Day 7 of Disney Halloween on the High Seas Eastern Caribbean Cruise: San Juan

November 8, 2019 (Last Updated: July 1, 2020)
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A group of clouds in the sky with a rainbow overhead

Of all the islands in the Caribbean, I’ve spent the most overall time in Puerto Rico. I spent five nights in San Juan back in 2013 as part of a press trip for Bacardi’s 150th anniversary, and have visited multiple times since then as a DCL port of call, including two nights prior to a Southern Caribbean Cruise originating and ending here.

A rainbow over San Juan, Puerto Rico

We decided to take it easy today, and simply get off the ship for a short walk through Old San Juan to lunch at a local eatery.

buildings in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

We had selected Deaverdura, which has excellent reviews on both TripAdvisor and Yelp, and seems to be extremely authentic, not purely tourist-driven. It’s so authentic and local that our server spoke minimal English 🙂

the interior of a small restaurant in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Also, the menu is only listed on a chalkboard (without prices) and shared verbally by the server. It includes a variety of protein options, as well as a Puerto Rican sampler which is sized and priced depending on the number of people sharing it. This seems to be the most popular option, and a huge bargain at about $20 for one person, $30 for two, and an extra $5 per person for additional people (if I remember correctly).

Puerto Rican restaurant menu on a chalkboard

The sampler includes roast pork, rice, and beans (ours had calabaza aka pumpkin in there, but that may be a seasonal addition), as well as a platter of fried goodies arranged on a board shaped like the island of Puerto Rico.

wooden cutout of the island of Puerto Rico

These delights include sweet plantains, ham croquettes, fish pastelitos (turnovers), beef alcapurrias (fritters encased with plantain or yucca dough), sorullitos de maiz (cornmeal sticks), and tostones (pressed and double-fried unripe plantains).

pots of food on a checkered tablecloth
Beans, pork, rice
a variety of fried Puerto Rican foods on a platter
Fried goodies!

WOW. Every single item was excellent! The beans were so delicious, well-seasoned, and comforting, the pork was super juicy and flavorful, and the smorgasbord of fried treats were worth every calorie consumed (and I’ll bet it was an ungodly number of calories). Some of my favorites include the sweet plantains (a perennial favorite), the beef alcapurrias (great flavor and texture), and the crispy and corny sorullitos de maiz, which remind me a bit of hush puppies or the exterior of a corn dog but more crispy and corny 🙂

A plate of Puerto Rican food in a yellow plate on a checkered tablecloth

On our walk back to the ship we paused for an equally delicious and unhealthy dessert at El Panadero Artesanal, a small bakery right near the port.

exterior of a Puerto Rican bakery

A selection of delectable Puerto Rican pastries had our mouths watering, but we were here with a singular purpose, and that was the guava and cheese turnovers.

Puerto Rican pastries in a bakery
Flaky pastries in a Puerto Rican bakery
sweet pastries in a display case in a Puerto Rican bakery

I’ve made a version of these in my own kitchen before, and regardless of the exact preparation, it’s one of my favorite sweets anywhere!

a triangular pastry on a wooden table

The combination of tart and sweet guava, and creamy, mild cheese in a flaky pastry is universally delicious. What a perfect way to punctuate our time in Old San Juan.

a flaky pastry with a bite taken out showing guava and cheese filling

Back on the ship, mom and I headed to a screening of Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (loved it!) which had released just a day before our cruise set sail, while the rest of our family puttered around Goofy’s Golf course on the sports deck. We later enjoyed the view of San Juan as we sailed away…

view of Old San Juan from the water
a fort on the coastline
the shore of San Juan viewed from the water
view of Old San Juan from the deck of a cruise ship

Dinner tonight was the Captain’s Gala menu in Royal Court.

Disney Cruise dinner menu

I picked a couple solid options for appetizers, including aged Prosciutto with sun-dried tomato, Parmesan cheese, and roasted garlic, in addition to the lightly breaded baked eggplant filled with sweet ricotta and mozzarella, served on tomato sauce. Both are good choices in my opinion.

a plate of prosciutto with roasted garlic
eggplant rollatini topped with cheese and basil on a white plate

For my entree I went with the oven-roasted pork tenderloin with cheese polenta, sauteed wild mushrooms, and Merlot reduction. I’ve eaten this several times in the past and it’s usually reliable, as it was on this occasion.

sliced pork tenderloin with brown sauce, and polenta with mushrooms on a white plate

For dessert I tried the apricot trio, which includes vanilla cheesecake with apricot compote, apricot tarte tatin, and apricot-infused cream. It’s a nice, light, fruity dessert.

a trio of apricot desserts on a white plate

Overall this was a pretty chill day for us, with great food on the island, and excellent entertainment on the ship. Tomorrow is another sea day with yet another beverage tasting, this time Champagne!

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