This was our 15th cruise and 4th with Carnival. We have been on smaller ships like Dolphin IV and another larger ship, the Grand Princess. For purposes of the review, we will be comparing the Grand Princess with the Destiny. Please note that the Grand is a little newer and a little bigger than Destiny.
Air and Sea Package: We had never used this service with Carnival before but have with NCL, RCI, Premier (Dolphin) and Hawaiian American. Carnival managed this beautifully. Carnival simply books the air, and the air carrier is responsible for any problems occurring along the way. After air problems coming and going, we did arrive safely both ways. It would be much appreciated if the cruise passenger did not have to contend with airline ‘issues'. We stayed in the Intercontinental hotel at San Juan for one day prior to the cruise. This hotel is conveniently located near the airport and on the beach. The beach is lovely, and we walked for miles. Because the prices were high in the restaurants, we ate in the Market Grill. The food was first rate!! The food looked and tasted very good.This is the most expensive hotel we have ever stayed in and is very comparable to the Marriott Ocean Resort in Fort Lauderdale and The Melia Hotel in Las Palmas, Canary Islands. The transfers were very convenient.
Our cruise was fully booked with 3,000 passengers. It is our opinion that the people issues are more pronounced on Destiny than on the Grand. We don't like crowds and planned our activities accordingly. However, there were times that crowds couldn't be avoided, like embarkation and the Captain's Cocktail Party.
Embarkation from San Juan went remarkably well. We (and hundreds others) were herded into this metal building. While the outside temperatures were excessively hot, Carnival had placed huge fans every hundred or so feet. The staff encouraged us to stay alert and keep moving. Some of the embarkation was done on the shore; the rest was completed in the Palladium Lounge where passengers could be seated. Carnival did a reasonably good job of managing the people. However, they need more staff to check people in at the desk and to police the passengers trying to sneak ahead of others.
Finding your way around the ship. Finding our way around should be easy for us. However, Destiny is extremely difficult because of the configuration of the two dining rooms. These are on two decks, which get cut off, and you have to go up to get around. We also had difficulty with port-and-aft and starboard-and-port issues. Other cruise companies address this issue by having pictures of the ship pointed in the direction that it's going. While Destiny had maps, they need more, especially with the blocked deck issue. We spent well over one hour lost on decks 3, 4, and 5. Finally, it dawned on us to use other landmarks, and we were o.k. At least once a day, we got headed in the wrong direction.
Category 11 stateroom. We have booked approximately the same category stateroom on RCI, NCL, Princess and Carnival. While our stateroom on the Grand was lovely, we were unhappy because it was extremely narrow and had an uncovered balcony. The Destiny stateroom was the best we've seen. Carnival's rooms are larger than everyone else's. This is much appreciated because on Norwegian Wind, the shower was really too small to be that usable. Our stateroom had a separate built-in desk, a Jacuzzi, a bar, a safe and a refrigerator. There was also an ornamental mirror on the wall, and marble was used throughout. Where the balconies are big enough, we wish that actual lounge chairs would be supplied as they were in the mid 90's. Our one complaint with the stateroom was that the mattresses were too firm. We rank this stateroom as the best of our 15 cruises.
Cabin steward. Carnival does not appear to place its best stewards with the highest category rooms. It needs to understand that people in the cat11 and cat12 rooms are paying the money for that service. Our situation was that the steward was not very friendly and did not provide the amenities that others were receiving. We contrast this with the butler that we had on the Grand. This is the same butler that appeared on the Discovery Channel show. We loved it.
Ship decor. The Destiny is not as vibrant as Sensation and reminded us of the Celebration. It is shades of tan with purple, orange, peach and teal. There is a large atrium that runs up through deck 10. The upper sides are decorated with various shades (black, tan and gray) marble. There are only a few thin neon lights. This decor is surprising because it makes the atrium pretty dark. The general layout and piano bar are very similar to the Grand.
Food and food service. Our last cruise on Carnival was in 1996, and we were curious about how their food had changed. Food presentation and quality was excellent on all nights. The first "regular" dinner was delicious, and we hoped that this would continue throughout the cruise. The food was always warm (unlike Norwegian Wind). For the most part, we could find something on the menu that we liked, but there was one night when nothing looked good. Carnival does an excellent job with their breads, chocolate desserts and Caesar salads. Their main course accompaniments and mixed green salads were not often tasty. Servings are small, and some people at our table had multiple entrees. The only alternatives to eating in the main dining room for dinner were the Sun & Sea Restaurant or room service. There are no a la carte restaurants.
The best part of dining was our waiter Luna. He is by far the best waiter that we've had in our 15 cruises. His service was impeccable, and he sang songs to all persons having special events. We are most appreciative of all that he did to make our dining experience very pleasurable.
The Palladium Lounge. This lounge is on three decks. There is stadium seating on the upper two decks. However, many of the stadium seats have obstructed views because of the railings in front of each seat and around the seats on the staircases. We could discern only two sets of these seats with a reasonable view for the shorter of us. Visibility was much better on the Grand.
Entertainment. The in-cabin information states that there is a show every night in the Palladium. Not the case. One night there was a comedian and a juggler (and we don't like jugglers). Both were excellent. Another night there was a former Platters singer and a comedian. They were also excellent. There were two Las Vegas review shows. All the singers and dancers were good, and the costumes were lovely. However, neither show seemed to have any kind of theme. We were told that the second show was the best. This featured a talking sofa, and a performer who threatened all non-dancing passengers with an on-stage appearance. We did not appreciate this conduct from a professional performer. The Las Vegas reviews on the Grand were better.
Other entertainment. We did not gamble in the casino but heard that some people won a lot of money. We especially enjoyed the not-so-newlywed game. Carnival's version was fairly tame. Destiny does have some in-cabin television.
Ship Stores. The stores and their selection seemed small in relation to the number of passengers. We were able to find suitable tee shirts after some looking around. Most of the store space went to the photographers. They were extremely aggressive in marketing their product. They also blocked stairways when the decks were particularly crowded. Please note that Carnival confiscates any liquor purchases and returns them at the end of the cruise. If you buy liquor at a port, they will catch it because all carry-on baggage is scanned.
Ports (Dutch Treat). The weather in all three ports was extremely warm. Both Aruba and Curacao were very windy. St. Thomas is beautiful. After three around-the-island tours and banana daiquiris on past cruises, we went shopping. It was interesting walking the streets with the drivers speeding onto the sidewalk. In St. Lucia, we took the plantation tour to see the Piton mountains. This tour consists of a 1.5 hour drive each way on a road with 150 hair-pin curves. We had a guided tour around the plantation but were not allowed into the manor house. We think this was very pricey for what we got. In Curacao, we went shopping as we had been on the island tour before. The downtown is within walking distance of the pier. It's lovely, but more street signs would be helpful. It should be noted that there is a $.50 charge to use a municipal rest facility. The cruise director led us to believe that there was not much shopping in Aruba. Not the case.It has been greatly built up since we were there in the early 1990's. The food was inexpensive and spectacular. We had absolutely fresh seafood in the Le Petit Grill (right across the street from the ship). In the afternoon, we went in a private van for a tour (at half the ship's price). This was much better than our last tour, which had been organized by the cruise line.
Cruise Director. Besides the comment about Aruba, the Cruise Director should have given more information in the Debark Talk. We did not know that there was on-ship airline check-in until it was announced over the PA. by that time, we were almost off the ship. There was also some misinformation given on the PA about flight schedules. Other than introducing the acts in the Palladium, we did not see him at all.
Sign and Sail. We are currently dealing with Carnival about an issue with sign and sail. It would appear that regardless of the reason, they were clearly wrong. It will be interesting to see how they handle the issue, especially since we are booked for another cruise in November.
Cruise overall. The sailing was smooth with a little cross wind. On the last night there was an unexplained sharp turn with the stabilizer out. We thought someone got sick, but there was no announcement.
We did have fun on the cruise - for the most part it met our expectations, except for the cabin and waiter who were excellent. It is interesting to see the changes in Carnival's product in the five years we've sailed with someone else.
Flight - My 14 year old daughter, my father and I flew Delta out of Buffalo on 4/14/01, connected in Atlanta and arrived in SanJuan about 2:00 p.m.
