My favorite is the Wyndham... in Old San Juan literally across the street from the cruise ship docks. It is a lovely property, convenient to all the sites in Old San Juan and, if you wangle a room facing the water you can wake up in the morning and see your ship docked in front of you. It also has a very active casino.
You should be able to embark the ship in the early afternoon. Gives you plenty of time to explore the ship, have lunch and enjoy the afternoon pool side activities.
We are staying at the MARRIOT, we leave for San Juan and Adventure of the Seas in about 11 days!!
I have heard that you can get onboard around 11am. Were planning on being there around 10:00am-10:30am. We want to enjoy as much time on the ship as possible!!!
Btw, AOS does not dock near downtown. It's at the Pan American pier, about a ten minute ride from old san juan.
We cruised in November and stayed at Condado Plaza which was great. Nice beach, fabulous pools, lots of good restaurants with reasonable prices, etc. and just a 5-10 minute taxi ride to pier. We checked out around 11:30 AM and after a short taxi ride ($10 ), had just a short wait at the pier before we boarded. We got a rate of $125.00 for "best available" through Travelnow.com and we ended up getting a junior suite with an ocean view. If your ship is docked at Pan Am pier, this is one of the closest hotels to the pier (you can see the hotel from the ship). The Wyndam is close to the other pier in Old San Juan. Let me know how you enjoy the ship, we are considering booking on one of her sister ships for our next cruise.
We sailed on the Adventure in December and it does NOT sail from the pier in Old San Juan. That pier is not large enough, so RCI has built a special pier not far away, but not at the pier other RCI ships sail from that is referred to in this message.
As far as hotels are concerned, we have stayed at 3 and all were good ( Marriott Condado, Wyndham Old San Juan & El Convento Old San Juan). You will have to take a cab to the pier, regardless of the one you select.
The Adventure is terrific and the ports were awesome.
Enjoy your cruise.