Juan, Puerto Rico

Cruises to Puerto Rico - FAQ's

 

The San Juan Cruise Port is the largest and busiest cruise port in the Caribbean.  There are 4 cruise ship piers and 2 modern terminals along the southern shores of historic Old San Juan with a total capacity to accommodate 7 ships at once.  The strategic locations of these piers give tourists easy walking access to Old San Juan and its many attractions.  In addition, just 1 mile southeast, across the San Antonio Canal, are 2 more large modern cruise ship terminals at the Pan American Pier, which can hold 2 more cruise ships.  So with a total capacity to accommodate 9 cruise ships at once, you can easily understand why San Juan, Puerto Rico is the hottest cruise destination in the Caribbean.

San Juan Cruises - Old San Juan Port

In order to plan your stay or day in San Juan, be sure to inquire about which pier your ship will be docking at or departing from.  Although we provide some information below on piers typically used by certain cruise lines, be sure to contact your cruise line or call the San Juan Cruise Port at 787-723-2260, Pier (Muelle) 4, in Old San Juan, to verify the arrival or departure pier location.  That way, you can prepare for whether you’ll need transportation (taxi), a nearby hotel, and to have adequate travel time for getting to or from the ship.  Home Port cruise lines (Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Disney, Princess) often use San Juan as their departure port, thus cruises embark from San Juan.  Transit ships are those docking for a day or two originating from another home port.  See map below for pier locations.

Old San Juan Piers & Terminals

Old San Juan Cruise Port - Puerto Rico

The Old San Juan Cruise Ship Piers (Muelle 1, 3, 4, 6) offer the best and most convenient attraction sightseeing options for cruisers.

  • Pier 1 – Modern passenger terminal (2 ship capacity) used by various cruise lines
  • Pier 3 – Reconstructed pier for transit ships only (2 ship capacity), managed by Royal Caribbean
  • Pier 4 – Modern passenger terminal (2 ship capacity) used & managed by Carnival for arrivals & departures
  • Pier 6 – Wharf at Bahia Urbana (1 ship capacity) only used on heavy cruise traffic days

As soon as you get off your ship, you can easily walk the 7 block magical city of Old San Juan and enjoy the top attractions by foot.  Cruisers also have the option to use the free trolley making it more convenient for visitors with limited mobility to enjoy the main attractions the city has to offer.  The most convenient hotel to stay at near the cruise terminals is the Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel & Casino, just across the street from the piers.

Pan American Pier & Cruise Terminals

Pan American Pier - San Juan, Puerto Rico

The Pan American Pier has two modern two-tiered passenger terminals (I & II) and is located on Isla Grande, beside the Isla Grande Airport and near the Puerto Rico Convention Center.  Two mega-ships can dock at the Pan American Pier terminals.  Depending on your cruise line and cruise ship traffic, your ship may arrive and dock here for the day and will most likely embark from here if San Juan is the home departure port.  The only thing within reasonable walking distance is the Isla Grande Airport, Puerto Rico Convention Center, Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino, and the Hyatt House Hotel.  You will have to take a taxi (see rate chart) or tour bus in order to visit historic Old San Juan, or New San Juan.  It is a 10-15 minute ride into Old San Juan and will cost you $10, if your cruise line does not pay for it.  The most convenient hotels to stay at near the Pan American Pier terminals are the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino and Hyatt House Hotel.

Map of San Juan Cruise Port & Piers

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Cruise Piers - San Juan Cruise Port, San Juan, Puerto Rico

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Cruise Pier 1 - Old San Juan, San Juan Cruise Port, PR: 18.461333, -66.113362
Pan American Pier Terminal I - San Juan Cruise Port, Isla Grande, Puerto Rico: 18.458605, -66.096325
Cruise Pier 3 - Old San Juan, San Juan Cruise Port, PR: 18.462106, -66.111689
Cruise Pier 4 - Old San Juan, San Juan Cruise Port, PR: 18.461536, -66.109715
Cruise Pier 6 - Old San Juan, San Juan Cruise Port, PR: 18.463653, -66.108384
Pan American Pier Terminal II - San Juan Cruise Port, Isla Grande, Puerto Rico: 18.459012, -66.098814

Related Cruiser Guides

FAQ

What pier will my cruise ship dock at or embark from in San Juan?