Pre-Cruise Hotel - We caught a cab to the Normandie Hotel. Although it's an older hotel, it has been refurbished well and everything was clean and comfortable. Our room had a beautiful view of the water.Because we were so tired from traveling, we just rested and ate at the hotel restaurant.
Embarkation - About noon on Sunday, we took a cab to the ship and joined the people that were already in line. About 12:30, the porters started taking the luggage and we were able to get our Sail and Sign cards and board the Carnival Destiny! Since it was so early (embarkation officially begins at 2:30), we were instructed to go to the Lido deck for lunch and not go to our cabins until after 1:30. So after eating, we went to our cabin (6254) to drop off the carry-ons and then went to the Palladium Lounge to complete the check-in process. Once that was done,we checked out our dining assignment to besure we were happy with our table. When we returned to our cabin, some of our luggage had already been delivered so we were able to unpack and settle in right away.
Dining - Dinner the first night was open seating. It was Easter so there was a special menu. The food was great and we met some nice people that we ran into several times throughout the cruise. The rest of the week we were at our assigned table on the upper level of the Universe Dining Room. Our waiter was Paul from St. Lucia and he was wonderful. My daughter is a picky eater but he always made sure she had something she liked.
Ports - We had researched the islands before we went so we knew what we wanted to do in each port.
Our first port was St. Thomas. My daughter and I got off the ship early and went into town to get her hair braided. We returned to the ship for lunch and then went on a excursion to Magen's Bay and Paradise Point. I wasn't crazy about the drive (steep, narrow roads with hairpin turns) but the beach was nice and Paradise Point has such a great view. In St. Lucia, my daughter and I went on the horseback riding shore excursion. Again, I wasn't crazy about the drive to get there but it was well worth the trip. We had a blast!
In Aruba, I did some souvenir shopping in the morning and we took the Natural Wonders Tour in the afternoon. It went to the Butterfly Farm, the Ayo Rock Formation, the Natural Bridge and the Gold Mine Ruins. It was a nice overview of Aruba.
I think my favorite island was Curacao. In the morning, I walked to the shops and in the afternoon we took a tour to the Hato Caves and the Liqueur Factory.
Shows - I went to all the shows…there were 2 production shows, a singer, several comedians and a juggler. Our cruise director, Lenny Halliday, also sang at one of the shows. I hadn't heard much about him as a cruise director before we went but I think he did a good job.
On-Board Activities - I can't really remember what all I did on the ship but I never found myself bored and always had a good time. I spent some time in the casino and even won some on the last day at sea!
All in all, it was a great trip and we have already booked our next cruise on the Carnival Spirit 3/27/02. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to ask.
My wife Diane and I just returned from a 7day cruise on the Carnival Destiny sailing out of San Juan Puerto Rico. We are in the 65+ group, and have sailed over 25 times since 1982. We live in the Sacramento CA. area and for this cruise we took an air deviation to fly on American Air Line as we wished to complete our frequent flier mileage with them before we lost previous mileage. Diane had finally convinced her sister Jeanne and husband Don to take a cruise for the first time. Their previous experience had been a service transfer to Guam in the 50s. Not quite like cruising today. The criteria for choosing this ship was it was fairly new quite large and was going to three islands we haven't been to before. Don and Jeanne were willing to follow Diane's lead in the choice. We all booked an over night in San Juan at the Condado Plaza through Carnival just incase there were weather delays. In addition we thought we would have time to show D&J around the sights of old San Juan before boarding the ship asthis was their first visit and our fifth or sixth. After an uneventful flight we arrived at the Hotel around 9PM to meet D&J who had arrived from Phoenix earlier.
They were hungry and had waited for us to eat, we were fed on the plane but that had been like a late lunch to our stomachs, which were still on Pacific Time, that darn jet lag thing. All the hotel restaurants were over priced as usual. We finally ate at Tony Roma's and went to bed. In the Morning we walked about two blocks along the sea front to a small cafe that had a good breakfast for about 1/3 the price, of the Condado for exactly the same thing. With my frugal side satisfied we took a taxi to old San Juan, for $10 flat rate, and got out at the walk to El Moro only to find a sign nailed to the shut and locked door stating that due to illegal acts and Hoodlumism, their words not mine, El Moro and San Cristabole forts were closed. Very disappointed we walked down to old San Juan's shopping district and went to by the church which was in use for a mass so we didn't do more than look in as we passed on our way to the little chapel by the park of the pigeons. The chapel was locked up tight and you could not see the alter at all. Old San Juan was a bust for us since none of us wanted to shop, but we did drop in on the RCCL Crown & Anchor rest stop to check it out and found it to be cool, clean, and comfortable also it has a carry on luggage check for those arriving prior to boarding time or who want to shop while waiting to catch a late flight.
We took a taxi back to the Hotel and got our carry on luggage and since the bus to take us to the ship was not due till 2PM and it was about 12:30 we decided to take a cab to the dock. Our timing could not have been worse. A light sprinkle suddenly turned turned into a downpour as we arrived at the pier. There was only one entrance into the warehouse, which acts as a terminal at the pier used by the Destiny. We arrived just as the street was filling with water and could see no alternative to wadding through the ankle deep water to the entrance. The ladies got out and ran for cover at the entrance while Don and I retrieved the carry ons from the taxi in the now increasing torrent of rain. Porters trying to stay dry filled any shelter under the eaves that might have been available. The entrance sloped down then up as if a loading dock had been partially filled in for use as a walkway. Soaking wet and with the rain increasing we had no choice but to head down the ramp where a pool of water was building up as the drain became overwhelmed. Wadding through about 18 inches of water we made into the warehouse only to find that a large crowd was gathering in front of the metal detectors, which were not operating since the electric cables were in water where it had collected on the floor in large pools in any low spot. Before the metal detectors were back in action some one had finally opened the other door into the warehouse and people were streaming in and pushing around the mob at detectors. At last they got the cables up and out of the water and the line or herd begin to move through them only to hit another snag with the photographers who had set up a barrier to force that well-known boarding picture opportunity. Soaking wet with shoes squishing and hair hanging in our eyes we were in no mood to smile for the birdie. After getting around the photo back drop we exited the warehouse onto a now sunny pier and up the gangway to enter the ship on deck 0 where we are told to climb the stairs to deck 3 since the elevators would not come to deck 0 and were probably being used for luggage any way. Still soaking, but now freezing in the air conditioning, we enter the Palladium show room to wait in line to have our tickets checked and sign are charge cards and receive our all-in-one door key, boarding pass and sailing charge card. Free at last we squished along to our cabins and dumped off the carry ons. When I discover that my Hearing aid and Video camera are kaput from the rain. This had to be our worst embarkation of all time. True it was caused by a cloudburst, also since there is no air conditioning in the warehouse Carnival dose the paper work aboard for passenger comfort. However the ship was never meant to handle the large crowds entering a crew gangway. A lot of work needs to be done on the terminal if the Destiny is going to dock here. This is really stopgap, as it is now water collects in the low spots when they get a cloudburst, which is not all that unusual in Porto Rico.
Our luggage when it was off loaded and set out for the dogs to sniff at the end of the cruise was put in the purple Upper Aft area. When we left the ship I got a porter and pointed out our luggage that he loaded on a dolly and took to the American airline truck. I never picked up the bags so I did not feel their weight also we turned in our tickets in Dallas for cash vouchers and arrived in Sacramento a day later. Here the bags were retrieved from storage by a porter and taken to a Super Shuttle where they were loaded by the driver. The first time I was aware some thing was wrong was when I wheeled the first bag into the house, it weighed a ton; opening it I found every last stitch of clothing was soaked. We are still trying to find out what happened and who will fix the damage. If any one else on the Destiny for the 10/1 to 10/9 sailing had their luggage in the purple section soaked let me know by E-mail at email@example.com
So much for my tale of woes. On to the review of the trip.
