Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Destiny
Sailing Date: March 6th, 2005
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
To make things easy for this review I will use the grading system (A-F).
My wife booked this cruise for my birthday and I immediately started looking at reviews. I’ve read quite a few and was a little uneasy about the negative comments that people had. Most bad reviews seemed to be based on one of three things: 1.) They didn’t like the food/ shows 2.) They had problems with the boat being dirty or broken or 3.) They didn’t like the people on board. So… just a quick comment on that before I start. 1.) I never went hungry on this cruise. They had thousands of people on board and always managed to have plenty of decent (B-) ready to go and nothing was allowed to get old, cold, warm, stale, etc. I ate the pizza everyday and while gourmet may be pushing it a little bit, it was really good. If there is a gripe about quality from past reviews- that seems like buying a Honda Civic and asking why it doesn’t go as fast as a Lamborghini. The comedy acts were good and if you don’t like the Vegas style shows, just remember… YOU ARE WATCHING a Vegas style show, and it’s on a Boat- are they ever good? 2.) The ship was built in 1996 and is going to have some ware and tear (B). That being said there scores of people cleaning up and fixing things. Anytime someone would leave their table or be a pig and leave food on the deck- someone was there immediately to clean it up. If you found a problem with something all you had to do was point it out and if possible it would be fixed. 3.) Some reviews have made it a point to complain about the number of Puerto Rican (I think one reviewer used “Minorities” or People with “Gang Colors” ) on board. If the ship left out of New York, would you have complained bout all of the New Yorker’s on board? Baltimore? Miami? I’m sure being that close minded made the trip a real hoot. Next time, instead of a cruise, take a long drive in your garage with the door closed and you won’t have to interact with anyone.
Day of Embarkation
If you have your act together this will not be a bad experience. Have your fun pass information filled out ahead of time and grab a cab ($17.50). You can pre-arrange transportation through Carnival, but the cab was fast and we beat most of the crowd. People outside of the building will set you up with a cab right away. A porter (in uniform), helped us with our bags and directed us to where we needed to go. (Give him a tip). We got our sail and sign cards, got our picture taken twice- once for security- once for fun, went through a metal detector, and we were on the ship My advice is to walk around once you drop your stuff off at the room… and get to know the ship. You can get to almost everywhere in the ship from either the Promenade (deck 5) or the Lido (deck 9). There will be a Muster drill before the ship leaves port. I think that it took maybe 15 minutes to finish it once we got to our muster station. One more tip: check out what “Ship Time” is because you, most likely, will have to adjust your watch.
St Thomas – We didn’t book through Carnival for this one. I printed out the Ferry to St. John schedule ahead of time and we took a taxi to it. It seemed to take us about 15 to 20 mins. To get to the other island and it was only a few bucks each way. After a little shopping we took another taxi to Trunk Bay. DON’T MISS THIS. It was one of my favorite parts of the trip- bEauTifUl! Bring your beach stuff. We had a snack and a drink at a place called Woody’s near the ferry. A nice little place to get out of the heat for a couple of minutes. We did some more shopping, traveled back to St. Thomas, did some more shopping, and got back on the boat. (A)
Dominica – We booked through Carnival for this one. We took the Arial Tram Excursion. It took a long time to get to the tram from the pier, but we had a guide in addition to our driver that made it very interesting. He was very well informed and seemed to be able to point out any plant or tree in the rainforest and tell you it’s common and scientific name and what they could be used for (i.e. ropes, medicine, food.) don’t go on this if you are afraid of heights- it’s 300 feet up at some points. (A-)
Barbados – This place seems to have some sort of a taxi union so bring a drink, be patient, and enjoy the total chaos. Stand in line and listen for your destination. If you don’t here it for a minute or two then raise your hand and shout it. You may want to bring headgear and gloves. (For your carnival booked excursion, you don’t have to worry about this) We booked a 1:30p Snorkel trip through Carnival so we had a little time to kill in the morning. We decided to go to “The Boatyard” on a tip from the excursion desk and we were glad we did. $12 gets you in with $10 worth of tokens for drinks and stuff. Tip: there are tons of people on the beach selling stuff. If you bought a cheap necklace on a previous trip or earlier on this one – wear it. This will at least keep those vendors off your back and they are the most ambitious. I did and it worked. Our snorkel trip was awesome. We swam with huge sea turtles and near two ship wrecks. Our guides were funny and helpful. (A)
1st Day at Sea – We were pretty tired by this point and didn’t want to mix with the crowds. We found that the side decks off of the Lobby were a nice place to lay back and read a book. Relax because more fun is ahead.
ARUBA- We didn’t book anything through Carnival. Instead we took a trip around the island on a guided tour for about $15 each. Our guide was very nice even though another couple on our tour were shouting out to him constantly. “BILLY! Where do you live? BILLY! Stop the Bus! I need a Coke. BILLY! I need to stretch my leg. BILLY!” – I think that I would have driven off the Natural Bridge. BILLY- was great; he showed us just about everything worth seeing on the island and dropped us off at Palm Beach. We spent most of the day there sunbathing, swimming, and shopping. When it was time to go I sought out a Taxi and he told me that it would be $10 to get back to the Ship. I laughed and walked a block and found a bus stop, waited 5 minutes, and paid $1 each. Don’t let people try to rip you off. Don’t leave Aruba until you go to Carlos and Charlie’s. It’s a bar/ restaurant near the ship. You will have a great time there if you like to party. (A)
2nd Day at Sea - same as 1st Day at Sea.
Disembarkation - Go to "disembarkation talk". Jorge makes a boring subject very entertaining. You need to know what to expect on the last day. It will seem like chaos if you don't know what's going on. Be patient, this is a long process!
Additional notes -
Our cabin (6138) was always clean and every other day or so- we had a towel animal waiting for us. (A)
Our wait staff in the dinning room were friendly and fast (A) and the food was on par, if not a little better than the rest of the ship (B).
The Bars/ Clubs were fun and diverse. My wife’s favorite one was the piano bar. It was relaxing and you could request tons of songs. (David Elliot- very entertaining). (A)
The Gym- I went there three times during the trip and found that I was able to do most of the exercises that I do at home. They could use more free weights- but I don’t know how many of them you want to put on a ship.
The wake up calls- automatic system didn’t work. Out of the five times that I requested wake up calls- I didn’t get them twice. You may want to bring along an alarm clock because they don’t have them in the rooms. (F)
Side note- This has nothing to do with Carnival. I WILL NEVER take American Airlines again. They were around two and a half hours late coming down and their service was poor at best. Please don’t make the same mistake. (Failed--- F-)
Overall- (B+) I think that we did good for our money. Carnival delivered on almost everything. There is something for everyone.