I took this cruise last year when Carnival was using the Destiny. Had a blast. There are a few things you should know about this cruise but I will discuss at the end of this post.
I stayed at the Hilton which was a short cab ride away. I stayed at this hotel because (1) my friend had a voucher for a free night's stay and (2) this was a beautiful hotel right on the beach. The hotels closest to the ship's terminal do not have beachfront property. There were a few other hotels close to the Hilton which were also very nice.
I did not care for San Juan. The day I was there, it rained all day so I couldn't really enjoy the pools or the beach or any of the outside stuff at the hotel. In my opinion, there didn't seem to be much to do on the island of San Juan. Plus, I don't know if it was the rain but San Juan is infested with mosquitos.
It was really bad. If you plan on spending time on San Juan, make sure you pack plenty of insect repellant.
Lastly, I enjoyed the cruise immensely. It was the second time I had taken this particular itinerary out of San Juan so I knew what to expect and the one or two things about it did not affect my ability to have a blast. However, it is a bit of a different cruise experience.
I will not start a debate on this board so if you want to know my experience on this itinerary, PM me and I will share it with you.
However, I highly, highly, highly recommend this cruise if you like port intensive cruising. There are NO sea days. Every day you are at a different port. For me, this was wonderful b/c I will not take a cruise that has more than 2 out of 7 sea days. There is just not enough to do on the ship to fill more than 2 days out to sea. (My opinion only).
Anyhoo!! PM if you want to hear more.