We had a inside cabin 6245 with D&J just a few cabins down the hall in 6257 both being large by comparison to other cruise lines we've sailed. D&J at first thought theirs was small but after storing all their things were amazed at how efficient the lay out was. We found the showers to be the biggest yet although it still has a curtain, I like the new door design on the Voyagers shower even though it's smaller. Diane had one real complaint. She's a light sleeper and the cabin was over the casino and she could hear the machines making their slot noises also some nights a band played in the Destiny Way. The bass drum pounding drove her nuts while I could barley hear the noise. Remember my hearing aid was shot from the rain and without it I don't hear a lot sounds. Monday morning she asked to be moved and was told the ship was full so we prepared to live with the situation. When we booked the trip we selected cabin1195 but D&J were sold an upgrade so we took one also to be near them. We have never had much luck with upgrades on the Carnival ships the worst was a 13 day entrapment under the galley next to the freight elevator on the Jubilee from Miami to L.A., but that's another story.
Our dining request had been for a large table for 8 to 10 so D&J could meet other people and gets the full experience of cruising. The table we were assigned was a booth for four stuck off to the side with a pole obstructing one side. We went to the Maitre de and requested a change, which we got, to a table for 8. Unfortunately only one other couple showed up once during the week and they were newly weds who I'm sure were not happy sitting at a table with an average age of 70. The food selection was only fair during the week but the presentation was very good. Both D&J were not thrilled with the beef choices as they are not into sauces they preferred the meat in the Sun and Sea alternate dining the one night we tried it because they could leave the sauce off. I preferred the main dining room. We all enjoyed Sun &Sea and grill for breakfast and lunch as we don't mind cafeteria buffet style if the selection is good. The lines were not a problem if your timing was right.
MONDAY - St. Thomas: We hired a van for $70 and he took us all around the island and gave us a lot of information as we went. The trip was a lot cheaper than the ship excursion and we were not crowded in the van. Best of all since the wives didn't want to shop there was no standing around waiting for others and I enjoyed that. The tour over it was back on the ship to relax and dress for the Captains Cocktail party. Diane loves the formal nights and it's one of the few times I ware a Suit and tie. I have a large neck and short armes; 20- inch neck shirts come with 36-inch arms and enough extra cloth to dress a small child. I have them altered to fit when I get them. Just before the trip I had some more work done to make them fit better. Some how I hung them in the wrong place in the closet and they were not packed. I faked it with a casual shirt and a tie almost covering the open collar but was unconfterable at the party and diner. We skipped the other formal night much to Diane disappointment. I promise this will never happen again.
TUESDAY - St. Lucia: We again hired a van on our own, this time for $80 The drive took us to the high points at both ends of the island and all around the neighborhoods in-between. It was a very good deal. The Driver " Goose " gave us a very interesting tour. We saw vans with ships tours loaded to the gills stopped at several places. Were we glad to have a van all to our selves even though we had to use island air conditioning "open window" it worked out fine.
WEDNESDAY - At sea: A day of sun no wind to speak of just relaxing. The second formal and since Jeanne was not feeling well and wanted to skip diner the rest of us went to the casual Sun and Sea to eat I was under whelmed by the choices and food but didn't go hungry, I never do. Don really liked it better than the main dinning room.
THURSDAY - Curacao: We took a cab down town for $10 flat rate and looked around the stores for some perfume Jeanne wanted that she couldn't get in Phoenix. After Jeanne found what she wanted and both she and Diane were through shopping we found a driver willing to take us sightseeing at $80 for two hours. Our first stop was at a fort turned restaurant where Jeanne began to feel ill from the heat and walking in town. D& J decided to go back to the ship while Diane and I went on with the tour. The driver agreed to back track to the ship and to drop them off for the agreed on price. Don tipped him an extra $10 and insisted on paying their $40. We then went on a nice trip all around the island and stopped at the beach just to take a picture in the water. Back on the ship we dressed for the repeaters party. The Carnival Capers "daily bulletin" said it was a casual night but on all our other cruises the repeater party is held on a formal night or semi formal night. Since I had no dress shirts I wore slacks and a silk Mexican shirt. Diane dressed up in a formal outfit and felt overdressed as people came in all kinds of outfits. I would call it McDonalds formal.
FRIDAY - Aruba: Hired a van for $35 an hour and took a 2 hour drive to most of the points of interest as we decided we didn't need a hour more to go to baby beach since none of us were going in the water. $70 was less than the ship with no standing around waiting for shoppers. Nice trip but Aruba is a dry place with not much to see. On all the islands hiring a van was cost effective and much cheaper per person if 4 to 6 people share and more comfortable than going with the ship.
SATURDAY- At Sea: A nice day at sea with good weather. The food and show were good, bags packed and tips paid were ready for the long trip home.
SUNDAY - Disembarkation: Up at six to eat in the main dinning room where the service is not as good as before the tips, but that's to be expected. Then wait in the Palladium show room for our color tags to be called and we finally leave the ship at 10 AM.
Over all we enjoyed our trip except for the soaking at embarkation and the noise at night. Our impression of the ship was different than D&J's. This was their first modern cruise ship and they were impressed by its size and beauty and didn't find fault by comparison to other ships. Diane and I have been on other Carnival ships and on other lines. We are not really fond of the heavy use of neon and plastic to decorate and the overall copper tone to many of the public areas. When the ship is in port and fairly empty it has the sad feel of a Vegas casino at 5am when it's dead. The flagship bar in the day is just dreary with the dark mirrors and neon. A really sad touch is that only one of the four glass elevators worked the whole week giving the Centrum a frozen look as the other three elevator just sat unmoving at various decks. The Destiny had just been in dry dock before this voyage so I could not believe they hadn't fixed these elevators, which are critical to the look of the Centrum especially at night when it's active and to say nothing of the inconvenience of waiting for an elevator that never comes. We far prefer the design of the Royal Caribbean ships. which is more soothing and elegant than the glitzy and busy feel of Carnival. That's just our opinion and should be taken that way. My next review will be of the Legend of the Seas cruise to St Petersburg next Aug.
This was our honeymoon and our third cruise, all previous with Carnival. I am 29 and my husband is 40. We are from Montreal, Quebec/Canada. Carnival is well suited to our needs and budget and we really enjoy it every time we are onboard a Carnival Fun Ship. Since for us, it is a waste of money to spend a lot on a cruise to the Caribbean during the summer time (because winter is very rough in Quebec), we opted for the New England itinerary with a great deal on a balcony cabin.
JULY 3 Coming from Montreal, we took the car for a 6-hour drive. We arrived a couple of days before in New York to visit and enjoy the Big Apple since we had never been to New York before. We had reserved a nice hotel (one with a pool on the top - not too many in Manhattan - The Travelinn - 135$/night) on 42nd street West corner of 10th Avenue not very far from Times Square.
JULY 6 - DEPARTURE From the Hotel, we had to drive about 3 blocks to get to the roof topparking of the New York Passenger cruise ship terminal. It was 18$ per day for the parking. It is very safe to park there by the way and probably the least expensive. It was about 11:20, when we took the escalator down and dropped off our luggage with a porter. We stood in line for about 10 minutes. They took our welcome aboard picture and then forwarded us to the counter for boarding papers. As Canadian citizen, we had to wait (only two clerks) to be registered for boarding. Took about 15 min. as there was people upfront of us.
At 12:15 we were entering our stateroom. We had stateroom # 6371 in the very back corner of the Destiny (starboard side). It was quite large. Our last cruise aboard the Fantasy was in a suite. Since those balcony cabins on the Destiny are called Mini-Suites, I found they were very well laid out. The interactive television is fantastic. You can reserve your shore excursions, check your account balance on your sail & sign, view movies, etc...
That cabin is one of the few with a queen size bed and a large balcony. We had two large windows and the balcony door. Plenty of lighting and storage space was very sufficient. We were located just below the Criterion Lounge and believe me, never heard a sound. Did not feel any vibration either. Our stewart was speaking French (like us) and English. His name was Jean Blaise from Haiti. He did a great job, keeping our stateroom spotless, making animal towels, filling our buckets with ice, etc...
Around 1PM, went to the Purser's office to give a deposit on our Sail & Sign account since we did not wanted to give a credit card, it's too easy. Then, we went on the Lido Deck for Lunch. They were serving Turkey, stew, roast beef, hamburgers, large salad bar or their famous pizza, the Trattoria where you can have fresh sandwiches made or even Chinese Foods, Happy Valley. The food was good. We then, explored the ship and waited for our luggage to arrive since I needed my bathing suit to go at the pool. Temperature was 88° in New York.
