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Mark & Stacey

Age: 35

Occupation:Sales Manager

Number of Cruises: 5

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Destiny

Sailing Date: January 29th, 2006

Itinerary: Southern Caribbean

Just got back from our Southern Caribbean cruise. This is our fifth cruise, all with Carnival; this one was by far the best cruise. The food has improved 110% from two years ago and the Southern Caribbean and the Destiny were great. We took the taxi from the airport to the cruise ship terminal, 20 min ride and it cost $20 + tip. All the taxis were out front, we like the taxi because you do not have to wait for the Carnival transfer.

Embarkation was slow, as usual, about 45 min to get our Sail & Sign card and then another line for security to get on to the boat. We had a balcony cabin 7240, on the Empress deck. The Empress deck is great because you can walk down two levels and you are on the Promenade deck (casino, bars, dance club, shops, and theater) – up two levels and you are at the Lido deck (pools, Sun & Sea restaurant, pool bar). The balcony room was worth the money!

We had the late seating in the Galaxy dinning room. We had the best server Csaba from Hungary, AKA: Chubby. If you are taking this cruise ask the Matride for his section, you will not be disappointed! As I said above the food has improved on Carnival. We had great meals all week and if you try something and do not like it Chubby will bring you something else off the menu. The 24-hour pizza was OK, the pizza sucks but the Calzones were really good. The NY Deli makes a great Rubin; you will not believe the amount of meat on the sandwich!

The Casino staff had some nice dealers and some that did not want to talk. The three dealers we really enjoyed talking with: Gabriela from Romania and Javier from Spain and Tamas AKA: Dangerous! He will teach you any casino game; “you put the money down on the table and he will take it away, that is how you play” or his other famous line when you win “nice dealer”. Out of all the casino games we won money on roulette playing just odd or even / black or red.

St. Thomas- we took a taxi to Sapphire Beach, about a 20 min taxi ride and $10 per person one-way. It was a great beach, sandy entrance to the clear blue water, beautiful views of St. John in the distance, a reef for snorkeling (I saw rays, turtles and tons of fish), clean rest rooms, a bar / restaurant and a dive / snorkel shop. Beach chairs are $5, plenty of sunshine and shade, not crowded. If you are snorkeling and want to see the fish real close take a box of corn flakes with you from the ship, open them in the water and the fish will be all over you.

Dominica - AKA: at sea day. No beaches in Dominica? We walked around the town, did some shopping, and then back to the ship for lunch by the pool. Beautiful looking island and the people were nice but they need a beach.

Barbados – OK here is your first Shore Excursion on a budget tip, I call it Turtle encounter and beach day. Take the taxi to Malibu Beach $3 per person, beach chairs and umbrella $5. If you do not want a beach chair just walk down the beach and toss you beach towel on the beach, save more money. Malibu beach is owned the Malibu Rum Company; they make the rum on site. They have a little gift shop, clean rest rooms, tours of the rum factory, a bar, a restaurant, and waiters on the beach. The only bad thing about Barbados is the beaches are all public; the wave runner, sailboat, and the banana boat guys will ask you if you want to take a ride. If you want to great have fun all of the rides are there at Malibu beach. Now turtle time: walk down the beach to the right of Malibu beach and look out into the water you will see some large barrels floating in the water and some boats anchored, you will be right in front of the Texaco refinery. You will see all the shore tour catamarans anchored by the floating barrels. It is about a 50-yard swim from the beach to the turtles. Do not forget the corn flakes! The turtles and fish like the corn flakes. For lunch get the Hamburger in BBQ sauce, very good. For under $15 pp you can do your beach, snorkeling, swim with the turtles and lunch in Barbados.

Fun Day at Sea – food, beer, sun, and a long nap back in the cabin. VACATION at its best. Plenty of room for sun or shade on the decks, I notice they moved the Lido deck stage to make more deck room.

Aruba – If you liked my suggestion and Shore Excursion in Barbados wait until you hear this one. You can do the world famous Palm Beach and snorkeling for under $5 per person. After you get off the ship go directly across the street to the main bus terminal, ask for bus L10 or 10 for $2 you get a round trip ticket or you can pay $1.50 on way. The bus will stop at Eagle Beach, Palm Beach, or it will take you to Malmok Beach. Eagle Beach and Palm Beach are nice in the resort area but nothing to see under water. We got off the bus at the first Palm Beach bus stop about a 10 min bus ride from the cruise ship. The rent chairs for $5 each or you can just sit on your Carnival beach towel for free. All the hotels have bathrooms, bars, and restaurants open to the public. After lunch we went back to the main street in the hotel zone and waited for the bus, they run every 15 minutes. We took the bus to Malmok Beach, this is where the bus makes it U turn and heads back to the terminal. Malmok beach is good for snorkeling, no sand just moon rock for the coast. There is set of stairs built into the moon rock to walk down to a little sandy area for entering the water. Just to the left of the stairs were very cool under water caves you can venture into. If you want a sandy beach walk down the beach about 50 yards and you will see some grass huts and a sandy beach area, look for the houses with the red roofs right off the beach in front of those homes is great snorkeling and a large coral reef with tons of fish, star fish, and octopus (yes, real live octopus). Make sure you eat before you head up to Malmok Beach, this is a locals beach with no facilities. While we were waiting for the bus at Malmok Beach we picked some Aloe growing wild right next to the bus stop. The bus ride back to the cruise ship was around 20 minutes and it cost use $1.50 pp. The people of Aruba are great and very friendly. We got back on the ship, cleaned up and had dinner; then went back shopping and drinks at the famous Carlos N Charlie’s.

Fun Day at Sea – Get a lounge chair early or do what we did, go to the topless optional area; no one is ever topless but you have plenty of room, lounge chairs, and tons of sun.

Debarkation went very fast, they called our tag color before 9am. We had a late flight 4:30 back to DC so we did the island / shopping tour right out side the cruise ship terminal you will see the white vans lined up. For $25 they take you on a short tour of San Juan, shopping in old San Juan for two hours, and lunch at a local restaurant. Your luggage is locked in the van the entire time. After lunch they will take you to the airport. Sure beats taking a taxi and seating in the airport for 6 hours.

And now I am seating in VA, 27 degrees and looking at the Carnival book for our ’07 vacation. Hope this helps. The Destiny was in great shape and looked good. I recommend this cruise and ship to anyone.

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