Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Destiny
Sailing Date: May 22nd, 2005
Itinerary: Southern Caribbean
I wanted to write a review to let future cruise-goers know that this is a wonderful trip. I read many negative reviews before embarking, and I really felt that those comments did not reflect the kind and helpful nature of the staff nor the overall quality of the ship.
My husband and I took this cruise along with 2 of our friends and found it to be a great time. embarkation at San Juan was relatively smooth, despite the rain outside which is apparently typical in this city. we requested side by side balcony cabins on the lido deck, which was perfect for us. (on our last cruise we had a large window, but the balcony gave us a perfect view when we pulled into and out of ports, as well as a quiet place to chill in the evenings--worth the extra money.) Our cabin was spotless, thanks to our stewardess Candace who learned all of our names by the first night. I think she made our bed twice a day and changed the towels as often, making little towel animals almost every night to greet us when we came back to the room. :)
As for tours, in St Thomas we opted to take a ferry to St John and do an island tour, as well as spend a few hours in Trunk Bay. It was a pleasant excursion--you can snorkel and relax or just sit on the beach. We saw a sting ray come pretty close to the edge of the water, to the dismay of one of our sea-creature phobic friends. (the rest of us were pretty excited though)
the next day was Dominica, a beautiful lush rainforest island. We did the river tubing, which was pretty fun. there are several sections of rapids to provide some and bumpy floating, but i never thought there were any dangerous sections. Some of our guides did dives off of rocks in the swimming area--they were pretty entertaining the whole time. We did get stuck in a rainforest downpour, which you should expect given the name rainforest. Trafalgar Falls is supposed to be beautiful but we had appointments at the spa to get ready for formal night, so we missed out on that.
Barbados--we did the sunset catamaran. again, the guides on the ship were the real entertainment--they mooned passing boats, threw bread in the water at people who were snorkeling (big fish jumped out the water to get the bread, freaking them out--to our amusement), and joked around with everyone on the ship. Open bar (rum drinks only), and an amazing sunset made it a perfect evening. Earlier in the day, we took a cab to Carlisle Beach & rented a few chairs and umbrellas. In retrospect, we should have rented them at the boatyard next door, so that we could use the rope swing and ocean trampolines. We thought the beach in Barbados was nicer than Trunk Bay in St John (which is supposed to be #2 in the world)
Aruba is the reason we chose this cruise. My husband and I went there last fall, so we were the guides for our friends. We rented atvs on our own from watapana tours--they were $120 per vehicle for 8 hours, and so much more fun than doing any excursion. These atvs are street legal--you can ride them on the desert or downtown. this was the most fun day on our trip! Afterwards, we went to Iguana Joes for a few drinks and to El Gauchos for dinner. (we made reservations on-line in advance) they apparently tie with Ruth's Chris for steak. I always get the chicken and loved it. Great restaurant and reasonably priced for a steakhouse.
On the ship, we enjoyed laying out on the decks while the boys played shuffleboard for hours. the casino was fun, even though we ended up losing some money overall. We really did not care for the singing and dancing Las Vegas style shows, but they seemed to be packed every night they performed anyway. we loved the cheers martini bar & think that their bartender marine made some of the tastiest creations!
For food, there were never any complaints. We ate in the formal dining hall almost every night & found the service to be incredible. Our waiter, Torcado, knew our names by the first night and figured out all of our preferences just as fast. he knew Paul always wanted cappuccino, Jenn always wants extra croutons, & I want dressing on the side. We thought maybe he had all of this written down and referred to it before we got there and sat at our assigned table....until we went to the main dining room for breakfast, where you sit wherever and he ran up and addressed us by name! We were impressed and amazed. we thought the food was very good every night--I am a picky eater and I was able to find something on the menu that I liked every night, which is also amazing. :) Outside of the dining hall, there were many options. lido deck pizza is a favorite. There is also a deli, sushi bar, grill, etc. basically something for everyone, at any given time.
The only negative thing about the trip was that somebody accidentally took our friends bag--please READ YOUR TAGS!! The bag was identical so it was an easy error to make, but it was a hassle trying to contact the person and I'm not even sure if our friends have that bag yet (we've been home for a week now). debarkation otherwise was very smooth--the Carnival crew has it down to a science how to unload 3000 people and their luggage in a few hours. again, amazing.
I hope this helps anyone out there planning to cruise. have fun!