We stayed at the lido pool were they open the dome to get some sun. At 4:30, we went to that mandatory safety drill and set sail at 5PM. We looked at New York, while the ship was pulling out of the port and got back to our balcony with an extraordinary view as we were passing the Statue of Liberty and the Bridge to New Jersey. As we came to the open ocean, the temperature dropped a bit 72-74°.
We had requested late seating, so we went to the Universe Dinning room (lower level) for 8:15PM. We had a round table with another couple (Bonnie and Maurice from Connecticut) and then the next day, two nice ladies (Millie and her lovely mother, from Florida) were moved at their request to our table. This dinning room is located in the back of the ship on Lobby deck and our table was just next to another table by the window, we were having a nice look at the sunset every night of the cruise. Our waiter was Gabor (from Hungary) and assistant waiter was Kamaroudin. We had great service. The first night I had the best Rack of Lamb I have ever tasted in my life, so good and juicy, YUUUUMMM YUUUUMMM!!!!
Went to the welcome aboard show with a Comedian John Piazza Jr. He was funny!
JULY 7 - FUN DAY AT SEA Weather was not so nice, cloudy, humid (70°). We got up and went to the open seating breakfast in the dinning room and then enjoyed the pool at the front of the ship in the Nautica Spa. At the lido, nothing was going on (I was surprised, no deck party, no music, no game pool) except kids who were playing and splashing in the pool as well as in the whirlpool. There were over 700 children onboard during our cruise. So we decided to go to another quiet place. Relax, had a nap and got ready for formal night. We attended the Captain's Cocktail Party at 7:15, the Criterion Lounge was so packed, we went next door to the Appollo Bar and relax to the sound of the Pianoman there. Went to the Captain's Dinner at 8:30. Lobster tail, Chateaubriand, wow so much things to eat and so good too!!! After dinner, we went for those formal portraits and to the late sitting show Nightclub Express, played bingo before the show and went to bed early since no midnight buffet was scheduled that night and we had seen that show on the Fascination during our first cruise in Jan. '99 and then on the Fantasy again last November. They should consider changing their shows every 6 months!
JULY 8 - HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA, CANADA Although we are Canadian, we have never had a chance to visit the Maritimes. It is about 12-14 hours of driving from Montreal. After breakfast (buffet style) in the Sun & Sea, we got off the ship at around 11:00 (temp. sunny with clouds - 78°) and walked for about half an hour on the boardwalk. We did not book any shore excursion with the cruise ship. We did visit by ourselves. We stopped and visited the Pier 21 exhibit and went to the maritime museum. At 2:OO p.m. we were back at the ship and just relaxed at the pool by the Lido deck. The ship set sailed at 5PM. Went to dinner and Showtime. That night was Rand Woodbury a magician, who was pretty funny too. That night they had a late night Broadway show, we did not attend. While my husband was listening to the guitar player next to the casino, I went to the Midnight Fare in the Sea & Sun at the Lido. Not much, some liver pates, cheese, salad, pasta, lots of fruits and deserts. My husband noticed there was a greater seclection of deserts then on our past cruises with Carnival.
JULY 9 - FUN DAY AT SEA (LAST DAY) Went to Lido again for breakfast 10:00 and relaxed at the pool on Lido till 1:45p.m. then went to the dinning room for lunch. Same menu as last time aboard the Fantasy. I had their famous Ribs (the best I ever had) and my husband had Fish-n-Chips. Went back to the pool after that, the weather was starting to be foggy and colder. Went to the Newlywed show which was hilarious. Tonight was farewell dinner. They did celebrate our honeymoon and served us a cake at the end of the meal. The waiters did some entertainment, which was cool. Showtime was Formidable at 7:00 pm for us (late seating) and after dinner, they had their great talent show.
They push a lot for people to attend the Debarkation Talk. If you miss it, don't worry, they show it over and over all day long on the TV. You can watch it in the comfort of your stateroom.
First time ever for us, there were two ways to disembark the Destiny. It could really be a nightmare if people do not cooperate. You can now (if you want to) carry your own luggage instead of putting them outside your door before midnight on the last night of the cruise. Or do the usual. We chos to do the usual because we had 6 pieces of luggage to carry - it was large. The passengers with their luggage will be allowed to get off first and then call decks for those who have to claim their luggage.
JULY 10 - DEBARKATION Woke up at 7:15a.m., went to the Point After Dance Club to get our passports and give the immigration our customs papers. At 8:00a.m., we were having our breakfast at the Sun & Sea. 9:00a.m.we went back to our stateroom and relaxed by the balcony. At 9:45a.m. they called our deck, we went down the stairs and found our luggage in the terminal. I would say 3/4 of the passengers were taking their luggage with them. It was quite easy for us. At 10:15a.m. we were in the car at the traffic light outside the terminal building.
Overall we really enjoyed the Destiny. Not as many activities as on the Fantasy or the Fascination. I would expect to have more deck parties, games, pool and midnight buffets. On a scale from 1 to 10, I would give it a big 8. The food was really good, it improved since our first cruise. It is time for Carnival to change their shows for repeat cruisers. This was a bit disappointing. They have nice shows, but not to see twice. The Victory is coming to New York, so the Destiny will move to San Juan (Puerto Rico) for the fall/winter. I would definetaly go back on the Destiny for the Southern Caribbean Itinerary. Our cruise director; Greg Kneale was funny. He really entertains his guests. For sure they all have the same jokes since our last three cruises.
We are now ready to go again. When I got back, my girlfriend (my cousin - who was my maid of honour at the wedding) asked me to go with her again in August. We opted for the RCCL Sovereign of the Seas. It will do the same as we did with the Fantasy last November during their wedding (they got married in Nassau during the cruise) but I wanted to try RCCL to see the difference, we did not have time to visit Nassau since we had to attend their wedding. This time we will have time for the Atlantis and snorkel in Coco Cay, RCCL private island. Let's get ready RCCL, here we come!
If you have any other questions, or need more information, please feel free to contact me. I kept all of the Daily Carnival Capers during the cruise, if you wish to have them, e-mail me and I will be glad to fax or mail them to you.
See Ya, from Montreal, Quebec ;-) Natalie & Richard Laroche
My family has recently returned from sailing to Canada on the Carnival Destiny. We wanted to submit a review since usually the only reviews are from complainers.
Let me start by saying that overall it was a nice experience. There were problems but most of them were not Carnival's fault. They related to other passengers, the port we left from (New York) and the weather.
The set up to board at New York was a mess. We probably would still do it again because it is within driving distance and that saves air fare.
Boarding was relatively quick and easy. Once on board I was surprised how quickly our luggage arrived. We decided on a monday to go on the cruise and left that saturday so this was a last minute thing and we booked an inside cabin. Since we have always had an outside cabin, I wasn't expecting a lot. It was better than expected. If you need to save a few dollars, go for the inside. If the couple of dollars is going to make a difference of weather you go on a cruise or not, go and get aninside.
The room was clean and as always with Carnival, lots of closet space. We took a trip around the ship and were pleased. On our last cruise we had the best cabin steward, this wasn't the case this time. His name was Kim and if you get him, plan on picking up after yourself. He got the recommended tip but nothing more. (My husband and I tend to tip very well, so he really missed out.)
We took our nine month old daughter with us and the crew treated her like a queen. Some of the passengers were complaining about all the kids. HERE IS A CLUE PEOPLE: IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE AROUND KIDS, DON'T TRAVEL ON A "FUN SHIP" DURING SUMMER. There are going to be kids. Da! Camp Carnival was good but very limited for our daughter's age group. I will be sending Carnival some E-mail with suggestions. Use the babysitting available (for a fee), it was great and our daughter loved it.
The food was good and our waiter and assistant waiter couldn't have been better. (They really enjoyed their tip envelope). They went out of their way to make things comfortable for us even with an infant.
The entertainment seemed a little slim but what we saw was very good. Great comedy acts on Carnival.
Order a roast beef sandwich from room service. It was better than at the deli. We did have some problems getting our room service but only for breakfast.
Public areas could have been cleaner but were not filthy. Public restrooms left a lot to be desired.