In general, arriving transit ships that are day-docking for one afternoon/ evening in San Juan usually dock at the Old San Juan Piers (Muelle 1, 3, 4, 6), so you can walk right out into Old San Juan and avoid taking a taxi.  We believe an exception to this rule to be Celebrity Cruises which typically day-dock at the Pan American Pier.  Cruises that start in San Juan (home departure port) usually leave from the Pan American Pier Terminals I or II.  However, Carnival cruises embark from the Old San Juan Pier 4 terminal if San Juan is the home departure port.  Again, be sure to contact your cruise line or call the San Juan Cruise Port at 787-723-2260 to verify the arrival or departure pier location.

Do I need a Passport for a cruise to / from San Juan, Puerto Rico?

Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory and its residents are U.S. citizens.  You do not need a passport if flying from the U.S. to Puerto Rico or vice versa. You only need a government issued photo ID, like a driver’s license. If you are a U.S. citizen, and you board a cruise ship at a U.S. port (which includes San Juan), and travel only within the Western Hemisphere, and return to the same U.S. port on the same ship, you will most likely NOT need a passport unless you enter a foreign country as part of the cruise itinerary. A U.S. or Puerto Rico driver’s license should suffice. For children under 16, a birth certificate is typically required. However, check with your cruise line to be absolutely sure what documentation is needed.

What is the closest airport to the San Juan Cruise Port?

Isla Grande Airport is officially the closest airport, but it’s a fairly small, single-runway airport with primarily regional flights.  Read more about Isla Grande Airport.  The closest major airport is the San Juan International Airport, which is 8 miles east of the Old San Juan piers and 7 miles east of the Pan American pier.  A taxi ride will cost you approximately $23 with luggage and take about 20 minutes.

What is there to do in San Juan, Puerto Rico?

There are many fun and exciting things to do, attractions to see and great places to eat.  Tours of the San Juan National Historic Site and the Bacardi Rum Distillery Tour are just two examples.  Also see our attractions mapSan Juan Happy Tours, (787) 237-7727, is dedicated to, and specializes in providing tours or transfers to cruise ship passengers upon arrival to the San Juan Cruise Port.  Look for their uniformed shirts and vehicles waiting at the terminal.  They come highly recommended – especially for tours of El Yunque Rainforest.

You can also contact nearby beachfront resorts ahead of time to arrange for a day pass which allows you to access their resort facilities for a fee.

What are recommended hotels near the San Juan Cruise Port?

If your cruise is embarking from an Old San Juan pier, we recommend the Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel & Casino or the Cervantees Hotel in Old San Juan.  If your cruise is departing from the Pan American Pier, we recommend staying at the nearby Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino or the Hyatt House San JuanSee map of hotels near cruise piers.

Are there car rentals near the San Juan Cruise Port Terminals?

Yes – Hertz has a rental location inside the Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel which is across from the Old San Juan cruise piers.  For the Pan American cruise pier, Hertz and Enterprise have car rental locations at the Isla Grande Airport nearby and Avis has a rental location in the nearby Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino.  More about car rentals near cruise terminalsOr click here for a Map.

Is there parking available at the San Juan Port Cruise Terminals?

Yes – See the Cruise Parking guide and map.  There are numerous, safe overnight parking garages in Old San Juan around the Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel & Casino, which is across from the Old San Juan cruise piers.  The Covadonga Parking Garage offers cruisers special parking rates, is nice, safe, and conveniently located across from pier 4 behind the bus terminal and police station.  Call them at (787) 722-2337 or (787) 721-6911 for special rates and reservations.  For the Pan American Pier, there is overnight parking available at the nearby Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino parking garage for $16 per day and a limited number of outdoor lot spaces available at the Isla Grande Airport for $8 per day.

Better option – Park & Cruise with “Estaciona y Vuela” – offering transport services and low long-term parking rates.  Read Park & Cruise information on the San Juan Airport Parking page.

Is there a beach close to the San Juan Cruise Port?