We are setting sail again in Sept. on the Victory and I'm looking forward to an even better time. We know what to expect with a baby on board and new ships are always great. We had some minor problems but again few of them were Carnivals fault. If Carnival continues to offer cruises out of New York and Newport News they can expect to see a lot more of us. You can't beat the value for your money and you have a chance to party it up or relax. It's all available.
One last note. Do treat yourself to a day at the spa. Have your hair done or relax with a massage. Price really are not that bad and the service is excellent.
PREVIOUS CRUISES Overall, this was my 7th cruise, but it was my first on Carnival Cruise Lines. My previous cruises include Premier's Big Red Boat Oceanic to the Bahamas, Celebrity's Zenith to the Western Caribbean, Majesty Cruise Line's Royal Majesty (now NCL's Norwegian Majesty) to Bermuda, Holland America Line's Veendam to the Eastern Caribbean, Holland America's Westerdam to the Eastern Caribbean, and finally, Princess' Crown Princess to Alaska (Northbound Vancouver to Anchorage). Since we had already cruised the "upscale" lines, I guess we were a little bit skeptical about cruising the Destiny...we shouldn't have been because this cruise was excellent!
THE DESTINY In the Carnival brochure, it is stated that the Carnival Destiny is "a destination unto herself." This statement could not have been more accurate. When we first came aboard this monster ship, we were in awe of the Rotunda atrium. Rising nine stories to a glass dome on the top, with four glass elevators, the Rotunda was truly the heart of the Destiny. The Flagship Bar at the bottom of the Rotunda was a great gathering place as well as a favorite spot for people watching. Lining the Rotunda is anarray of shops, the photo gallery, and the pursers desk along with the shore excursions desk. I'm not going to go into great detail as to all the public areas on the Destiny, simply because that would take all day! However, I will point out some highlights of the ship. The Palladium show lounge is a three story theater where the main shows take place. With seating for 1,700 guests, this is the largest show room on any cruise ship at the moment. On Destiny's way; the inside Promenade for which Carnival is famous for, there are many lounges, bars, and night spots. With a walk down Destiny's way, one could hit most of the ship's public rooms. There is the Millionaire's Club Casino, the Destiny Bar, Cafe on the Way, the Point After Disco, Cheers, Apollo Bar, Downbeat, and Criterion. My favorite room out of these is the Point After Disco. This place was jamming until 3:00 AM every morning. The walls were lined with hundreds of TV screens to produce a really neat effect. Another favorite was the Apollo Bar where many piano sing-alongs took place. The Destiny has two two-floored main restaraunts, the Universe and Galaxy. Up top, Destiny has a tiered pool area which includes the famous 214 foot waterslide, two pools, and three jacuzzis. Also in this vacinity is the Sun and Sea Restaraunt as well as the pool in the back with the sliding roof atop it. Overall, the Destiny was by far, the best ship I've been on when it comes to the ship itself.
CABINS We were in cabin number 6329, a category 8 balcony cabin on Upper Deck right next to the aft staircase. This cabin was a very good size, we had enough room for four people. The thing that made this room, obviously, was the balcony. I was kind of worried that the balcony would not be that big, but I was wrong. We fit 7 people out on our balcony comfortably at one time! The balcony was as wide as the cabin was, and about four feet deep. It included a plastic chair, table, and lounger. The door had a lock on it and was basically a huge window. The door and the actual window for the room gave us a great view of the sea especially since the balcony railing is made of glass so you can see from inside your room. Having a balcony made this cruise so much more enjoyable, it truly was worth the extra money. Our room had enough drawer space for three people, but it was a little tight with clothes for four. The bathroom was average sized, I'm 6'4" and I fit in the shower fine. Carnival only provides soap, so bring shampoo and everything else yourself, or you can purchase it in a shop on board. Also, if you need ice and can't find your room steward, ice machines are located on each floor.
SERVICE Considering that we had a completely full ship of 3,400 passengers, the service was very good. Our Room Steward, Delvin from St. Vincent was very good. However, we rarely saw him, he was like a ghost! You leave the room for ten minutes, come back and its all made up! He made a different creature from a towell every night which was really kind of neat...it was new for us since we hadn't been on Carnival before. Whenever we needed to get something from Delvin, we just paged him, and he showed up at our room in minutes...he was a very good cabin steward. As far as service in the dining room is concerned, it was also good. The Destiny runs the single largest dining operation on any cruise ship...serves 4,500 people every night (including crew). The first three nights, we had three different tables (each on the Upper Level of the Universe Dining Room), each with good waiters and busboys, but we finally landed at our permanent table on the third night. Our waiter Duarte, and our busboy Lucilo (or "Lucy" as we called him) were excellent. They were very friendly, funny, and delivered our meals with very good speed. Lucy remembered our favorite drinks the first night we had him, and had them waiting when we came to dinner each night. Though the service was good all over the ship, the best service and treatment that we received came from our Maitre'd, Haryano. We were given late seating the first night, but we had requested early seating. Haryano quickly moved us to early seating the next evening. That night, we had a problem with our table (not enough room for four people), so Haryano again moved us to another table. This new table was perfect, it was right in between the window and the orchestra area in the dining room. While changing our tables, Haryano was very friendly, and he checked up on us every morning and every night at dinner, he truly did help make our cruise better. Overall, the service on the Destiny was good, not excellent like some other cruises we have been on (Holland America), but very good considering the passenger load.
FOOD Allright, this is the category where I feel that Carnival does not get enough credit. The food we had on the Destiny, in my opinion, was the best that we've had on any of our previous cruises (yes, even better than Celebrity...ohhh shocking isn't it?). I'm going to break my food critique down into categories. First, the Dining Room food. We ate 6 of our breakfasts, 2 lunches, and every dinner in the Universe Dining Room. Every meal was prepared beautifully, and everything that I had was excellent. The breakfast menu was the same every morning, but that was fine by me since I got Eggs Benedict every morning...yummy! Lunch was also very good, but I don't remember exactly what was on the menu. Dinners were excellent. The "Starters" which consisted of hot and cold appetizers along with soups were very tasty and interesting...very good shrimp cocktails. The salads were great as well, especially the Caesar salads. The entrees were almost perfect. Each night, there were 7 or 8 entrees you could choose from which really impressed me. Everything I ordered was wonderful, especially the lobster and Veal Parmigean (sp?) The Next Area I'll cover is the Sun & Sea Restaraunt. This huge area on lido deck consisted of two buffets by the pool, two main buffet lines, a salad bar, The Trattoria, Happy Valley, The 24 hour Pizzeria,ice cream and frozen yogurt machines, and the Grill. First of all, the main buffet lines served breakfast, lunch,and dinner. Although we did not eat here for dinner, the breakfast and lunch buffets were excellent. The Salad Bar had lots of fresh vegetables and dressings...it was very good. The Grill serves hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, and grilled chicken sandwiches on french bread. The burgers were very juicy and delicious as was the chicken sandwich. The Pizzeria was a highlight of the ship! Here, six types of pizza, caesar salad, and garlic rolls were served. The pizza was so good. I ate at least three slices a day! This pizza was definately the best I've ever had on a cruise ship. Also, the Caesar salad they served here was excellent! I love caesar salads, and the one this place made was one of the best salads I've ever had! So as everyone can tell, I personally loved Carnival's food. Like I said, I think they should get much more credit for the great food that exists on their ships.
NAUTICA SPA AND GYM Well, I didn't just eat on this cruise, I worked out everyday too. The facilities on the Destiny are second to none! The gym itself was huge. There were treadmills, stairmasters, bikes, ski machines, free weights, and many wieght machines. The machines were especially neat because instead of using weight as resistance, these machines use air pressure as resistance. To increase or decrease the "weight" all you have to do is press a button. I just thought this was really cool! Atop the gym is a skylight which shines down on the two jacuzzis and the Aerobics room and Juice Bar upstairs. There is a male and female locker room with showers, saunas, and steam rooms. These are definately the best workout facilities I've seen on any ship, very impressed!
ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVITIES First of all, the entertainment organized by cruise director Haste Merchant was excellent. During the course of our cruise, we had three comedians, a magician, a juggler, and two production shows. The first comedian, Al Earnst was by far the best. Nothing against the other two, but this guy was great! He hosts the show "A View From the Cheap Seats" on ESPN. The other two comedians were also very good. I did not get to see the juggler, but from what I heard, he was pretty good as well. Our magician was awesome! He did many mind boggling tricks, followed by a grand finale in which he made an airplane appear on stage with a Carnival Destiny paint job on it! I also didn't see the production shows, but the rest of my family thought they were absolutely amazing. I didn't miss them though, because after 7 cruises, big shows like that get a little old for me. As far as activities are concerned, lets just say you will always have something to do on this ship. I'm not going to go into the specifics, but there was almost always something happening on board the Carinval Destiny.
NIGHTLIFE If you want to go on a cruise where you can party late into the night, then this is DEFINATELY the ship for you. At night, this ship is alive! From music, to sing alongs, to karaoke, to the casino, to the disco, the Destiny almost never sleeps. I know for a fact that every night, the disco was open until 3 or 4 am. This was a little different for us considering the last three cruises we have done were with Holland America twice and Princess...both lines were "asleep" by midnight. The abundant nightlife on the Destiny really adds to the FUN FUN FUN atmosphere!
WHO GOES? This cruise was a very young crowd. There were some older couples, but not many at all. The majority of the ship consisted of younger or middle aged couples and families. On this cruise, there were 900 kids, 400 of which were teens. The younger crowd created a much more fun atmosphere than any other cruise that I've been on. Average Age: 35.
EMBARKATION/DISEMBARKATION Embarkation in all took about thirty minutes of standing in line...the line moved pretty quick so it was not all that bad. Disembarkation, on the other hand took forever. We reported to the Palladium lounge at 8:30 AM and were not off the ship untill 11 AM. This was mainly because there were some problems with people not reporting to immigration, and a few people got busted for drugs...by the way, don't risk brining illegal stuff in to the USA from Jamaica or Mexico...you WILL get caught. There were drug dogs all over the ship that morning. Overall, Carnival made these processes as painless as possible, and I realize that it was not their fault for our delay in getting off the Destiny.WESTERN CARIBBEAN ITINERARY
SUNDAY, JUNE 27, 1999 -- Miami, Florida Today, as we drove into the Port of Miami, we saw the Carnival Destiny towering above the other ships (Paradise, Majesty of the Seas, and Enchantment of the Seas). We explored the ship, ate, went to muster, and finally set sail a little late (6:30) because we were waiting on a delayed flight. Dinner: CasualMONDAY, JUNE 28, 1999 -- "Fun Day" At Sea
I'm not going to go into any specifics as to what we did. Most hung around the pools all day and took in some sun, or went down the waterslide. There were tons of activites planned for today as well as all of the other at sea days. The At Sea days are ALWAYS my favorite! Dinner: Formal
TUESDAY, JUNE 29, 1999 -- Cozumel, Mexico Today, I woke up and watched us dock in Cozumel...we were the only ship at our piers, but I believe the Enchanted Capri was docked downtown. We made a quick stop in Playa del Carmen to unload the passengers taking the Tulum Ruins tour. We went scuba diving at the La Ceiba Hotel which is visible from the pier. They charged $5 per person to use their beach for the day. Tanks were also $5 apiece. The diving was decent, good water clarity, we dove a reef and a wreck of an airplane. We then headed back for the ship and did some shopping on the way back. I got stuck off the Destiny becasuse I forgot to bring my photo ID...I brought the Sail and Sign card, but because I had no ID, they wouldn't let me back on, so I had to wait for my ID to be brought to me. REMEMBER YOUR PHOTO ID!!! Security is VERY TIGHT on this ship! Tonite, we left at midnight...lots of people went to Carlos and Charlies, and came back to the ship staggering...very drunk. Tonite was a crazy but fun night! Dinner: extremely casual
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 30, 1999 -- "Fun Day" At Sea See the previous at sea day. Dinner: casual
THURSDAY, JULY 1, 1999 -- Georgetown, Grand Cayman We anchored here this morning just before the Majesty of the Seas and Celebration. We tendered into town, walked to Eden Rock Dive Center and again went diving. This is always our favorite stop because of the diving. We love Cayman so much, that we come back her for days at a time to enjoy everything (the diving and 7-mile beach). We set sail this afternoon for Jamaica. Dinner: casual
FRIDAY, JULY 2, 1999 -- Ocho Rios, Jamaica Today, I decided to sleep in. I went to some shops later on in the day, but other than that, I didn't do much. I actually regret not going to Dunn's River Falls because everyone who did that just loved it! Dinner: formal
SATURDAY, JULY 3, 1999 -- "Fun Day" At Sea Today was our last full day on the Destiny =(. See the first at sea day for details. Tonight, I stayed up all night and watched us near Miami. Dinner: casual
SUNDAY, JULY 4, 1999 -- Miami, Florida This morning, I watched us meet up with the Paradise and sail side by side with her until we reached the port. We then docked in the same space we had the previous Sunday...with the Paradise to our aft, Majesty of the Seas forward, and the Enchantment of the Seas on the other side of the Majesty. Our cruise is all over...boo hoo!
IN CONCLUSION... Well, what can I say? This was definately the most fun I have ever had on a cruise! The Destiny is a beautiful ship with great food, good service, lots of fun, and a great value! You really can't go wrong with this ship! Whether you're a first time cruiser, or you've been on several, you are sure to love the Destiny if you want to have a good time. If you don't like crowds or nightlife, you may want to reconsider taking the Destiny...she is truly a "Fun Ship"! I really recommend this ship to anyone who wants to have a really fun and exciting vacation...I sure did! All I can say is that Carnival COMPLETELY impressed me. This cruise delivered so much more than I expected. We will DEFINITELY cruise on Carnival again!
We chose the Carnival Destiny for our honeymoon because we liked the ports of call and the fact that a room with a balcony was within our budget because 60% of the rooms on this magnificent ship have them. This was my 3rd cruise with Carnival and the first for my new husband.
We could have done our airfare separately and possibly gotten a better deal, but we chose the Fly Aweigh Plan because all transfers were included and Carnival will make sure you make it to the ship and/or home if there are any problems with the airlines. We were booked on Continental and had paid for deviations to get straight through flights, but we met some people onboard who were booked, through the Fly Aweigh, on American Airlines for the return flight home during the recent strike and Carnival arranged hotel accommodations for them until they could get flights out of Miami.
We left Houston IAH at 7:50am and arrived at Miami at 11:05am. We were met at the airport baggage claim area by Carnival representatives who led us to the trucks that would take our luggage to the ship. Wewere then instructed to return to the baggage claim area where we would wait until the buses came to pick us up. Our bus driver was very nice, funny and asked for tips before the end of the ride. Even though our ticket stated gratuities were included, we tipped him because he made the ride amusing. Thanks to the Fly Aweigh Program we did not have to reclaim our luggage & deal with porters.
Embarkation: Relatively easy even though there were hundreds of people lined up. The staff knew what they were doing and processed the papers quickly. Then we proceeded to a new line to wait to get on the ship. We were handed a blue map of the ship as we boarded and found our way to our cabin by 12:30pm. Our luggage was delivered to our room by 6:00pm.
Cabins: The cabin was very nice and larger than the one I had been in on the Fantasy. There were lots of storage space (closets & drawers) and the suitcases fit nicely under the bed. The shower was a nice size, again, larger than on the Fantasy. There is plenty of storage space in the wall cabinet for everything and there is a clothes line in the shower. There is a towel bar inside the shower, one on the back of the bathroom door and another above the commode. Carnival provides bars of soap, but not shampoo and conditioner. I had been emailing a couple from Washington State who would be on the ship with us and they had our cabin decorated with streamers and balloons through the Carnival Bon Voyage Program. Thanks again, Jeff and Nancy! Our balcony was small but we loved it! We were on the right side of the ship and it was great standing on our own balcony to wave goodbye to the other ships in port as we left Miami and watch as we pulled into each port.
The interactive TV was absolutely fantastic! We ordered our excursions the first night to insure we got the ones we wanted. We also kept a check on our Sail & Sign balance, which I highly recommend doing. We had two charges from the Solar Bar on the Lido Deck appear on our bill that did not belong to us. We notified the Pursers Desk and were told it would be investigated and corrected by Saturday, which it was. However; had we not reconciled our account each day and notified them of the error the amount would have been automatically charged to our credit card on the last day, a total of $81.53! We played slots on Funvision (in-cabin casino) and won $50 our first day at sea.