Yes – there are a number of beaches within a mile or so of the cruise piers.  See our Map of Beaches near the Cruise Port in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Are there places to shop and eat within walking distance of the San Juan Cruise Port Terminals?

If your ship docks at an Old San Juan pier, yes – you can walk just a few blocks into Old San Juan or hop on the free trolley to San Francisco and Fortaleza Streets, or walk to Calle del Cristo and Calle San Sebastian – filled with shopping and dining establishments.  Tip: there is a large CVS store/pharmacy which has a large variety of food, drinks, and other necessities directly across from Old San Juan piers 1 & 2 and only 1/4 mile west of piers 3 and 4. 

If your ship docks at the Pan American Pier: Shopping? no – you’ll have to take a taxi into Old San Juan for $10, or to the Condado fashion shopping strip on Ashford Avenue for $12 where the best stores are across from Ventana el Mar Park.  You can also take a taxi for $14 to the largest shopping mall in the Caribbean, Plaza Las Americas, located in nearby Hato Rey, San Juan.  Places to Eat? yes – there is a Sizzler close-by at the San Juan Bay Marina and restaurants in and around the nearby Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Convention Center.

Are there places to store luggage in San Juan before or after a cruise

Yes…

1) If you’re staying at a hotel in Old San Juan (near Old San Juan Cruise Piers) or the Puerto Rico Convention Center District (near the Pan American Pier), they will typically hold your luggage before check-in or after check-out for a few hours.  See map of hotels near cruise port.

2) You can book a sightseeing tour and they will gladly hold your luggage.  Check with your cruise line as well about pre and post-cruise excursions they may offer.

3) In addition, there are 2 restaurants in Old San Juan that will store your luggage.

Barrachina Restaurant – 104 Calle Fortaleza, Old San Juan.  Storage is free (try to drink or eat something there & leave a tip) | Storage hours: 9am – 5pm, 7 days/week.  ph. (787) 725-7912.  Note: It is a 1/2 mile uphill walk from Old San Juan Pier 4, and 1/4 mile walk from Pier 1.

Aloha Old San Juan – directly across the street from Old San Juan Pier 4.  Rates: $3 per piece | Storage hours: Tue. – Thu. 11am – 4pm, Fri. – Sun. 11am – 9pm.  Receive a 20% discount on your meals when your luggage is stored at Aloha Old San Juan.  ph. (787) 289-5626.

4) The San Juan International Airport offers luggage storage daily from 7am to 10pm on the 2nd level of Terminal D.  For more information call (787) 791-3371 or email: lacooperativaicr@yahoo.com.  They do not have storage lockers. 

What time is it in San Juan, Puerto Rico?

Puerto Rico is on Atlantic Standard Time (AST) and does NOT recognize daylight savings as in the U.S. If you’re traveling from the U.S., here are the time zone conversions:

During U.S. Daylight Savings time months (early March thru October):

Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) is the same as Puerto Rico time

Central Daylight Time (CDT) + 1 hr. = Puerto Rico time

Mountain Daylight Time (MDT) + 2 hrs. = Puerto Rico time

Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) + 3 hrs. = Puerto Rico time (i.e. Noon PDT = 3 pm in San Juan)

During U.S. Standard Time months (November into early March):

Eastern Standard Time (EST) + 1 hr. = Puerto Rico time (i.e. Noon EST = 1 p.m. in San Juan)

Central Standard Time (CST) + 2 hrs. = Puerto Rico time

Mountain Standard Time (MST) + 3 hrs. = Puerto Rico time

Pacific Standard Time (PST) + 4 hrs. = Puerto Rico time

Book a Cruise to San Juan, Puerto Rico

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San Juan, Puerto Rico Cruise Lines

Following is a list of 18 cruise lines that visit or embark from San Juan, Puerto Rico:

  • Carnival
  • Celebrity
  • Costa
  • Cunard
  • Delta Queen Steamboat Co.
  • Disney
  • Holland America
  • Mediterranean Shipping Cruises
  • Norwegian
  • Orient Lines
  • Princess
  • Radisson Seven Seas Cruises
  • Regent Seven Seas
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Seabourn
  • Silversea
  • Viking River Cruises
  • Windstar Cruises

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