Crew: The Destiny crew was great! Of course, there was the occasional problem child and they seemed to concentrate at the Information (Pursers) Desk. But, I'm sure they get thousands of questions a day and that would tend to take the smile off anyones face. Our cabin steward, Antonio, knew our names by the 2nd day and kept us amused with his towel animal creations each night. He even joked with us a bit when we stayed in bed nearly all day Wednesday, our second day at sea', after experiencing the margaritas at Carlos & Charlies in Cozumel and then partying on the Lido Deck Tuesday night. Corey Schmidt, the Cruise Director, is absolutely fantastic and deserves a raise!
Ports of Call Excursions & Shopping: COZUMEL: We took the Beginners Scuba excursion. The instructors made sure we understood the equipment we would be using, all the hand signals and exactly what to do if we had any problems before we started into the deeper water and then kept a check on each one of us throughout the entire time. We loved it and are planning on taking classes to get our certifications so we can go on a REAL dive the next time we go to the islands. After the excursion we went back to the ship for lunch then got a taxi to Chankanaab Park ($7 for 4 people). The park was not mentioned during the port of call talk, but it's a DON'T MISS in Cozumel if you like to snorkel or sunbathe. The admission to the park is $7 per person and you can rent snorkel equipment there for $5 per person. There is a bath house with fresh water showers and lockers for rent for $2. You can also swim with the dolphins for $110 per person or have a dolphin encounter for $55 per person. We didn't do either but our friends did the encounter and loved it. You can get a picture of the dolphin kissing you on the cheek, but, of course, for a fee. We took pictures of several wild iguanas resting under a tree on our way out of the park.
We returned to the ship and dressed for shopping and a visit to Carlos & Charlies. The taxi ride to the downtown area was only $4 for 4 people. Strange, as it was further downtown than to Chankanaab, only in the opposite direction. You can get some fairly good deals in Cozumel if you're willing to bargain. My husband is a lot better at this than I am. He got a very nice onyx chess set for $12. His before bargaining price was $60!
GRAND CAYMAN: We took the Stingray City Sandbar Tour aboard the Sundancer. After the tender ride to shore we were taken by bus to the boat and then a 15 minute ride to a sandbar where the stingrays were. It was absolutely amazing how gentle these intimidating creatures are. They were compared to cats because they rub up against you looking for food and affection. It's a definite don't miss once-in-a-lifetime experience! Word of advice - buy underwater cameras before you leave home. We got ours on sale and paid around $5 each. They are sold on the ship and on the tours for $20.00. The tour photographer also took pictures and sold them for $10 each. He had a computer screen set up on the boat so you could see the picture before he printed it.
After the excursion we returned to the ship to change and grab a bite to eat. We went back down to catch the next tender and was very disappointed when it left without re-boarding. by the time we got back on shore we only had about an hour to shop since we had to be back on the ship by 4:00pm and the wait for the next tender and ride took about 30 minutes. If you plan on buying any of the Tortuga rum make sure you make your purchase early in the day as it has to be delivered to the ship. The duty-free store owners won't let you take it with you. And even if they did, it would be taken when you re-board and held until the last day. (Yes, they really take it) You can, however, buy and keep the Tortuga Rum cakes and candy.
OCHO RIOS: This is the most beautiful of the three ports! Lush green hills and beautiful scenery. We took the Jamaican Queen, Party Boat and Dunn's River Fall tour. The tour was supposed to take us around the island but there had been a storm the night before and the water was very rough. We tourist took a vote and decided to go directly to the falls and spend more time there instead of fighting the waves. Very strong rum punch drinks were handed out as soon as we were out on the water and this tour started at 9:30am!! The falls are GORGEOUS and even though the 900 ft climb is a little rough at times, it's worth the effort! Another don't miss attraction of the islands!! The falls guides stop at various points on the way to the top for picture taking. Be prepared to get wet, in fact, they pretty much insist on it. As they say, "You've got to experience it ALL to experience IT at all." The ride back to the ship was fun, we were bouncing on the waves, the Jamaican music was playing and the rum punch drinks were splashing everywhere!
After returning to the port we went shopping! We had the taxi ($3 per person) drop us off at the shopping area closest to the craft market. Our drivers name was Scotty and he was hilarious! He asked what time we would be wanting to return to the ship and was there early to take us back. So, ask for him by name when you go! We bought the rum cream we'd heard so much about then crossed the street to the market. This is where you can get the best deals but you have to be willing to bargain for them. We crossed the street back to the meeting place where Scotty picked us up and returned to the ship with our new acquired treasures.
Shows: We loved all the shows that we saw. The dancers are fantastic and the magician is funny as well as magical! I made a point to sit as close to the stage as possible during the comedy acts because I love to take part! I was never let down, both managed to pick on my new husband! He loved it though and I'm hoping that he'll be included on the Video Diary tape we purchased.
Casino & Games: We loved playing bingo and I even won the last game pot of $200 on Saturday! After that we moved on to the casino where I hit another $66 and my husband won $166! I know they weren't big wins, but a win is a win! We didn't play any of the table games, only slots.
Food: We had late dining in the Galaxy Dining Room, table 217 near the galley. The food was very good and there was a variety to choose from. The hot food was served hot and the cold was served cold. Our waiter, Elmer, was great. My husband asked for ice tea the first night and I asked for lemon slices for my water. They were brought without being asked for every night thereafter. We only ate dinner in the dining room and breakfast and lunch were always in the Sun & Sea or on the Lido deck. We were not disappointed with the selection or quality of the food at any time. The grille, especially the grilled chicken sandwich, and 24 hour pizzeria are to die for and have been greatly missed since we returned home! We also took advantage of the 24 hour room service on a regular basis. Lunch and especially late at night when we wanted to relax on our balcony and cookies and brownies hit the spot! The brownies are the same ones they sell at the Cafe on the Way ... just day old (still VERY yummy)!
Disembarkation: Our return flight was at 12:00 noon and the night before we received V.I.P. tags for our luggage. This would insure that our luggage would be put in a separate area of the warehouse so we would be able to find it and get to the airport in time to make our flight. Everyone with these tags were told to meet in the Point After Disco and wait until the ship had been cleared. This, I think, would be a much faster process if non-Americans would follow the instructions about reporting to immigrations for processing. There were two people whose names were announced at least every 5 minutes for over an hour and a half. After the ship had been cleared we were led to the warehouse where our luggage was. Porters were available with dollies to help take luggage to the buses which would take us to the airport. After arriving at the airport we reclaimed our luggage and then checked it with the Sky Cap outside the airport in the same area where we began.
Before our cruise we had read many of the reviews which said the ship was so large and there were so many people that you never saw the same person twice. NOT TRUE! We saw the same people over and over again! The ship is very large and there were parts that we never saw but, the way I see it, there'll be something new for me to see the next time! Only, I will make sure I get a room mid-ship. Ours was on the front, Empress Deck, room 7111, just under the bridge and the last two nights of the cruise were VERY rough. There were times I would have sworn the entire front end of the ship was coming out of the water and slamming down again. However, I would DEFINITELY cruise on the Carnival Destiny again and definitely get a balcony. I think it's worth the extra money to be able to slip away to be alone with your someone special and still enjoy the ocean sights and sounds. I highly recommend Carnival and the Carnival Destiny to anyone wanting to have a fun-filled vacation on the water!
I thought maybe someone out there would be interested in our cruise review.
Saturday May 5th my husband and I were off to Minneapolis to stay overnight at my son's place as we had a 6:00 AM flight the next day. My son was also flying out about an hour later than us so we took a taxi to the airport. Bear in mind that I do not appreciate getting up at 4AM, but it was quite exciting to know that we were finally off on our long awaited cruise. We had booked our cruise last August so it was a long wait for us. I guess that is part of the fun of a vacation, the anticipation of it all as the time gets nearer.
We flew to Memphis with enough time to catch our flight to San Juan. The flight was great and exciting as everyone on the plane were cruise addicts (or would be after they experienced their first cruise). We arrived in San Juan at 4:00 P.M., right on schedule. Not a good landing though. The pilot overshot the runway and hit the brakes so hard thatthe lady sitting beside me would have gone through the seat in front of her had she not had a seatbelt on. We could then see the end of the runway right ahead of us. Scary. The shuttle bus was there waiting for us and we were whisked off to the pier.
Embarkation was a breeze. The amount of people was not excessive and we were checked through immigration, got our Sail N Sign cards, pic's and onto the ship in a matter of minutes. Nothing to it, compared to the Miami mess we encountered last year.
We went straight to our cabin on the Empress deck (7236) to get rid of our carry ons. Then down to explore Old San Juan (so we thought). It had rained most of the flight down and was now raining again. Not a good sign of what was to come. We tried several times to leave the ship but weather was so bad we finally resorted ourselves to being on the ship for the rest of the evening. This was most distressing to us but can't control the weather.
The ship left port on time and we explored and checked out a few things, had dinner in the Universe dining room, then sat and enjoyed the rest of the evening until 11 PM when we were to meet a gal and her daughter from New York. We met with them and talked a little while, then retired to our cabin to put our clothes away and get a good nights sleep. We were somewhat exhausted after a long day.
We arrived in St. Thomas to find that the weather was somewhat against us. It was warm but cloudy and raining off and on. Needless to say we didn't do any tours or hit the beaches like we had wanted to. We did do lots of shopping as the Havensight Mall is close to the pier. I think we hit every shop there was and by the time we finished there it was afternoon and time to get lunch. So we headed back to the ship. From there we just explored on board. The afternoon was sort of wasted, but that was ok, we like time to ourselves just to relax and do nothing. Unfortunately, due to the rain, there was not much going on, on board either.
We arrived in Antigua and the weather had improved somewhat. We did the shopping thing first by the pier, then hired a taxi for the day. Our cab driver John took us across the island to St. Johns (or St. James) not sure which it was called. We stayed at the beach there for most of the morning. We did a lot of sightseeing on the way there. John was very interesting, telling us all about Antigua. We left to go back to the ship in the early afternoon. The rest of the day was spent on board, absorbing more sun. It felt so good after raining for 2 days. That evening was the Captain's dinner. What a nice affair. Everyone was dressed their very best. Lots of drinks, pics and the meal was terrific. We were at a table for 4 on the lower level. Our dinner partners were a young couple, brother and sister from New York. We were a little apprehensive, being there was such an age difference, but throughout the entire cruise, we hit it off well and really enjoyed each others company. My husband and I had lobster and prime rib, both done to perfection. Bear in mind that I have always disliked lobster, but this was exceptional. I ate the whole thing. (Had planned on giving it to my husband) Was he disappointed? I would guess that he was. The prime rib was so tender you could cut it with a fork. Our waiter was Shawn and asst waiter, Ovie. He name was too difficult to pronounce so he said to just call him Ovie. He was exceptional, but our waiter, Shawn, was somewhat on the slow side. Fortunate for us that we had 8:00 PM seating so we had plenty of time. After dinner we went to the Casino for a little gambling. My husband won a enough to give us a small amount to gamble each night. We are not big on gambling. Drinks were about the same price as they were last year. Drink of the day with the glass $6.25, without the glass $2.95, other drinks averaged $4.00. My favorite drink, Toasted Almond. How good!!!
We didn't do much of anything in Guadaloupe. There wasn't really anything that interested us. Spent some time checking out the shops near the pier. We spent most of our time on board entertaining ourselves and relaxing. We were quite tired from the day before.
This was a day at sea where we joined in the festivities, relaxed in the sun, and ate. We had our 2nd formal evening which turned out to be another great dinner. Prime rib again, done to perfection.
This was the day we were waiting for most of all. The sun was out and we were prepared to spend the day at the beach. We left the ship and got a taxi to take us to the beach. He advised Palm Beach at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. He said we could use all of their facilities free of charge. I questioned him about that as it just didn't right to me, but he said it was good advertising for the hotel. So we toured around the gardens and checked everything out. It was 9 AM and there were a few people on the beach. We got ourselves a couple of lounges and spent some time in the water. It was so relaxing. After we had been there for a couple of hours, we were approached by security. He asked if we were from the hotel. (He could see our Carnival towels) We told him we were from the Destiny. He told us that we had to leave. I told him what the cab driver had said to us. NOT SO!! So we quite disappointed that we had been lied to and the fact that it was very embarrassing. My husband was furious!! We got a taxi and went back to the ship. This had definitely ruined our morning. BUT, we had to make the best of it. So we had lunch and did some shopping, again. We had booked the 'Sunset Cocktail Cruise' for that evening. That was great. We had never done that before. It was such a great ending to a somewhat dismal morning. We took a walk that evening around the area and decided to check out Carlos and Charlies. We hadn't been there last year when we were in Cancun. It was interesting to say the least. It wasn't our cup of tea though. So we didn't stay there very long. It is just too crowded for us.
Another day at sea and our last day of vacation for us. It was the usual 'at sea' activities. Enjoying ourselves to the fullest. We spent a good part of the day with our young dinner partners and the lady I had met from New York. The afternoon was spent getting our suitcases packed and ready to go. We had to have ours out earlier as we had booked the 'San Juan Airport Getaway Tour' and we would be some of the first ones off the ship. Our flight home to Minneapolis didn't leave until 4:30 PM, so that gave us almost an entire day. Or so we thought.
Time to disembark. It went rather smoothly. There is always somewhat of a wait, but not too bad for us. We finally found our tour bus and left about 10:00 AM. The tour was suppose to be approximately 6 hours, but we knew we were getting cheated by not leaving until 10. We stopped at the San Juan Cristobal Fortress. This was quite interesting. We then toured the streets of Old San Juan and spent 1 1/2 hours shopping and lunch there. We were then escorted to the Art Museum, which was very interesting. We were then brought to a hotel where we could use all of their facilities. Well, when we got there we were told that we would have to leave for the airport 2 hours early as the city and airport was extremely busy. So that left us no time to use the hotel facilities or go down to the beach there. Some of us left right away then. Well, once on the way, we understood what she had been trying to tell us. They were celebrating Miss Puerto Rico and the freeways and jammed with cars and PEOPLE. We couldn't get anywhere. We did have quite the driver. He managed to get the bus turned around in such a small space, it was unbelievable. Of course laying on the horn the whole time. He ran 1 car up onto the sidewalk. We managed to get to the airport in one piece, but what a ride! And I thought Minneapolis was bad! I'll never complain again. We had about an hour and a half before we caught our plane.
All in all, we had a great time on our second cruise. As far as the Destiny is concerned, it is a beautiful ship, but I do like the design of the Triumph better. And there definitely was a different type of crowd on the Destiny than we had last year. But that is to be expected on any cruise. We are just wondering when we will be able to take our next one. Not soon enough for us!Karen Olson
Let me say that I really enjoyed my cruise despite being on the Destiny. Our ports of call were San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Lucia, Aruba, Curcao. The islands were beautiful and the weather was fantasitic.
The Destiny was my second cruise. My first thought when we arrived at the Destiny was that this is one big ship. I really enjoyed the room I had. We were upgraded to a outside cabin with a balcony which my wife & I really enjoyed. I also found the room to be larger than my previous cruise on Celebrities Mercury. I also enjoyed the ice cream machine & all night pizza.( my waist line still hasn't recovered) That's about all the good things I have to say. I found the Destiny to be to big and have to many people. I usually used the stairs as I could walk 5 flight before a elevator would become available. There was a constant bad smell like garbage in the aft elevator area. I found the food to be incredibly average. One night they had creme broule(hope I spelled that correct) on the menu. I couldn't waitfor desert. When they brought out desert I recieved what had to be the worlds worst creme broule. The salads were as good as you can get at mcdonalds. Yes they had all the food you could eat, but the quality was bad. On the last night when they offered us a copy of carnivals reicipie book I almost started to laugh. I really enjoyed our dinner guests and they agreed with us that they would never go on the destiny again. One couple said they had sailed with Carnival before and had a good time, they just thought the ship was to big, ie. to many people.
If you're looking to get drunk and eat bad food and don't mind people letting their kids run wild go on the carnival destiny. I won't be there.
To be fair I loved the ports of call and can't wait to go back to the southern carribean.